Where is Kampot? Why should I go there? A fair question! I had never heard of the place before I got to Cambodia. First of all, Kampot is world famous – for Kampot Pepper! That’s where you may have heard the name before. Many of the restaurants and Cafes will give you a good serving of Kampot pepper corns – red, black and green! And to tell you the truth, they are delicious!
Getting to and around Kampot
Kampot is a great place to stop on the way from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. Many bus companies such as Giant Ibis go there. Once in Kampot, bicycles and scooters are easily hired. The main town is easily walkable though with quite a few cafes, bars and restaurants to feed plenty.
- Hire a scooter and explore nearby Bokor National Park and hill station.
- Hire a bicycle and explore Kampot’s north west riverside.
- Go on a sunset Firefly boat cruise
- Indulge in the finest Cambodian cuisine in this culinary hotspot
Diary – Day 1 – We only spent two nights in Kampot as we did not have much time to spare. On the first day we hired a couple of bicycles and headed over the river followed it up stream along a small road. On the way it completely bucketed down with rain and we had to take shelter for an hour or so in a cafe while the storm passed. Afterwards, we eventually got to a place where you could rent a small pagoda by the river and enjoy drinks and refreshments. There were loads of Cambodian’s enjoying this holiday hotspot and playing in the river. The main enjoyment was the cycling itself (when it wasn’t raining!) as we went past farmland and villages.
Day 2- We decided to hire a scooter and rode up to Bokor National Park and hill station. The road up the mountain from town was easily navigable. As we got up mountain we ended up in the clouds so we didn’t get much of a view from the top. It did turn out to be however, one of the most eerie experiences we had in south east Asia! Derelict buildings and a massive Buddha statue appeared slowly out of the mist! We first of all explored a small temple that was covered in lichen and moss, which goes to show how damp the weather is up there.
After exploring the temple we found an abandoned catholic church which still had an alter and a couple of statues in it. The acoustics in there are fabulous! Nearby we also found what I assume was the abandoned hill station, which was a concrete, empty building, but still had a lovely tiled floor. There was also a fully operational casino up there, but we didn’t like to indulge, so we headed back down the mountain to town.
On the way back to town we got a glimpse of the view we should have had all day. We could see right down to the coast. Once back in town we got on our sunset firefly cruise ($5 each). We went up river for some time, passing fishing boats going in the opposite direction out to sea. We also saw some rather shaky looking guesthouse accommodation on stilts if you like sleeping somewhere with a hint of danger! Once the sun went down the party started and the boat stopped for a while so we could jump off the roof and swim in the river – it was most refreshing! On the way back down river the boat pulled along the shore and in the trees you could see thousands of fireflies in the gloom.
Photos copyright by Rosy and Sam
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