Koh Kong Trip Part 2: Mangrove Forest Park and Koh Kong City
Another long overdue post.. This is the sequel to my Koh Kong Trip, Part I, which I know I should have posted ages ago but due to combined reasons of laziness, procrastination, convenient memory gaps, on top of Facebook addiction, well, I am now months late in posting this update.
After that refreshing Koh Kong Tatai Waterfalls picnic and swimming, we all piled ourselves in the van and headed towards Koh Kong City. This was another scenic drive and in just thirty minutes we were in Koh Kong town proper. Hmm, a very typical Cambodian town, the only difference was that the roads were wider or maybe it was because it was 12 noon and no one wants to beat the heat of the sun and stay on the road..
Photo above is the riverfront and that long bridge going towards the Thai border – Had Lek. After a few minutes driving around and checking guesthouses, we settled on Bopha Koh Kong Hotel. Not exactly five star accommodations but the rooms were huge and comfy. We got a twin room with ensuite bathroom with hot shower, a TV with lots of channels though mostly Thai, a personal ref and AC. Not bad at all for $18 only per night. In Koh Kong, Thai Bahts are generally more acceptable than the US Dollars or Cambodian Riels.
It was already 1 pm and you can bet I was hungry already. Thankfully, our relatives were done with their quick showers and we all piled up on the van again to have lunch somewhere. We stopped in a small resto, no signs on it, but its right on the riverfront, with several vans parked in front. I was pretty apprehensive about eating on the shack-type restaurant but I went along as this seemed to be the choice of my sister-in-law. But wow! I shouldn’t have been that scared. Let me just put it this way, that must have been the tastiest Khmer and Thai food I’ve ever had, and I’ve had plenty. To this day, I could still imagine savoring that spicy Tom Yum soup we had, and I’m not even exaggerating. It’s just too bad I wasn’t able to take photos and I was also shy about asking them to wait before sampling the food whilst I was taking pictures of it. They already think I’m plenty weird so I settled on not having photos of the food.
Since we had kids with us, we all decided to go back to the hotel for some nap. Around 4 pm we were again on the van speeding towards Boeng Kayak – Peam Krasaop Mangrove Forest. This place is one of the reasons why I wanted to visit Koh Kong. Once we got there, we had to get off a few meters from the entrance of the park. My Khmer relatives instructed me not to talk in ‘Anglei’ and I could easily pass myself off as Khmer. Apparently, they charge a lot less for Khmers and foreigners have to pay a premium. I wouldn’t have minded paying more since I am all for what this conservation effort is doing for the mangrove forests.. But I didn’t want to argue so I zipped up.
They had a concrete pathway and you can take an unguided tour on among the mangrove trees. All green, with a small monkey greeting you near the entrance. It was a pretty awesome sight – all green and tangled roots, all breeding grounds for fishes.I was sad though that despite lots and lots of reminders and signs not to throw garbage especially plastic, there still some who thought the place was a dumping place for their picnic waste. I sure wished there were guides so visitors would be properly educated on why and how the mangroves should be protected.
Anyway after about 20 minutes walk, we came upon a hanging bridge spanning about 200 meters. It was wobbly, but safe and surprisingly I was quite agile at walking on wobbling surfaces like this unlike the steep incline of the Tatai Waterfalls. And besides, there’s another incentive on going across that wooden hanging bridge, there’s 4-storey tower just across and it offers commanding views of the mangroves. You can also rent boats to take you around..
Here’s the reason why I think its worth crossing the hanging bridge and climbing the viewing deck..
The views was just so tranquil and beautiful that I had a hard time leaving it.. It was almost sunset when we left and here’s the last shot I took of the mangrove park..
We ended the day with a visit to a beach. Deserted, long stretches of white sand. I’m not sure where this was, we crossed the long bridge from Koh Kong, drove about half kilometer towards the Thai border, turned left, drove a bit more.. I guess it was the perfect way to end the day – watching the sun set..
Read Part I.
The third installment I promise will post soon. =)