Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Kampot, Cambodia

Kampot is a sleepy little riverside town in Southern Cambodia, located a couple of kilometres from the coast. Here you will find quiet streets lined with old French shop fronts, friendly locals and a very chilled out vibe. Kampot hasn’t got a lot to offer in the form of tourist attractions, but its charm and atmosphere makes it well worth visiting. It’s the sort of place that I could easily get stuck in for a while.

Typical street in Kampot, Cambodia

Things to do in Kampot

Kampot is more of a place to just be in rather than going sightseeing. You’ll find the real appeal of the town when just wandering aimlessly along its quiet streets and the riverside, interacting with the locals and stopping in at its interesting cafes and restaurants.

Hit the beach at Kep

The former French beach resort town of Kep is only about 25km from Kampot, so it’s easy to visit as a day trip if you’re not staying in Kep itself. We rented a scooter from our guest house and rode through the beautiful country setting to get there, although our trip became very wet when a huge thunderstorm passed by (read about our experience here). You could also get there by tuk tuk or motor bike taxi – there are plenty around in Kampot – or on an organised tour.

Rice fields outside of Kampot, Cambodia

Rice fields outside of Kampot on the way to Kep

Visit a pepper plantation

We had to skip this one because of the weather, but Kampot Pepper is world famous and you can take a tour to visit the plantations. Most guest houses can organise a tour for you.

Sunset River Cruise

Captain Chim’s, located on Old Market Street, offers river cruises around sunset each day for $5 per person, which includes a cold beer. This is a relaxing way to experience Kampot.

Boats on the river in Kampot, Cambodia

Boats on the river in Kampot

Bokor National Park and Hill Station

Visiting Bokor Hill Station is a popular day trip from Kampot. The French built the hill station in the 1920’s to escape the heat, but it was left abandoned in the 1970’s. I heard that there are plans to restore the buildings here, so it may loose its appeal. Tours from Kampot are easy to arrange at guest houses.

Where to stay in Kampot

There is a street with lots of budget guest houses located just around the corner from the bus station. From the bus station (which is just a bus stop on the side of the street) head to the small “Four Nagas Roundabout” and turn right, then take your first right. The street runs down to the Salt Making Statue Roundabout. There are plenty of cheap guest houses here to choose from.

Kampot Guest House

The first guest house we came to on the guest house street was Kampot Guest House. For $7 per night we got a double fan room with private bathroom. The room was clean, quiet and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The only problem I had here was the mosquitoes, but I can’t blame the guest house for that. I also hired a scooter from here which was in good condition.

Where to eat in Kampot

You won’t have any problem finding places to eat in Kampot. If you want to eat with the locals, head to the food stalls along Makara Street at night (between the bridge and the Durian Monument Roundabout). There are lots of restaurants to choose from in the old market area of Kampot and along the river front.

Captain Chim’s

Located on the Old Market Street, Captain Chim’s is a great spot for a meal. The food and beer here is good and the prices are decent as well. They also offer sunset river cruises, so you could take a cruise and then have dinner here afterwards. Try the beef lok lak – a local favourite.

Beef Lok Lak in Kampot, Cambodia

Beef Lok Lak and a Cambodia draft beer at Captain Chim’s

Heng Leap

This cheap little eatery is located on the guest house street near the salt making roundabout. The food here is super cheap and very tasty. Try the Khmer Curry or Char Kroeung.

Sisters II Bakery

This little family run bakery is a great spot for breakfast or coffee and cake. They do some great pancakes and their yummy baked goods are unbelievably cheap and delicious. It’s located on the street between the 2000 Monument and Bokor Mountain Lodge (riverside).

Getting to and around Kampot

The only way to get to Kampot is by road, so bus or minivan is your only real option. We arrived from Phnom Penh and the bus cost $6.50 and took about 4 hours. Buses also go to/from most major destinations in Cambodia.

Kampot is a small place so walking is the best way to get around and experience the town. Cycling is also a good option, so just ask your guest house if they can rent a bicycle to you. If you want to get out of town for the day, tuk tuks and motos (motorbike taxis) are always available and most guest houses rent scooters. Kampot is a pretty quiet place, but you still need to be very careful when riding a scooter, especially on the main road out of town where buses and trucks are common. The roads in and around Kampot are pretty rough and full of potholes, so just take it nice and easy.

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15 comments… add one
  • Maria Nov 7, 2013

    Kampot is amazing – the river, the pepper, the salt fields and when you tire of all that, head a mile or so down the road to Kep or a mile or so up into the hills to see the caves.

    • Dean Wickham Nov 18, 2013

      Hey Maria. I agree, Kampot is amazing. I’m going to have to go back for more I think πŸ™‚

  • Michelle Nov 8, 2013

    Great post/guide! We are about to do a mim trip (about 2 months) starting in January, and may visit Cambodia.

    • Dean Wickham Nov 18, 2013

      Awesome, Michelle. Cambodia is an amazing country, so I hope you make it there for a visit πŸ™‚

  • Brandon Nov 8, 2013

    Great overview – always nice to find guides on less known locations! thanks!

  • Luanda Nov 9, 2013

    Great post! Thanks for sharing good post…………………..

  • Kristy Nov 26, 2013

    Looks like Kampot is a good place to go when you want to unwind and away from the bustling noise of the city. Also the food there is cheap but delicious!

    • Dean Wickham Dec 6, 2013

      It is definitely that sort of place, Kristy. It’s very relaxed.

  • Captain Chim’s sunset cruise sounds so good right now… feel like booking it straight away sitting here at work in cold Norway πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing your adventures! Very inspirational πŸ™‚

    • Dean Wickham Jan 25, 2014

      Oh yes, I’m sure that sounds like heaven compared to Norway at this time of the year. Hehe πŸ˜‰ Cheers Annie.

  • Nick Douglas Jun 17, 2016

    Thanks for the great post. Simply explained and imaginable . It is very helpful and I do enjoy reading through.
    Planing to visit Kampot and Sihanoukville in Nivember, this post will be our bible. Thanks.

    • Dean Wickham Jun 28, 2016

      Awesome! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your trip.

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