I loved my time on Koh Sdach, but when island fever sets in its time to explore…
One of my favourate places in Cambodia, was Kampot, it was a great palce to escape for a few days. It’s a small town on the river near to the border with Vietnam behind the town is a huge mountain plateau covered in rainforest.
The town itself is how I imagine Thailand to be in the 70’s lots of hippie backpackers have settled there and grown up. The architecture is French colonial and painted in a rainbow of colours. It has everything you could wish for after being on a remote island for weeks; good coffee, wine, pizza, air con, a book shop, pastry and a really relaxed vibe!
Things to Do…
The area surrounding Kampot is great to explore hiring a moto is the easiest way of doing it, but be careful on the roads as well as from hundreds of motos there are donkeys, cows and badly driven SUV’s on the wrong sides of the roads around most bends!
Bokor Mountain Station.
Following the road to the top of the mountain, and there is a statue of a lady sits cross legged. Her story is that she is waiting for her husband who is a fisherman to return from sea. Visitors make offering of bananas to the statue to keep her occupied while she waits!!!!
The Bokor station was built in the 1920’s and housed a hotel, a casino and other buildings for wealthy families to escape from the heat. It was abandoned in the 40’s during the 1st indo china war and was the scene of fierce fighting between Khmer and Vietnamese soldiers.
Today the hotel and casino stand empty but are a great to explore and have the most amazing views of the coastline all the way across to Vietnam! Head back down the mountain at dusk and you will end up stopping on every bend to watch the amazing sunset!!
Kampot is famous for its pepper plantations and used to export its green pepper to top restaurants in France, today the plantations are starting to produce pepper for export again and it’s good, really good! The fresh green pepper is quite mild and makes an amazing sauce for meat!
Tours around the plantation are free and there is a lovely café and shop.
There are lots of little shops selling the usual Asian tourist wares, and also some really pleasant little boutique shops. DORSU – sells ethically produced clothing made in Kampot. Tiny Kampot Pillows – local produce and traditional Khmer textiles. There are a number of small supermarkets which stock little tastes of home.
Bantey Srey Spa, a beautiful retreat upriver from the town (women only I’m afraid) run by a social enterprise, the staff are ladies and girls from difficult backgrounds all proceeds from the spa are reinvested in the project.
Eat and drink
Kampot has loads of cafés, bars and restaurants, where you can eat everything from an English roast dinner to Khmer Cuisine.
I loved Café Espresso for their breakfasts and amazing coffee roasted on site. Pepe & The Viking – a great bar/restaurant serving well-made international food and drinks – including a cheese board!!!
Kampot is just what I needed after a month on the island, it provided me a cure for all my cravings. It was a place I would love to return to…
I stayed at The Magic Sponge’ it had an amazing shower a bar (beer $1) breakfast and randomly a mini golf course, and it was clean and peaceful.
I also spent a few nights at the Plantation Hostel, a hostel on the outskirts of town in a fruit garden, which was also great.