Things to Do in Kampot, Cambodia
Cambodia is a touristy “new” country that focuses most of the tourism in the city of Siem Reap and its magnificent temple of Angkor (which it really is). For the adventurous traveler, one who always seeks to see something else, in this post we will tell you about Kampot, a small city in southern Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Kam Chay River, surrounded by natural areas, ruins, and even pepper fields, most famous from all over the world – Kampot is a city to delve into Cambodian culture and appreciate an entire country from another perspective.
Kampot: The colonial charms
The river and adjacent hills, which frame views from the riverside promenade, are the most impressive sights in Kampot. Many of Kampot’s colonial structures have been preserved, and there are a number of interesting historic structures in various levels of restoration. The market, which has an angular structure similar to Battambang colonials, has undergone substantial renovations and is now largely open for business.
Related post: Kep and Kampot Travel: Cambodia’s Last Colonial Cities
Where is the city of Kampot located?
Kampot is located in Southern Cambodia, about 156 Km from the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. In order to get to the city, the best option is to do it through a minivan or bus, there are no flight options available yet.
Things to do in Kampot
Kampot has a laid-back and peaceful vibe. Outside of these times, it’s a perfect place to spend a couple of days soaking up the environment and catching your breath: in town, on the beach, along the river, or up on Bokor National Park. Here are the things to do in Kampot you should not miss:
1. Visit Kampot Pepper Farm
According to experts, Cambodian pepper is one of the best in the world, with Kampot being one of the places with the highest harvest and production. The cultivation process and a walk through the fields make for a completely different experience within the city. Kampot pepper must be grown in either Kampot or Kep provinces without the use of pesticides or inorganic fertilizers. Black, Green, and yellow peppers are grown and milled in plantations around the city. Free guided tours are available at popular farms such as La Plantation and Khmer-French Farmlink, where you can witness pepper farms and learn about the harvesting process.
2. Visit Kampot Salt Fields
Kampot is also recognized for producing excellent sea salt, in contrast to pepper. On the outskirts of town, vast salt pans line the river’s side, surrounded by massive warehouses for storing equipment and keeping harvested salt away from the elements. You could see salt workers raking the fields for crystals at the right time of year.
3. Bokor National Park
Part of Cambodia’s history dates back to its French colonial past. Inside the Bokor National Park, although it is incredible to read, there are the ruins of old colonial-style buildings, such as a church and even the remains of what used to be a casino, creating an ideal environment for travelers who are not easily scared.
For those who enjoy adventure and panoramic views of the bay and nature, an ascent to Bokor Hill is the ideal option within the National Park.
4. Cycle through Kampot
Its French colonial past has given the small village of Kampot a special atmosphere that is rarely seen in the rest of the country. In addition, cycle to its picturesque streets and bridges, the town has a distinction that really draws attention when compared to other cities: its neatness and cleanliness of its streets, a characteristic that makes travelers feel comfortable biking (one of the best means of transportation in Kampot).
5. Kayaking in Kampot
The most beautiful section of the Praek Tuek Chhu river is 5 kilometers north of Kampot city, where the river bends naturally to accommodate dense jungle flora and mangrove swamps. The place is a tranquil still-water loop where you can paddle your kayak leisurely.
6. Go with Climbodia in Kampot
If you enjoy tight spaces, Climbodia offers guided caving and climbing experiences for all levels, from beginner to experienced. The Discovery Tour, which lasts four hours, combines easy rock climbing, abseiling, and caving to introduce you to the area’s unique rock formations.
Tours leave from the Climbodia headquarters in town every day. Although safety equipment is given, early reservations — as well as sturdy shoes – are required.
7. Cruising along Kampot River
If taking down the paddles and relaxing beneath the shade of a parasol seems more attractive, Love the River offers individual rides in a classic wooden longtail boat through the Green Cathedral and beyond. The tours are 3 hours long and include time to disembark for a dip and a brief walk through a fruit orchard.
Boats depart from the jetty at Greenhouse’s in the early morning (from 6 a.m.) and again after 5 p.m. for sunset. Reservations must be made over the phone in advance. Tel. +855 (0) 16 627 410
8. Watch the sun go down
Although there are a lot of places in Kampot where the best sunsets can be seen, a walk along the Kampot River allows travelers to observe an amazing play of colors and, when the lights no longer touch the land, to admire the fireflies on the banks of the river.
Related post: The 7 Reasons to visit Cambodia
9. Rest on Kep Beach
Just 25 Km from Kampot, there is a small fishing village, famous for its crab market. In Kep, you can visit its beach, small and not as jungle as Koh Rong Samloem but ideal to rest in one of its hammocks.
On the way to Kep beach, go around the peninsular, passing the town’s iconic crab statue. There are hammocks and beach chairs for rent, as well as coconut vendors and a stretch of lovely white sand.
The main attraction in Kep is the crab market. The easiest way to get a feel for it is to walk through the long line of restaurants that line the road. You’ve entered the market when you reach the low-strung tarpaulins. If you walk all the way to the rear, the market backs up to the sea and a working jetty where you can watch crab traps being hauled and placed.
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