Riding Through a Storm in Kampot, Cambodia

The weather had turned bad as soon as we left Phnom Penh, but it was only really drizzle and the odd shower to start off with, and when we arrived in Kampot, it wasn’t enough to bother us. The rain was never heavy enough to stop us from going out and looking around town, and although the skies were constantly overcast and the streets full of puddles, I found the town to be very appealing. Kampot is one of those places where nothing much seems to happen, nor is there a lot to do. It is a place to just be in. It’s the laid back atmosphere and the charming old French shopfronts that seem to be the appeal. I knew straight away that I liked the place.

Street in Kampot, Cambodia

A typical street in Kampot

Boats on the river in Kampot, Cambodia

Boats on the river in Kampot

On the third day of our stay, the skies were a bit more clearer and it seemed as if the weather had taken a good turn, so we decided to get out of town for the day. We rented a scooter and began the 24km ride to the quiet beach town of Kep.

Although this is the main road into Kampot, at this time it was being overhauled and the entire road was dirt and mud, with plenty of trucks and buses to make it much worse in the form of potholes. It was a slow ride, but enjoyable non the less as we rode past rice fields and little wooden houses.

Riding a scooter from Kampot to Kep, Cambodia

Riding from Kampot to Kep along one of the good stretches of road

A rice field near Kampot, Cambodia

A rice field between Kampot and Kep

By the time we reached the turn off to Kep, the annoying drizzle had decided to return, and before long it began to get heavier. So much for that change in the weather.

We reached Kep just as it got heavy enough to drench us, and quickly parked our scooter and ran inside a little cafe. It was well past coffee time anyway, so we thought that we could wait out the shower before moving on.

The rain never stopped.

Resolved that we wouldn’t be getting any beach time today, we hopped back on the scooter when the rain had returned to a drizzle and made our way around the coast road to head back to Kampot. The rain once again got heavier and we had to stop to buy a couple of disposable ponchos. They worked for a little while, until the dark clouds above finally let loose.

Beach on a rainy day in Kep, Cambodia

Kep Beach on a rainy day

Riding down that same muddy road, the rain began absolutely bucketing down, and the sudden wind almost knocked us off the bike. It was clear that what started off as a drizzle had now turned into a full monsoonal storm. There was no real shelter to be had, so there was nothing to do but to keep on riding through the storm.

The rain stung my eyes as it pelted me in the face, and if I put my sunglasses on to stop the stinging, my vision of the road ahead was much worse. Our ponchos were all but useless against this type of rain, so I could feel that I was completely drenched beneath.

The wind and rain went on for some time, but it didn’t seem to really bother the locals much as they all zoomed past us. This was obviously a common occurrence for them. It didn’t die down until we reached the outskirts of Kampot.

When I pulled back into the driveway at our guesthouse, the guesthouse workers stared at us as we peeled ourselves off the seat and removed our ponchos and helmets. We must have looked like drowned rats. The receptionist gave us a smile and showed us where to wash the mud off our shoes, before we finally got to change out of our wet clothes in our room.

The rain that we experienced on this particular day was only the start of the bad weather that seemed to follow us for the next few days as we travelled along the coast of Cambodia, but that’s what travel can be like in the wet season in Southeast Asia. You’re going to get wet!

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4 comments… add one
  • Vinnie Aug 16, 2013

    Loved the French architecture of the buildings, is it some thing common place in Cambodia and are there people of French origin still living there?

    • Dean Wickham Aug 19, 2013

      Hi Vinnie. Old French buildings are common in towns in Cambodia. As to the French people, I’m not sure. There are plenty of French tourists, but not sure if there is a large expat community.

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