There are so many things to do in Kampot that we had 4 busy days in town. First we stayed in Nelly's Farm, a nature-loving farm with bungalows run by a German friend from Andre, who also gave us amazing tips of what to do or see each day. As soon as we arrived and in order to see all those things around town we rented a motorbike.
Kampot is a very pleasant city in the south of Cambodia and a famous tourist spot, where also many foreigners live and have their businesses. There aren’t really any specific sites in town, but it only takes a short ride in practically any direction to get into the idyllic Cambodian countryside. There are beautiful green fields, red dirt roads, mountains, and villages. It was in one of those countryside roads that we found the Secret Lake and a surprising viewpoint after climbing some stairs. The lake is not very secret, and is actually a reservoir formed by a dam, where locals wash their motorbikes. A new temple is supposed to be growing there but for now it was only a nice high location.
The next site we went to was not far from the lake and it was called La Plantation, a well-known and certified organic pepper farm. There we had a free guided tour through the plantation, and learn all about the different kinds of pepper they produce and export. In the start presentation you also have the opportunity to taste all peppers. In the farm, besides the pepper plants, you can see fruit trees like papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit or banana, and enjoy a full homemade meal in the restaurant.
Once again, I cannot explain how beautiful the landscape around Kampot is. Something that you can only experience if you have a motorbike. Our next destination was Kep, a coastal province about 45 min from Kampot, known for its seafood and tropical islands. The relaxed village has wide streets with crumbling villas that recall its former glory as a French colonial resort town. Kep Beach has calm waters and a promenade with large statues, while vendors line the waterfront at the nearby crab market. We forgot it was the King's Birthday and when we arrived at the beach, we were surprised by the packed areal with locals enjoying the 3-day holidays.
Since we couldn't enjoy the beach in a quiet and relaxed way, we drove further into the Kep National Park, completing its full loop and still making a short stop in the Veranda Natural Resort for a beer and ice cream.
In the Arcadia Backpackers, we finally had the first day in Cambodia with nothing to do except chill. Besides being a riverside hostel about 15 min far from the town centre, it is also a waterpark with sandy river beaches and slides to have fun on. Entrance fee was 5 USD for the whole day, but didn't include the kayak rental (which we also used because someone forgot to park it).
Kampot serves as a good base for visiting the Bokor National Park and its different inside locations up in the mountains. The main attraction is the old French hill station at 1,080m which can be visited as a day trip, but the Povokvil Waterfalls, the Ya Mao Monument (a giant Buddha statue), or the Bokor Church don't fall behind. Many scenic views can be appreciated all the way up or in between landmarks.
The weather on the top can be tricky, sometimes even colder than in town. The first stop on the map was the Bokor Lake, where it poured like hell and we had to wait before driving to the Povokvil Waterfalls next. This is a two-tiered fall, with a shallow pool in between, but impossible to swim.
Before the Bokor Church there's a Chinese Temple and the big Hotel-Casino. In this Christian church you have to pay for the viewpoint, but if you drive a bit further you can have for free. On the way back, we stopped again in the Ya Mao Monument, but this time in better weather conditions.
Our last day in Kampot was again to relax and recover from the intense sightseeing we did. We chose to go to the Greenhouse, an awesome café-restaurant with bathing facilities, and where I would love to go back again.
Back in town for the sunset and a light walk along the promenade. Several restaurants, cafés and bars complete the riverside view with its led lights and good atmosphere, and are highly recommended. A place you should not miss, is Nelly's Bar, a corner street bar located directly in front of the river and also owned by Andre's friend.
Tip: in Kampot, there's tons of places where you can get western food as well as German food with quality: 1) Café Malay, the Garden Café serves typical German breakfast and a good Schnitzel with mash potatoes; 2) Rusty 2 is a sports bar but also serves a really good Schnitzel; 3) Rusty Keyhole is a popular riverfront bar-restaurant with a global menu of comfort food and Khmer home cooking.
Next Stop: Koh Chang, Thailand
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