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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.