The provincial town of KOH KONG, once a prosperous little logging town, has now lapsed into a quiet backwater. Laid out on a simple grid on the east bank of the Kah Bpow River, the town is dotted with wooden houses whose style owes more to neighbouring Thailand than Cambodia; there’s no colonial architecture at all. Sights, such as they are, are low-key.

Outside town and across the province, stretching down as far as the northern tip of Sihanoukville, is a fantastic destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The majestic Cardamom mountain range, more than 1800m at its highest elevation, is still home to some of the rarest species on the planet, including the Asian elephant, the clouded leopard, the Siamese crocodile and the Indochinese tiger (although there have been no official sightings of the last since the 1990s). Meanwhile, Irrawaddy dolphins are often seen playing in the saline waters of the extensive mangrove network along the coast, explorable in the Peam Krasaop Wildlife Sanctuary, 6km from town.

Many people come to Koh Kong just for the border crossing with Thailand at Cham Yeam, though eco-outfits in town are doing their best to change that. The Cardamoms’ virgin forests and secluded waterfalls are accessible on day-treks, while longer, multi-day adventures take you deep into the remote Areng Valley (see Koh Kong tours and activities). Boat trips depart for Koh Kong island, a surprisingly large and attractive place, with seven pristine stretches of sand on its seaward side.

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