Cambodia’s Hidden Coast

Sokha Beach

Sokha Beach

I know a lot of people who visit Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh also include the southwest coast. The Time magazine website had a feature article this week on Koh Kong and Sihanoukville. You may want to check out the article if you are thinking of also including the beaches of the southwest on your Cambodian adventure. A few excerpts about Koh Kong:

The next day, it was on to Koh Kong, a coastal frontier town on the Thai border, which until a couple of years ago was best accessed by boat. It is separated from the rest of Cambodia by the Cardamom Mountain range, a dense forest that houses endangered species like the Indochinese tiger and the Malayan sun bear, and used to be a Khmer Rouge stronghold. But a national highway, built with help from the Thais, including four bridges spanning rivers once crossable only by ferry, has cut the drive to Koh Kong from the capital in half — to four hours.

As we boarded the boat the next morning, we had no idea where we were going or what we would see. There were eight other travelers aboard our long-tail motor boat, seven of whom were German and most of whom were staying at Thomas’ guesthouse, Neptune. Thomas, also German, did the entertaining, while our Khmer captain steered with his foot and drank an Angkor brand beer. The first two hours took us south past islands dotted with stilted fishing villages painted in blues and greens and oranges, then through a mangrove forest, into the Gulf of Thailand. There we hit the jackpot: a school of dolphins jumping in the waves.

Another sail took us to Koh Kong Island, a lush national forest that is forbidden to recreational exploration. We dropped anchor off a deserted white-sand beach and hopped overboard into the clear, warm sea. The water was probably 70 degrees and not more than five feet deep, with gentle waves that glimmered in the late-afternoon sun. Then, sated and relaxed, we motored home.

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~ by Leonard on April 9, 2009.

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