Kampot is a beautiful little town in southern Cambodia, at about 100km from Sihanoukville and 30km from Kep. With just a 3 hour's drive in a minibus from Sihanoukville, you will reach Kampot where you will easily spend a week or even month enjoying its beauty. If you are looking for a tranquil place with gorgeous natural landscapes, Kampot is the destination. Kampot is renowned for its pepper plantations as world-class chefs use peppers from here. You will only know why the pepper is so famous after you taste it. Here, you will get to see some of the most beautiful colonial architectures, a chilled-out riverfront, and of course, Bokor Mountain. So here are some things you should need to know before your trip to Kampot.
From Phnom Penh buses leave twice daily at around 7 am and 1 pm. Some buses go through Kep, which takes about five hours. others go direct to Kampot and takes about three and a half hours.
From Sihanoukville, the easiest way to reach Kampot would be to take a taxi. If you have somebody to share the taxi, the cost would be only around $3-5 each.
For budget travellers, it will be best if you get bad in dormitories. You can get a bed at a hostel located on the Kampot River banks which will be the cheapest option. One such place is Titch's Place. Another one would be Utopia where you can get as low as $6 per night. Then, there is Olly's Place which also offers free windsurfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking and bicycles to guests.
Recently, Mad Monkey Hostel Kampot has also become popular in backpackers' hotel's list. It is pretty close to the river, and the bed starts as low as $6, depending on the size of the dorm.
If you have some bucks to spare, you can choose The Columns, a restored French Colonial house on a serene street in the heart of old town Kampot. The cost of this hotel will be between $35 to $49 per night.
Another good option is Villa Vedici that lies on the riverfront and features a big garden and swimming pool. It also has an excellent bar and restaurant that serves delicious Western, Khmer, and Mexican food. Here, you can also book activities like kite surfing, water skiing, canoeing, wake-boarding, or even a sunset cruise.
Source: The Straits Times
Sleepiness is part of Kampot's charm. Here, traffic is minimal, and you can easily get around the wide streets on foot, bicycle or motorbike. Life here feels slow, unrushed, and you can simply laze in hammocks or go for a refreshing swim in the river.
Source: Never Ending Voyage
The French colonial and Chinese style shop houses in Kampot are crumbling but is very charming. These buildings might not be the most beautiful, but they show some charm.
Source: Saigon Lifestyle Guide
Kampot is a great place for digital nomads. The city feels like an authentic Cambodian city that doesn't exist for tourism. But, there you will see many ex-pats, most of them working for NGOs. So, you can easily find great restaurants, cool cafes, and some comforts of home.
Source: Mad Monkey Hostels
Here, you can find everything from delicious burgers, pizza to street stalls selling freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, sweet potato cakes, and a lot more.
Source: Travel Photography Blog
Even though there is not much to do in Kampot itself, you will find plenty to keep yourself entertained in the surrounding countryside. To explore the countryside, you can hire a tuk-tuk or travel independently by renting a motorbike or a bicycle. The countryside is just within minutes outside the town. You will be riding through bumpy, dirt roads with lots of bamboo shacks and wooden huts throughout the way. You will also see typical sceneries of the countryside like rice paddies, palm trees, water buffalo, and many more.
Source: Asian Wanderlust
Located in the city centre, Phsar Leur market is the place if you want to buy anything; from fruits and vegetable to clothing and jewellery. The place sells delicious organic products. If you are looking to taste some Kampot pepper, this is the place. You will get the peppers at the best price. If you buy from the town's plantations, it will be quite expensive as they sell at high tourist prices, but in this market, you will get the same pepper at a lot cheaper price.
Source: Vietnam Travel Group
Within just seven kilometres from Kampot lies a national park called Phnok Bokor National Park where you can enjoy the nature and some fresh air free from dust and smoke of the city. Most of the times, you won't see any tourist here, and the landscape is stunning. It might be because of the road condition as the road is very bumpy, although you won't have any trouble going there on a scooter. You can always use Maps here if you think you will get lost.
Source: South East Asia Backpacker
Many people stay near the river, a few kilometers out of town. At the river, you can enjoy various water activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming off their beach. This is undoubtedly among the best things you can do in Kampot. You can get a kayak with about 6USD an hour, and paddleboards for about $8 an hour. If you prefer just to chill out and enjoy the beautiful scenery, you can take a guided trip on longtail wooden boats down the river. The popular river trip is a three-hour Love the River Trip that costs only 19USD per person.
Source: Asia for Visitors
From Kampot, you can reach Kep within 30 minutes. Kep is another laid-back town that lacks a town centre, so it would be best to make Kampot your base. Kep is renowned for its crab market and Kep National Park where you will get to see a wide variety of butterfly.
From Kep, you can reach the Rabbit Island with a half an hour boat ride. Rabbit Island is a serene place, perfect for you to enjoy your escape. Here, you can swim in the clear green water, laze in the free sunbeds and hammocks, and enjoy drinking beers and fresh coconuts.
Source: Angkor Focus Travel
Phnom Chhnork Temple, a gorgeous temple built inside caves is a must-visit on your trip to Kampot. The road to the temple is absolutely stunning and the higher you climb towards it, the better view you get. As far as your eyes reach, you will see beautiful palm trees and rice fields. Phnom Chhnork Temple is also gorgeous and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.