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!
We know that the charm of Kampot has the power of relaxing even the most hectic traveler and the reasons to stay in town to enjoy its river and calmness are more than many. But we also know that, as soon as you get out of the city, Kampot’s surroundings offer a lot to explore and marvel at. Stay tuned from some suggestions on where to go!
Getting out of the city is a great way to meet some locals and experience a genuine Cambodian lifestyle.
Kep: a quiet coastal town with memories of a glorious past
Of course the first place to mention is Kep, the small and quiet coastal town popular since the sixties, when it was a resort area for rich Khmer families. Famous for its beach and its seafood market (crabs are so well known that they even deserve a statue in their honor on the sea in front of the town). Kep is also as a getaway to take the boat to Rabbit island, or Koh Tonsai, as known by Cambodians.
Koh Tonsai or Rabbit Island: palm trees, hammocks and glowing pankton
And here we go, Koh Tonsai is our next spot on this list! An island just a half hour boat ride from the coast, filled with nature and perfect to relax on a hammock, sunbath or swim in this gorgeous ocean. The beach is especially gorgeous on some nights, when the plankton appears in the sea and glows in the dark. Besides that, you can engage in snorkeling, fishing or trekking.
Natural Parks and Mountains: amazing views and local fauna
Back to the mainland, near Kep you have a national park with an entrance ticket of just one dollar, perfect for spotting the local fauna and trekking in a pure rainforest jungle. You can breathe some fresh air and maybe take the opportunity for that exercise you were looking for after eating such delicious seafood in Kep! Moreover, there’s a wonderful place to watch the sunset called, appropriately, Sunset Rock.
If you are passionate about birds, you should not miss the Anlong Pring bird sanctuary, not far away as well.
Not only for nature lovers but also for riders, a beautiful day trip idea to go to Bokor Mountain with a motorbike. There you can enjoy the view and have fun driving its winding road. You will be able to find a bit of everything, from wildlife (Bokor is also part of a national park) to an old vacant and forgotten casino on the top of the mountain. Worth some mysterious pictures for your travel album, namely if you are going in a foggy day. And, well, if you are really trying to do some kind of tour along the mountains and parks around town, you still have the Phnom Sor, or White Mountain, in the north of Kampot.
Traeuy Koh: local villages and salt fields
Tired of trekking and mountains? Much closer to the city you have Traeuy Koh, a small island just across one of Kampot’s bridges. Another option is to visit the salt fields in the surroundings which, depending on the time of the year, can provide you with one of the most incredible setting for photography in the whole country. Just imagine very shallow salt lakes where the water perfectly reflects the sky and you can picture it!
Kampot Pepper: a legend for a reason
There are also the well known farms of delicious Kampot pepper, famous all over the world for its distinguished taste. If you want to buy some, only trust the farms themselves. The pepper sold in Kampot’s markets is more often than not a fake one, cheaper and produced in Vietnam.
The famous Kampot pepper.
Secluded places: a secret lake, misterious caves, hidden temples
Not far away you can also find a beautiful lake, which somehow got named as the Secret Lake. If you are really into this kind of secluded places and want a beach only for yourself go to Angkoul beack! Ask your guesthouse or checkout the maps (typically available on bars and cafés in Kampot). If, in the other hand, suntanning is not your thing and you are missing is some cool shade to break the Southeast Asian weather, check out the caves around Kampong Trach. Another interesting place is Phnom Sorsia, a Buddhist hill temples complex, a cave filled with bats and another one where you can see limestone stalagmites that resemble elephants (hence its name of Elephant Cave).
Crossing the border: your bridge to Vietnam
Last but not least, a good option can be crossing the border to Vietnam, which is just 40km from Kampot. The border is Prek Chak on the Cambodian side, and Xa Xia in Vietnam side. Ha Tien is a nice town nearby, around 20 minutes from the border and a lovely place to start exploring the country. It is also a good spot if you are on your way to Phu Quoc island, highly recommended and not so far away. Just bear in mind that you can not make your visa on arrival on the border to Vietnam, you should have it already with you (the nearest place to Kampot to deal with the visa process is Sihanoukville).
As soon as you pass the border you can check some Vietnamese “street market art”.
Hope you got some ideas on where to go if you are in Kampot and looking for something different. Its surroundings are definitely worth to see! Check out Camboticket website if you need to book tickets for your trip. You can even book tickets from Kampot to Ha Tien and other places in Vietnam.Read more
Not only is one of the most relaxed towns you can find while traveling in Southeast Asia, Kampot is actually an interesting historical site with its colonial buildings and a thriving artistic hotspot full of Cambodian and expat rock bands and trendy cafés! It is the most attractive destination in South Cambodia.Read more
Phnom Penh is an amazing place to live in. But it’s nice to sometimes get away from the city life for a change. Where to go if you want to relax and only have a weekend?Read more
This write up describes the quickest way to travel from Siem Reap to Kampot and Siem Reap to Kep by bus.
The majority of tourists who enter Cambodia by air fly into the Kingdom’s busiest airport in Siem Reap. They do this in order to see Angkor Wat – one of the architectural and religious wonders of the world. After that, most of them will make their way down to the South of the country to Kampot, Kep or Sihanoukville for some rest and relaxation after the heat of Siem Reap.Read more
Kampot is a capital town of Kampot province of Cambodia. It is a home to Bokor National Park. Other main things to explore are the verdant coasts east towards Vietnam, including Kep, and several superb cave-temples. The province’s economy has a great contribution of salt and pepper production, fishing, fruit growing (particularly Durians) and of course tourism. Kampong Trach is the district that borders Vietnam.
The city is famous for its relaxing riverside setting. Must see things Bokor Mountain, Kampot River and surrounding hills. The town’s architecture is pleasantly provincial, old and heritage as it still holds some of its colonial buildings. Its newly renovated market is also a visiting place.
Other attractions include Teuk Chhouu, a place for swimming, tubing and relaxing, and Phnom Chhnork, a ride to caves.
The province is also famous for its beaches, Kep beach, being the most popular beach in the area. Get yourself relaxed and eat some great seafood on the sea side. Second one is Doung Beach, comparatively small than beach in the Kep. Some other interesting things would be countryside tours that often include visits to the caves, a pepper plantation, Kep, Rabbit Island, Kampong Trach and a sunset cruise on the Kampong Bay River. And last but not the least, Kampong Trach. One can hire moto-dop and tuk-tuk or rent a motorcycle to roam within the city and to the surrounding areas.
Reaching Kampot is relatively easy by bus from Phnom Penh and it takes around 2 to 3 hours. Giant IBIS, Kampot Express and Kimseng Express have buses leaving to Kampot from Phnom Penh on regular intervals daily. Buses start from the respective bus stops of each bus operator in Phnom Penh and terminate in the central Kampot. To check all the bus schedules and fares across the bus operators and book your tickets, please visit the home page.Read more