Welcome to our Kampot travel guide. We are Ille and Brian – two South Africans who got married in April of 2022 and decided to quit our jobs to take a two year honeymoon. We started our travels in the Philippines in September of 2022 and have been on the road ever since. The travel bug bit me (Ille) while I was working abroad as a teacher in Abu Dhabi, as I could get super cheap flight tickets through my sister who was working for Emirates Airlines (I was lucky to get a lot of holidays as a teacher as well).
After I met my husband in Abu Dhabi, he immediately joined in on the travels. We visited many countries during our eight years working in the Middle East. When it comes to photography, my passion for it began about 10 years ago at university. It took many forms over the years, from portrait and wedding photography to lifestyle and wildlife photography – but I eventually found a love for travel photography. Brian’s a fast learner and has quickly caught up to me. He is enjoying photography a bit more everyday.
Traveling Through Cambodia for a Month
We recently traveled to Cambodia and entered from the north. Our first stop was in Siem Reap to see the majestic Angkor Wat. We also visited Kratie, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh, Kampot and Koh Rong. Spending a month in Cambodia was all our visa allowed us. We really enjoyed visiting a floating village outside Siem Reap called Kampong Khleang, seeing the Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River just outside of Kratie, lazing around on the beaches of Koh Rong and living the “slow life” in Kampot.
Favorite Place in Kampot: Bokor National Park
I heard about Kampot eight years ago through two of my friends. They planned to visit the area back in 2015 and I joined them. I loved the laid-back vibe of the little town and the gorgeous surroundings, and I knew I wanted to take Brian there to spend more time in the village. We enjoyed our visit to Kampot and recommend it to others traveling to Cambodia.
One place in Kampot we loved was Bokor National Park. The drive there is beautiful and the park is, well, weird. We still aren’t sure what it is exactly, which is why it’s so intriguing. There is an abandoned, eerie, massive hotel at the top, a beautiful temple and monastery, an old church, a Chinese temple, a massive Buddha statue and a prehistoric Cambodian village.
Once you enter from the main road, there is a new well-maintained road (which is unheard of in Cambodia) taking you to the top of the park through lush jungles and troops of monkeys. It’s a lot cooler once you arrive at the top – another unheard of aspect in Cambodia, as it’s generally warm.
7 Things To Do in the Kampot Province
- Take a Day Trip to Kep: This small seaside town in Cambodia is famous for its crab market and delicious crab dishes. We also drove around Kep National Park while we were there. All in all, Kep is a little hidden gem.
- Visit Bokor National Park: The drive there is absolutely breathtaking and the park has many different things to see (as I mentioned before).
- Check Out a Pepper Farm: Cambodia has a rich history in pepper cultivation that dates back to the 13th century. Kampot Pepper is considered to be the best on the planet and is highly sought after by top chefs around the world. It boasts exceptional taste and quality.
- Capture Photos of the Salt Fields: Kampot is not only famous for its pepper but also its salt. The salt fields are close to the ocean and water is let in from the ocean into the fields. The fields are then blocked from the ocean and the water is allowed to evaporate, leaving salt crystals. This process is repeated many times. Another reason to visit the salt fields is because of the beautiful photos you can take of the reflections.
- Go Kayaking: Kayaking on the river that flows through the province is a great activity for those who have seen it all but crave some adventure.
- Explore Phnom Chhngok Cave: A cave home to a 17th century shrine to Shiva (Hindu). There is also a gorgeous lookout point over all the rice paddies from the top of the mountain where you can enter the cave.
- Relax by the River: Last but not least, don’t forget to chill by the river.
Best Accommodation Options in Kampot
We stayed at Yellow Sun Hostel in Kampot. We booked a little bungalow on the river and absolutely loved it. It was $18 USD a night, which is a lot higher than our usual budget for accommodation, but after many nights in dodgy rooms we deserved a nice bungalow on the river. The bungalows are very basic and we had a little frog friend that stayed with us the entire time.
Eden Eco Village next door is also a great, mid-range option. They have beautiful bungalows on the river too. When I visited eight years ago, we stayed at Arcadia Backpackers and it was the most fun, perfect backpackers I have ever stayed in – definitely a hit for the younger crowd. All three places are based a couple of kilometers outside of Kampot town.
Local & Western Foods to Try in Kampot
After being on the road for four months we were craving some good-old Western food, and we had plenty of opportunities for that in Cambodia and in Kampot. Yellow Sun Hostel had a great menu that kept us satisfied for most of the days we spent exploring Kampot. We also had some super cheap and yummy Mexican food in the town itself. While in Cambodia you should definitely try their famous “fish amok” dish – a coconut based fish curry – and if you visit Kep you should taste their famous crab dishes.
How to Get to Kampot: Book with 12Go
We winged it to get to Kampot. We took a minibus from Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh and got a tuk-tuk driver to take us to any bus company that would transport us to Kampot. Luckily, this worked for us. Once we arrived in Kampot, we rented a scooter from our accommodation and used the scooter to do the activities. If a scooter is not your thing, you can easily get a tuk-tuk driver to take you where you want to go. You can book buses or mini-buses from all the major touristy spots in Cambodia to Kampot using 12Go – a popular website that covers most routes in Cambodia.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
Although Kampot has some lovely activities to keep you busy, it’s more of a chilled little town – so you can also just come to relax next to (or in) the river. It’s a perfect spot for travelers to take a break from being on the road. After Kampot we felt super recharged to tackle our next destination.
Always remember to do your own research before going to any touristy spot in Kampot. It’s your own responsibility to make sure that you support the right organizations and that your money is helping the country grow, instead of unknowingly supporting child labor and unethical tourism.