Often in our travels we may start to have a kind of overwhelming feeling fading in, due to all the new places we see and new things we learn. We suddenly feel the need to stop somewhere for a longer time, build longer relationships and make friends that are not leaving in the next day. Perhaps this is just to have some time to think and digest all the experiences from our trip.
If this is your case, one decision that you may have been struggling is which kind of place to choose for this purpose. From a bigger city like Phnom Penh, with its many activities but at the same time more hectic lifestyle, to somewhere quiet and with less things to do, like Koh Rong Samloem or Koh Ta Kiev.
Well, maybe Kampot can be the perfect option. It is an alternative that stands in the middle and provides a relaxed environment as well as some events and activities. If you are looking for a place to stay longer and relax from your travels, have a look on some of our arguments to choose Kampot!
It is a sleepy town by the river, with some interesting venues in its center and surrounded by nature and beautiful mountains (for that check out our article on the Kampot’s surroundings). For instance, if you are up to starting your day with some exercise, have a look on the Yoga classes on Simple Things (classes every day except Wednesday) or in the Yoga @ Bantey Srey (which also supports their social enterprise project, delivering training and jobs to local women). If you are more of a couch type of athlete, check Ecran Cinema and Movie House with screenings at 4pm and 7.30pm. They also give you the possibility to rent your own movie room at the time you prefer and even host the Kampot Comedy Club from time to time.
On the cultural side, you have also Kampot Traditional Music School to learn more about Khmer culture and arts or watch a performance. Moreover, many bars in town host live music, namely the ones around the riverside or the Old Market area. Actually, Kampot is famous for its rock’n’roll bands such as Cambodia Space Project, Kampot Playboys or Bokor Mountain Magic Band. On Wednesday nights you can find an open mic at Magic Sponge guesthouse (8pm onwards), while on Fridays they host a quiz night (7pm onwards).
Alternatively, if your style is more staying at your guesthouse reading on the hammock, have a look at Bookish Bazaar, a highly pleasant café and bookshop with more than 7000 books available for sell or exchange. With the bonus of selling delicious and fresh bakery products, from italian delicacies to cookies and muffins. On the first floor they also have a gallery space hosting some exhibitions.
The entrance of the lovely Bookish Bazaar, more often than not with a tempting smell of recently baked goods (but that’s hard to photograph).
An interesting café is also Epic Arts. It not only provides delicious coffee but is also a social business, helping the local community with teaching skills and giving jobs to handicap youth. By the same organization, there’s also the Epic Creations shop with exquisite handicrafts and other products. A perfect place to find that perfect souvenir you are looking for.
The trendy Epic Creations shop.
Other great places for shopping are The Kampot Pepper Shop (don’t forget that it’s the main product from this area, considered by many people the best pepper in the world!) or Om fashion and organic shop for beautiful handmade clothes and special organic products such as moringa tree or cosmetics made with coconut oil. Check as well the vintage shop Kampot Head, housed in an old cinema from the sixties.
One of the cool remains of the Khmer architecture from the 60’s.
Have a look at the Night Market near the Durian roundabout (especially busy during evenings, where children flock to its tiny but quite kitschy amusement park). It is a funny place to spot locals and make new friends!
If you want to do some activities during the day you can also try the boat trips with the fisherman of the Trapangsangke Fishery Project (which supports the restoration of mangrove forest nearby Kampot). Alternatively, in the same social conscious mindset, you can volunteer at the Kep Garden Association and help their projects (English classes, skills training, among others). If, on the other hand, you are more a night person, head to Banyan Tree for their Friday parties and Naga House on Saturdays. Both guesthouses are on the other side of the river, a beautiful setting for dancing all night long, meet new people from the expat and traveler crowds or watching the sunrise by the river.
Hope we could give you some reasons why staying a bit longer in a charming and calm place like Kampot. It is definitely worth your time and will give back to you meaningful relationships with other like-minded people, in addition to time for you to digest all your traveling experiences… enjoy!