Koh Kong Island

Koh Kong City

Cambodia’s largest island towers over seas so crystal-clear you can make out individual grains of sand in a couple of metres of water. A strong military presence on the island means access is tightly controlled. You must visit on a guided boat tour out of Koh Kong or Tatai. These cost US$21 per person, including lunch and snorkelling equipment, or US$55 for overnight trips with beach camping or homestay accommodation. The island is only accessible from October to May.

During the June to September rainy season, strong onshore (southwesterly) breezes make access impossible. It’s forbidden to explore the island's thickly forested interior at any time of year.

The island has seven beaches, all of them along the western coast. Several of the beaches – lined with coconut palms and lush vegetation, just as you’d expect in a tropical paradise – are at the mouths of little streams. At the sixth beach from the north, a narrow channel leads to a hidden lagoon.

Unfortunately the beaches are becoming increasingly polluted as irresponsible tour operators fail to properly dispose of waste. Hopefully the situation can be reversed, as the island is a real gem. Rampant sand fleas are also notoriously bad during certain times of the year.

On Koh Kong Island’s eastern side, half a dozen forested hills – the highest towering 407m above the sea – drop steeply to the mangrove-lined coast. The Venice-like fishing village of Alatang, with its stilted houses and colourful fishing boats, is on the southeast coast facing the northwest corner of Botum Sakor National Park.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Koh Kong City attractions

1. Peam Krasaop Wildlife Sanctuary

14.93 MILES

Anchored to alluvial islands – some no larger than a house – this 260-sq-km sanctuary’s magnificent mangroves protect the coast from erosion, offer…

2. Koh Yor Beach

17.02 MILES

This long windswept beach is on the far (western) side of the peninsula that forms the west bank of Koh Poi River opposite Koh Kong City. Although it's…

3. Tatai Waterfall

17.67 MILES

Tatai Waterfall is a thundering set of rapids during the wet season, plunging over a 4m rock shelf. Water levels drop in the dry season, but you can swim…

4. Wat Neang Kok

19.59 MILES

This rocky promontory on the right (western) bank of the Koh Poi River is decorated with life-size statues demonstrating the violent punishments that…

5. Botum Sakor National Park

25.43 MILES

Occupying the 35km-wide peninsula northwest across the Gulf of Kompong Som from Sihanoukville, this is one of Cambodia's largest and most biodiverse…