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Koh Tang

 Koh Tang

Koh Tang Island, is an island approximately 43 km (27 miles) southwest off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. The only inhabitants on the island are Cambodian military personnel. The Khmer word "Koh", meaning island, is also commonly transliterated into English as "Kaoh".

 

The island was the site of the last combat action during the U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s. On 1975 U.S. Marines on board U.S. Air Force helicopters landed on the island in hopes of finding the crew of the SS Mayagüez. The crew of the merchant vessel were not on the island as U.S. Intelligence had reported but had been transferred from the ship to the nearby Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville , also known as Kampong Saom. The seizure of the vessel by Khmer Rouge forces and subsequent assault on Koh Tang became known as the Mayagüez Incident.

Koh Tang

Koh Tang today is mostly forgotten as the last battleground of the Vietnam War. Underwater there are no visible artifacts or evidence that the battle ground was here. The USA MIA teams are still looking for a helicopter lost and never recovered during the Mayaguez incident, but many here speculate that it was found a long time ago, and like the other submerged wrecks in this part of South East Asia was salvaged for the metals that they are composed of.

 

Koh Tang today is one of the best scuba diving areas in Cambodia with several Sihanoukville dive companies running overnight trips out to this large uninhabited island group. Large fish like cobias and sail fish as well as large schools of jacks, snappers and fusiliers swim over the reef in large numbers as damaged reef section are repaired by mother nature, with new coral colonies of “apcora” (a commonly known variety being stag horn coral) growing at a rapid pace, and the fish stocks displaced start to recover. The diving is good, no crowds and several large shallow sections, as well as the deep reefs escaped damage, so there is ample dive opportunities interspersed with the damaged coral beds. The most famous dive site in Cambodia would be Virgin Reef which has never been completely dived due to its large size, is blessed with healthy fish stocks and some amazing coral gardens stretching for hundreds of meters out from the island

Koh Tang

 

Getting there: Several tour operators based in Sihanoukville offer overnight trips. Try the friendly Dive Shop which has a stunning new live-aboard boat or the long established Dive Cambodia (Full day trip with two dives costs about US$85 (GBP41 or Euro58).

 

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