Wander through the peaceful riverside town of Kampot and bear witness to its dilapidated but still charming French colonial buildings.
Wonderfully scenic, the town of Kampot is a quiet refuge in stark contrast of its energetic neighbour, Sihanoukville. This sleepy town holds a romantic charm with its crumbling French structures and laid-back quality while providing a base to one of the best national parks in the country.
With its dreamy ambiance and sunset river cruises, Kampot is perfect for couples searching for a romantic getaway. Feeling more adventurous? Venture forth into Bokor National Park for some jungle trekking, explore one of the caves nearby, investigate some pre-Angkorian ruins or visit one of the many plantations that produce the best peppers in the world.
Thanks to its recent revival, it is now very easy to get to Kampot. You can take a bus or shared taxis directly from Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville there. After a hiatus of 14 years, trains are now up and running again, connecting Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep and Kampot. Only 60 kilometres away from the border to Vietnam, you can also hop on one of the motorcycle taxis waiting at the crossing to get to Kampot.
With at least a dozen ATMs in Kampot, you can conveniently withdraw US dollars, the de-facto currency, using your credit card. Not all establishments in town accept payments by credit card so you would be wise to always have enough cash on you.
Being a coastal town with rainy mountains, Kampot is a relatively cooler place in Cambodia, though still warm and humid year round. The cool dry season runs from November to February with tourism peaking in January. The hottest month is April, so avoid visiting then if you do not deal well with heat. The wet season from May to October sees heavy rainfalls in the afternoons, which is not exactly the worst time to visit as Kampot’s nature will be at its lushest.
With the town’s flat terrain and relatively small size, Kampot is very much a walkable town. You can also get around by renting a motorcycle. To get outside of the main town area, you can hire a tuk-tuk or get on a motorcycle taxi. Tuk-tuk drivers who speak English are also great as tour guides and often offer day tours that you might want to check out.
The fresh seafood in the coastal town of Kampot is a must-try. You can eat with the locals at the food stalls along Makara Street or dine in comfort at one of the restaurants in the old market area. Thanks to the thriving local expat community, food choices are now aplenty in town with Khmer, Western and other Asian cuisines available.
The slow and serene lifestyle, coupled with the somewhat mysterious vibe of Kampot will put you under its spell. A 3-day planned stop in this alluring town can easily become a full week visit, and for some, they do not even leave!