For a lot of backpackers, Cambodia is a country of almost constant activities and partying. Kampot is the perfect place to take a break from all of that.
Having said that, if you do still want to drink with fellow travellers, you can do that too!
Kampot is a riverside town with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and a sunset to die for.
So, whether you’re just passing through or you plan to stop there for a while, keep reading to find out why I fell in love with this little Cambodian town.
Kampot is split into two by the Preaek Tuek Chhu river.
The main part of town is on the eastern side of the river, but there are also some lovely riverside bungalows on the western side.
Take a stroll along the east bank and admire the view of the mountains reflected in the water.
There are three bridges across the river in Kampot: the railway bridge, the Kampong Bay bridge and the Entanou Bridge or “Old Bridge”.
The main road crosses the Kampong Bay bridge and there are pedestrian paths on either side.
But the most fun bridge to cross is Entanou… and you need to have a scooter for that one.
It’s an old, narrow bridge with bollards at each end to stop larger vehicles entering, and it can be a little nerve-wracking to get yourself through the bollards on your scooter with so many others around you!
But I think that if you rent a scooter in Kampot then you should definitely give it a try.
Located further into town on highway 3 is an undercover market that will really give you a taste of how the locals shop.
Whether you’re after food, household products, jewellery, clothes, or even a manicure, you’ll find it in this market!
Everything is packed pretty close together and it’s actually quite easy to get lost inside.
Spend some time wandering around to get a feel for life in Kampot, even if you’re not planning on buying anything.
This is an attraction worth seeing just for its unique oddness.
It’s the main roundabout in Kampot and, as the name suggests, features a large figure of a durian!
If you’re not yet familiar with durian, it’s a large fruit which is green and spiky on the outside with soft yellow flesh inside.
But it is most famous for its smell!
Durian gives off a very pungent pong, which most westerners find extremely unpleasant.
If you can get past the smell, though, the taste is not too bad!
Kampot used to be known for the production of durian in the 1940s, hence the unusual landmark.
If there’s one thing that you’re not short of in Kampot, it’s restaurants.
Whether you’re after local food or western, there are plenty of options to choose from.
We found many of them named “Happy Pizza” or something very similar but, despite the name, there were many alternative options available.
If you are after a happy pizza though, it seems that Kampot is the place to go!
The night market is an option for extremely cheap local food, which tastes amazing.
There are many accommodation options in Kampot, from hostels to guesthouses to riverside bungalows.
However, I can’t tell you about this area without mentioning Karma Traders: a hostel located about 2km north of the town centre.
I was recommended this place by a friend and I immediately fell in love with the relaxed, friendly vibe.
There are dorm rooms in the main building and private rooms in smaller buildings around the grounds.
The rooftop bar has excellent views of the sun setting over the mountains, and there’s a games room and an outdoor swimming pool too.
We came for a couple of days and ended up staying for a couple of weeks!
There’s a family dinner every day so that you can get to know the other people staying at the hostel, as well as quiz night, taco Tuesdays, music nights and more.
(Note: I am not affiliated with Karma Traders in any way, I just loved my stay there and I think that you will too!)
Bokor National Park
While you’re in the area, don’t miss taking a trip to Bokor National Park.
It was originally a French hill station, which was then abandoned and is now being developed into a tourist destination.
From an eerie abandoned church to a fancy new casino, the stark differences between the buildings are very interesting and well worth the journey up the hill.
We rented a scooter from Karma Traders and took ourselves up there, which is a popular way of doing it.
But if you’re not comfortable on a scooter, you can also hire a tuk-tuk or taxi to take you up there.
For more information on Bokor National Park, check out this article for my full account.
Kep and Rabbit Island
Kep is a nearby fishing town which can be reached by bus from Kampot and is a great day trip destination.
The town is known for its seafood, especially the crab, and you’ll find plenty of places to try it for yourself.
A short boat ride from Kep is Koh Tonsay, or Rabbit Island.
The island is the perfect getaway from town life with beautiful beaches and only 4 hours of electricity per day.
We actually decided to spend a night in a little wooden bungalow on Rabbit Island and it was a fantastic way to unplug for awhile.
We spent most of our time in Kampot relaxing after visiting the capital of Phnom Penh.
This means that there are a few things that we didn’t manage to do while we were there.
So, here are some of the things that we would make sure not to miss if we visited again:
As you can probably tell, I absolutely loved Kampot and I really hope that I will be back there again one day soon.
You can be as adventurous or as relaxed as you like in this little riverside town, and the traveller atmosphere is just so friendly.
So, while you’re in Cambodia, make sure you put aside at least one day for visiting Kampot!
Where in Cambodia do you want to visit the most? If you’ve visited Kampot before, what was your favourite thing about it? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Want more like this? Check out these articles:
- Bokor Mountain: Kampot’s eerie tourist destination
- 6 useful tips for scooter rental in Asia
- Angkor Wat: Why you should ditch the tuk-tuk tour
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