Southern Cambodia Travel Guide

Quieter and less tourist-influenced than the rest of the country, the south of Cambodia has plenty of visitor appeal and an absence of the backpacker hoards that gather in Siem Reap in the north and the capital Phnom Penh in the central region.

The Cardemom and Elephant mountain ranges span a large section of the lower half of the country, and travelers journeying from the north are obliged to take routes across or around them in order to reach the coast and southern region’s towns and cities such as Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Sihanoukville and Takeo.

Koh Kong, a province on the southwest side of the country, promises visitors a highly picturesque and lengthy stretch of undeveloped coastline. The province capital of the same name caters to visitors with accommodation and dining facilities.

As yet, Koh Kong town has escaped major development and retains a sleepy seaside ambience. However, the town is fast attracting investors, and construction projects are on the rise, with visitors recommended to get here quick if they want to experience this unspoiled idyllic spot before large tourist developments take root.

From Koh Kong, easy passage is available to the beach resort town of Sihanoukville, a location overlooking the Gulf of Thailand and benefiting from stunning scenery. Though this resort is growing in status among beach lovers, the town is still free from the crowds associated with nearby Thai holiday islands, making it an ideal place to unwind.

Kampot province is best known for its capital city/town of the same name and for the Bokor National Park. The latter, famous for its large mountain, can be visited on a daytrip and is a paradise for nature lovers, with a rich array of native flora and fauna.

Nearby Kep, located close to the border with Vietnam, is a beach town with a rich colonial history and some fine coastal scenery to boot. It is, however, a rustic destination with no public electricity, water or waste management services. The few guesthouses and bungalows available in the town benefit from a Vietnamese power source.

Koh Tonsay, or Rabbit Island, is Kep’s greatest attraction, with its two gorgeous white sand beaches and plethora of marine life in the coral filled waters that surround it. Boats serve the island from Kep, and the small community resident here provides food and refreshments.

Takéo, a province located roughly midway between Phnom Penh and the southern coast, is perhaps best known for Phnom Da in the Angkor Borey district, hailed as the oldest historical site in the country. Takéo town is the provincial capital and offers both natural and manmade sights of interest.

Visitors can arrive in Cambodia by air, with the country hosting two international airports, one at Phnom Penh and another at Siem Riep. Alternatively, it is possible to cross into Cambodia by land from neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Once in Cambodia, the country has a comprehensive network of buses that serve the southern region. In addition, it is possible to travel from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong by boat.