Kampot in Cambodia, is one of those towns that you would easily miss if you stay on the main tourist trail in the country. Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville are the top 3 destinations that you would find most tourists but if you spend enough time travelling the country you will hear about Kampot.
Kampot is a sleepy town 3.5 hours by bus from Phnom Penh and 2.5 hours from Sihanoukville where everything seems to go at a snail’s pace away from the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, the hordes of tourists of Siem Reap and the parties of Sihanoukville. Those that decide to stay in Kampot stay for it’s chilled vibes and refreshing energy.
Kampot is a city in southern Cambodia and the capital of Kampot Province. It is situated at the Praek Tuek Chhu river southeast of the Elephant Mountains and around 5 km from the Gulf of Thailand. When you first arrive in Kampot you will notice the heavy influence of French colonial times (along with a mix of Chinese) characterised by the architecture in the town. The roads are wide and usually quiet and most people travel by motorbike, bike or foot. Walking around you’ll see most shop vendors resting in hammocks under the shade of day’s heat and they are never in a rush to attend to you, which can be a blessing after the heavy touting in the major cities and towns of Cambodia.
If you are looking for anything close to something of a lively nature in Kampot then head down to the river promenade for sunset at the foot of the Elephant Mountains. Here you will find locals and tourists walking, talking, drinking and generally socializing. There are plenty of vendors here where you can buy food and cold drinks and is probably the most ‘happening’ place in Kampot on a regular basis.
While in Kampot there is generally not much to do there is plenty to do and see around it. Kampot is famous for it’s salt and pepper and as you travel on the outskirts of the town you will find many salt fields. The salt water is brought from the sea 5km away into prepared clay fields and left to evaporate until salt crystals form. When the sun’s rays bounce off the salt fields it is truly a beautiful sight to see, especially at sunrise. Just a little further out of town towards Kep you will see a number of pepper plantations. The peppercorns that are grown here are said to be some of the best in the world. There are plenty of tours available that you can take to find out more about the region’s salt and pepper production.
The is plenty of beautiful countryside surrounding Kampot where you can trek or better still take a bicycle and get off the beaten track and really explore what the real Cambodia is about where you will come across peoples local ways of life working in rice paddies, salt fields, where you see children eager to find out more about you, water buffalos grazing or taking a dip in muddy waters, swaying palm trees and local village shops where you can stop off to buy a cold drink.
For a sleepy town you will be surprised to find plenty of accommodation and places to eat. There are numerous guesthouses in and out of town and plenty of local and international food available.
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