Kampot is a city in the south of Cambodia which is well-known to backpackers for its eco-friendly vibes. The long wide streets of Kampot are lined with craft shops selling sustainable products, and boho cafes with exclusively vegan menus. We were in the city for just four days, but we definitely could have stayed longer.
Before we arrived in Kampot, we hadn’t heard much about the city. The city wasn’t initially part of our plans, and we were torn between Kampot and Battambang. However, we were extremely and pleasantly surprised with its beauty. To be honest, we were completely surprised by the whole of Cambodia – it really is such a beautiful country and sticks in our mind as a highlight of our time in Asia.
*TOP TIP: Although we hadn’t heard much about Kampot, there were quite a few tourists and expats. There was even a British Restaurant called The Rusty Keyhole – you have to try the ribs, they were delicious!*
SUNSET RIVER CRUISE
On our first night in Kampot, we boarded a sunset river cruise. The two-tiered, wooden vessel wasnt much of a looker, but it gave us some great memories. We sat on the top deck with some locals, and drank cheap beer with friends, old and new.
As we glided down the river, we realised the true beauty of Kampot, and were treated to an amazing sunset. Watching sunsets in different countries is one of our favourite things to do together, and we’ve managed it in quite a few places around the world. As the sun went down we also got to see a tree full of fireflies – which did sort of just look like a tree with fairy lights but nonetheless …
We were so glad we went on this sunset river cruise on the first night, because every other day was rain rain rain! It meant that we were able to see the sunset and the river in marvellous blue and pink dusklight. If you are ever in Kampot, you need to make sure you fit in the river cruise, it really is worth it.
Our accommodation in Kampot was something we had never seen before. It was something you’d see in a brochure, but we were just lucky to stumble upon it. It was a bungalow with three walls, and it was floating! was beautiful and unusual and super memorable.
This bungalow, complete with fairy lights and a curtain, is at a place called The Banyan Tree which made our list of the Top 10 Budget Accommodation in Southeast Asia. this accommodation is across the river from the main town and is just a short tuk tuk ride away. The bamboo bungalow was floating on the river, only had three walls, and was so romantic. We were lulled to sleep by the river lapping on the bank, and got up early to watch the sunrise. We had planned to stay in just a normal bungalow for $10, but we just by chance decided to have a look at the floating one, which was only $12 a night – a no brainer really!
We woke up the next day to rain but that was not going to stop us. We had booked a trip to Kep, a nearby fishing town, with a tuktuk driver we had met the evening before. (Just so you know, Cambodians were by far the friendliest people we met in the 6 asian countries we visited). The weather didn’t get any better all day, it was torrential.
It was so bad that the poor young driver had to stop to buy the flimsiest mac I’ve ever seen. He was still getting soaked but we were determined to continue with our tour and he was in good spirits – perhaps he was used to the rain. It was so bad at one point, our tuk tuk got stuck in the mud and we had to get out and push!
Eventually, the tour went to the ‘secret lake’; some caves with an ‘ancient’ Hindu temple inside, and to a pepper farm, La Plantation – where we saw how the famous Kampot pepper is made. We purchased some pepper to send home as cool gifts, and then headed onto Kep, the famous crabbing village.
KEPPING IT REAL
We finally made it to Kep, a not-so-glorious-in-the-rain beach town. We strolled along the beach in our sodden raincoats – we were determined to enjoy ourselves – looked around the market, and then sat at a restaurant with ocean views. Having visited the giant sculpture of a crab on the beach, we obviously had to try what the town is known for: crab. It was fresh, and salty with hint of sand but so worth the effort.
If you’re in Cambodia and you’ve got a few days to fill, Kampot is a great choice. It’s laid-back, feels different to anywhere else in the country, and has excellent barbecue ribs! Make sure you fit in a day trip to Kep, because it is worth it. We wish the weather had been better, but you have to laugh and never let it put you off.
We’re Brits and we’re used to it.
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