Botum Sakor National Park
- Koh Kong Conservation Corridor Botum Sakor National Park
Lonely Planet review for Botum Sakor National Park
Occupying almost the entirety of the 35km-wide peninsula across the Gulf of Kompong Som from Sihanoukville, this 1834-sq-km national park, encircled by mangroves and beaches, is home to a profusion of wildlife, including elephants (about 20 of them, according to recent camera-trap evidence), tigers, deer, leopards and sun bears. The highest point is a 402m hill in the park's almost inaccessible interior.
Although a road is being built down the park's eastern side (it will eventually go all the way round the peninsula's coastline), the best way to see Botum Sakor is by boat. To get to the mangrove forests on the east coast and the almost deserted beaches on the park's southeastern tip, you can hire a long-tail boat in Andoung Tuek or Sihanoukville. The west coast, with its many kilometres of fine beaches, is easiest to reach from by boat from Koh Sdach. There are more beaches across the strait from Koh Kong Island, south of the picturesque fishers' village of Preak Khsach; for these destinations you can hire a boat in Krong Koh Kong..
Grandiose tourist development seems to be on the cards for the park's west coast. A Chinese company has plans to build seven new cities (no, that's not a typo), an airport, golf courses and lots of hotels, though things are on hold while a three-year study is carried out. Another potential threat to the area comes from offshore oil rigs.
Botum Sakor is not yet geared up for tourism but at the park headquarters, on NH48 about 3km west of Andoung Tuek, it should be possible to arrange a hike with a ranger (USaround US$5 a day) or a boat excursion..
The nearest guesthouses are in Andoung Tuek, on the Tatai River and on Koh Sdach. On the south coast, it may be possible to overnight at the Ta Nun ranger station or in a basic guesthouse in Thmor Sor, an east coast fishing village linked by ferry with Sihanoukville.