How to get from Battambang to Koh Kong through the Cardamom Mountains

Getting from Battambang to Koh Kong is not for the faint of heart. This trip, no matter how you do it, is long and grueling. But if you’ve got a few days to spare, it makes for an excellent adventure into one of the most remote corners of Cambodia.

If you’re going to try to make the trip, you have essentially two options: on your own by motorcycle, or by a combination of buses or cars. The motorcycle route is also possible on a good mountain bike, but requires a high level of fitness and is not to be taken on lightly.

How to get to Ou Som Pursat

Ready for an adventure?

Getting there by car and bus

Car and bus is by far the most straightforward and safest way to make the trip from Battambang to Koh Kong through the Cardamoms. Starting from Battambang, you’ll want to get a bus to Pursat. This can be done by talking to any of the companies that offer buses to Phnom Penh. Note that a minivan is far less likely to want to drop you off in Pursat, so you’re better off getting a bus. Expect the trip to take up to two hours. Sorya 168 will take you from Battambang to Pursat for $4.

Once you arrive in Pursat, head to the Psar Chas, the central market, or look for taxis waiting on Road 5. If you get there early enough, before 10 a.m., you should be able to find a shared taxi all the way to Ou Som for $10, or $12 in the rainy season. Only try to get to Ou Som if you arrive in Pursat early in the day. Taking the road up to Ou Som late in the day is not advised. The road is in very bad condition, especially in the rainy season, and taxis may get stuck.

If you get to Pursat late, you should still be able to get a shared taxi to Pramaoy/Veal Veang for 25,000 or $6.25.

Once in Pramaoy, Metapheap Guesthouse offers simple yet clean rooms for $5 a night. It’s located on the right hand side right after the main roundabout as you enter town from Pursat.

O Soam Community Homestay

Get a slice of rural Cambodian life at the O Soam Community Homestay.

In Pramaoy, you can find taxis waiting at the roundabout in the morning. If you’re lucky, you can get a shared taxi up to Ou Som for $5 to $10. The drive from Pursat to Ou Som is three and a half hours in the dry season and can be up to seven hours in the wet season.

Once you arrive in Ou Som, you’ll want to stay at the Ou Som Community Based Tourism Homestay. It is on your right-hand side as you arrive in the village. The owner, Mr. Lim is incredibly friendly and can organize trekking, trips to waterfalls, and transport to Koh Kong. Cost of a bungalow is $6 a night, or you can sleep in a hammock with mosquito netting for $2.

It’s worth it to spend a day or two up in Oh Som, either trekking and visiting the surrounding wilderness or just spending time in the village.

Getting a taxi from Ou Som to Koh Kong is easy, and Mr. Lim will organize it for you. Expect to pay $10 for a seat in a shared taxi that leaves at 7:30 a.m., or you can pay for a private taxi for $50 to $60. The drive from Ou Som to Koh Kong takes about three hours.

The whole trip is definitely an adventure at any time of year, but especially in the rainy season. Don’t expect to make it from Battambang to Koh Kong in one day. And anyway, why would you want to?

Pursat Pramaoy Bridge

The only bridge in the valley.

From Battambang to Koh Kong by motorcycle

If you’re feeling extra adventurous and want to tackle the trip on your own, you can drive it on a motorcycle. A dirt bike is obviously the best choice but the locals make it up there on a Honda wave, so perhaps so can you.

You can follow the route outlined above, from Battambang to Pursat, then onward through Ou Som to Koh Kong, but there is another, more beautiful and rugged route that is only possible on a motorbike.

To take the adventurous route, head out of Battambang along Road 57 to Pailin. Turn left at the turning point for Samlout, about 45km out of Battambang. Before you reach Samlout, the road forks. You’ll want to take the left fork, heading out towards a village called Phum Thnot. This village has the only bridge across the river in this valley.

It’s best if you can speak a little Khmer, as staying on the road to Pramaoy from there requires a few turns. Google Maps can find the route for you as well, but sometimes Google gets it wrong. Stay on the widest dirt road and head towards that mountain ridge. Eventually you’ll come to a T-junction with a market. Take a left and follow that road around to the mountains, staying to the right.

Ou som ferry Cambodia

The ferry across the lake will take you and your moto for just 5,000 riel.

The road up into the mountains is unforgivingly steep but mercifully short. After the top you’ll descend through a long valley in the mountains. Continue straight through there and after another 60 km you should reach Pramaoy. If you reach Pramaoy before noon, you can make the drive up to Ou Som.

If you reach Pramaoy in the afternoon, better to wait until the next day. Definitely do not try to drive to Ou Som in the afternoon if it is raining. Take a room at the Metapheap Guesthouse instead.

The road up to Ou Som is rugged, very steep, and can be extremely slippery when wet. Expect for the drive to take at least two hours, possibly more. Once you reach the lake, there are two ferries that will carry you and your moto across the lake for 5000 riel  ($1.25). From there, it’s only another 5 km to the Ou Soam Homestay.

How to get to Koh Kong

The sealed road to Koh Rong.

From Ou Som to Koh Kong is another 120 km. The first 50 km or so are unpaved, but well packed. The road is used by Chinese workers servicing three massive dams. After 50 km you’ll reach a concrete paved road. You can follow this concrete, despite what the signs say, all the way down to Koh Kong. Expect the drive to take three or four hours.

And there you have it. If you’re looking for an adventurous trip to take during your next long weekend, head up to Battambang and then make the journey through the mountains. Just make sure you set aside enough time to make it through and get back home before you need to head back to work.

Sorya Bus Company
Ticketing: No. 744, St. 106, Preak Mohatep Village, Battambang
T: 092 181 804; 053 953 904; 081 908 004

Metapheap Guesthouse
Right-hand side just after the roundabout, Pramaoy, Veal Veang, Pursat
T: 015 989 680

O’Soam Community Based Tourism Homestay
Right-hand side of the road, before the bridge, Ou Som, Veal Veang, Pursat [map]
T: 095 899 855; 016 309 075

20 Responses to How to get from Battambang to Koh Kong through the Cardamom Mountains

    Dan says:

    Mr Lim is back!

    He was sick but now he’s back again and there is a lot to do. If you want to visit and maybe help out his new number is +855 071 4444 659.

    You can also visit his website – which has more information

    Get yourself here, it’s well worth the trek!


    Lio says:

    Can’t find Mr. Lim’s Facebook page

    Carolien says:

    In January 2019 I rode on my trekking bicycle from 99Guesthouse in Koh Kong to O’Soam Community Center. I rode 112km and 1700m uphill. Left at 8AM and arrived at 6PM. The first 60km is paved and in good condition. The next 15km is red gravel road and mostly smooth. The last 35km is a yellow singletrack dirt road, very bumpy. It took my 3 hours. Only at 27km before destination is a place where you can get food, water, telecom service (and sleep). The road from O’Soam to Pramaoy is 47km extremely bumpy yellow dirt road. It took me almost 6 hours.

    Justin says:

    Where is the best place to rent a motorbike for this trip? Or do you have to own one already?

    Steve says:

    Frank, I am cycling from Kampot through Tatai and am not sure if the Left or Right large road on google maps is the right one! Please can you share your route??

      Jerry zhang says:


      I think either route can access to osoam community. we normally go by the left side from Osoam to Tatai. Please keep in mind, during the rain season, the other side heading to Pursat from Osoam is really tough.steep and slippy.better to depart in the early morning from osoam or Pursat.

    Katie says:

    Hey all, the website for Mr. Lim’s place (Osoam Cardamom Community Centre) is . There’s also a Facebook page with loads of photos.

      Lina says:

      Thanks, Katie! I’ve added the Facebook page to the blog post. Let me know if you ever want to write a post yourself! It would be great to have one about OCCC.

        Katie says:

        Hi Lina, thanks for updating the post :) I helped at OCCC last year in May (did the insanely muddy motorcycle trip from Battambang the same day the author of this post rode it on her bicycle!) I built the website for the centre and try to keep it maintained. A lot has changed (in a good way) since I visited. I’m living in Cambodia now, though, and looking to plan a trip back in a few months. If I do, I would love to write about being at OCCC and I’ll be in touch!

    Frank says:

    I did the tour in the opposite direction a few days ago (mid December) by bicycle. The distance from Koh Kong to Oh Soam is actually 100 km, not 120 as everybody tells you. When I asked Lim about this, he said the 120 kms are probably along the old road, and the new one is shorter. And 120 kms would have been too much for one day by bicycle, taking into account that there is 1750m of ascent and 1200m of descent. The first 45 kms are concrete, after that good dust road, and only from the last village 8 kms before Oh Soam to Pramoy the road is a bit bad with holes and a few puddles. Please note that the first 80 km after you leave Koh Kong, there is nothing where you can get something to drink or eat, unlike the rest of Cambodia, where you always habe the little shops along the roads. Lim’s homestay is about one or two kilometers after Oh Soam in direction of Pramoy: after the bridge at the entrance of the village keep left of the petrol station in construction, not straight to the village center.
    And from Pramoy I took the newly asphalted road to Pursat, as two cyclists that I met in the guest house in Pramoy told me on the direct road to Battambang, there were a few kilometers of mud, where they needed three hours to push the bikes for six kilometers. The rest of the road should be fine, but no possibility to stay overnight before you reach Battambang after 120 kms.

    Ata says:

    Hi, do you think I should stay for one night at Koh Kong before taking a taxi to Osoam? Because I plan to do Koh Kong to Battambang.

    Judy Sykes says:

    Hi Megan I want to travel the exact route you have described here from Koh Kong to Battambang. I would like to contact Mr Lim at the Ou Som Community Homestay to organise a taxi for us but the link to the website is broken, do you have a current web address?
    Many thanks Judy Sykes

      Megan says:

      Hi Judy! The best way to get in touch with Mr. Lim is by phone +855 (0) 89899895 or +855 (0)16309075. If that doesn’t work, his email is Phone is definitely the best way to coordinate however. His English is excellent.

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