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Cambodia – a best kept secret

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 26, 2008 07:02 PM

Published: 2008-06-26 19:02:39
Countries: Cambodia

Cambodia is simply delightful, in particular Koh Kong near the Thai Border. I have lots of experience of Asia having lived here for 25 years and am currently based out of Singapore.

Thai relations with Cambodia can be strained, so keep east of Thai waters when entering Koh Kong and avoid being enticed into Thailand. The level of corruption is lesser on the Cambodia side, or at least it is transparent. If you want something done, pay a little and it happens.

Entry is simple and the fishermen will show you how to go to a functioning tourist jetty. Upon arrival the Tourist Office staff will take you to the border post to stamp in etc. Make a donation of old clothes, paper, pens, books etc. for the school and the Governor will make things happen - including a rather long extension lead for power! (We usually donate 5 reams of A4 paper, 2 dozen pencils, any old clothes and a 20Kg sack of rice).

The berthing fee is US$2.00 per day. You should make sure you have fuel and water to spare as it is costly, about US$0.70 per litre. Only bottled water is available.

Once clearance has been dealt with, there are plenty of things to do. Firstly buy a mobile telephone chip for communications. Next, try the hot springs or the casinos on the Thai side. It is simple to enter and leave the "special zone". Everyone will find the chicken farm interesting – I recommend a night visit. The cost of beer is about US$1.00. Thai currency [the Baht] is freely used. You can pig out on prawns for about US$5.00 a Kg.

Going up or back, try Condor Reef – don’t run up on it as its position is incorrectly shown as draft exceeding 3.000 metres and you will be aground. Be aware of swell as this may bottom out your vessel. The effort will be rewarded by one of the best fishing/diving spots outside of King Island (my home town) with clear and warm water.

Down the coast is Kampongsong which is also delightful, becoming a bit "touristy" but worth a visit. Fuel is readily available, as is all likes of vegetables (avoid the meat). Again here you will find casinos and cheap eats. From here you can take a bus or taxi to the capital, Phnom Penh, some 160Km away.

In Phnom Penh try the Russian Market, you can buy anything here and the costs are probably the best in Asia. If visiting the capital, call on Kevin Trelour (Helicopters Cambodia), a New Zealander who has resided in Cambodia for some 20 years. He will assist anyone, including Australians! (Except when New Zealand are doing badly in the rugby).

In Koh Kong there are no problems, however on the Thai side watch for theft and touts both water and land side. Touts are a pain in the neck until clear of the border special zone. In Kampongsong there have been reports of theft, however we have NEVER lost a thing.

Anyone going this way please contact me and I may also join. I built my yacht “Skye Melody” in Thailand over a 8 year period and you can find out more at Call sign VKN 4825. My Singapore mobile is 944 76830.

I am doing a bit of charter work and am set-up for specialist wreck work, all out of Singapore from Ponggul Marina, which is cheap, flexible and there are no "attitudes" here.

Graeme F Hay - Yacht "Skye Melody"