Koh Kong restaurants and bars guide

Huge crabs come off fishing boats daily

There is not whole lot of choice when it comes to dining in Koh Kong, but the few Western-orientated establishments serve up some delicious treats – especially for seafood lovers. The emphasis is on fresh ocean produce, with a distinctly Thai and Chinese flavour. Around a dozen recognised restaurants are scattered around the town, mostly along Street three near the traffic circle.

Otto’s and the aptly named Foreigner Food Restaurant have long been the most popular, but with the completion of upgraded road links to Thailand and Phnom Penh, a number of new eateries are popping up to cater to the growing number of travellers who choose the overland route along the southern coast.

Recommended Koh Kong restaurants and bars

Aqua Sunset Bar & Resturant: Recently renovated with surprisingly tasteful decor, this bar and restaurant right on the waterfront has the best location for watching the sunset with a cool drink. An airy balcony hangs over the water, complemented by quality seafood in Thai/ Khmer style. Aqua also offers sunset cruises aboard their own 50ft boat which is also available for hire.

Baan Peakmai: Just north of the traffic circle, Baan Peakmai is the most popular Thai restaurant in town, offering a wide selection of Thai dishes under delightful thatched-roof gazebos. The seafood is consistently praised and rightly so.

Blue Gecko Bar: Australian owned and operated, just two minutes walk from the traffic circle, Blue Gecko is delightful if you enjoy sharing a table with friendly ducks and chickens, lending it a truly Cambodian atmosphere.

Blue Elephant: Usually the last ‘real’ bar open in town, often till 02:00 or later, German-run Blue Elephant is a great place to catch up on the latest sports results on its three big screen televisions, in addition to good range of spirits and some of the best toasted sandwiches along the coast. They also have a small book exchange.

Café Laurent: Probably the finest dining option in Koh Kong, this chic bar and restaurant on the water’s edge offers everything from steak to pasta and pizza, in addition to quality seafood dishes, all served under the stars in quaint gazebos with sunset views. The desserts, especially the crème brulee, are heavenly, and can be complemented with a real latte or cappuccino. The bar is the best stocked in town and is one of the few places with imported French wines and even a tea selection – they also have WiFi for the true workaholic or homesick.

Crab Shack: For something different, grab a bunch of friends and head down to Koh Yor Beach, around eight kilometres from the city centre, and look for the giant Crab Shack’ sign. Delicious soft-shell crab and nightly seafood barbeque, plus the opportunity to mingle (and most likely get slightly, or very, tipsy) with the incredibly friendly locals who will welcome you like long lost friends.

Dugout Hotel: In the heart of town, Dugout does a great Western breakfast, ideal before jumping on the bus, and is a good spot for late night people watching or catching up with the latest sports on the big screen thanks to the rugby-mad Kiwi owner. They also have five large rooms out back around the swimming pool.

Koh Kong Resort: A huge complex with several dining options, the most attractive being the Thai restaurant which does some of the best seafood in town. A variety of food is always on hand to keep your roulette, blackjack or poker game going.

Neptune Guesthouse: This cute little guesthouse has a nice beer garden/restaurant that draws a loyal following from travellers and expats, especially Dutch and German thanks to the excellent schnitzel, with a wide selection of international dishes.

Otto’s: The original and long-time favourite meeting place for travellers; the spacious wooden balcony at Otto’s is always buzzing and is the place to go for German tourists. Excellent German and eastern European dishes in addition to some decent Khmer and Asian dishes just one block back from the river.

More on dining in Koh Kong restaurants

Traditional Khmer cafes are generally nameless and the menu can often depend on what is in the pantry and the mood of the chef at the time, and while restaurants generally close by 23:00 there are a couple of noodle stalls near the traffic circle that stay open well into the wee hours.

Along the waterfront, Cafe Laurent and Aqua Sunset both offer stunning sunset views, and if you feel like splashing out on international staples then head to one of the casino complexes on the border – the food is excellent even if the ambience is typically bland. All hotels and guesthouses have menus of varying range and quality.

For a small village there is certainly an active nightlife, although predominantly tailored towards male travellers. The ubiquitous karaoke lounges in Koh Kong are entertaining after a few drinks and most stay open all night, but these are largely unappealing in their own right unless you are in a group.

A truly sordid ‘Red Zone’ lies around four kilometres southeast of the traffic circle, where late night bars, ‘massage’ parlours and a million mosquitoes all have the potential to thrill or make your skin crawl. More upscale drinking and entertainment, with occasional live music, can be found at the larger hotels and casinos.