Kampot, a charming riverside town in Southern Cambodia is a spot I wished we had longer to explore. Realising back in Sihanoukville that we would be limited on time for Kampot due to our visa for Vietnam starting imminently, my travel buddies and I decided to make a quick beeline for the quaint little city. We had one full day to make the most of our visit – here’s what we got up to.
Breakfast at the Epic arts café
This cosy little café is staffed by local people with disabilities and is run to raise funds for charity and provide work opportunities. And the food is absolutely delicious! The pancakes were heavenly.
Now, as we were into our third month of travelling South-East Asia, by the time we had arrived in Kampot we had seen our fair share of caves, and some pretty amazing ones at that. So when we visited two caves not too far from the town there’s no doubt I found them pretty cool but not overwhelming as such. Entry was very cheap however so if you have the time they are definitely worth a visit.
The Phnom Chhngok cave set itself apart from others we had visited as it was pretty amusing scrambling through extremely narrow gaps and holes – my friend Liam (who is well above 6 ft) almost got stuck towards the end. I tried very hard not to laugh.
Visiting The Secret Lake
We were taken to the not-so-secret lake by a very cheeky 8-year-old guide who hopped without hesitation onto the back of one of our bikes (renting bikes is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Kampot). It was pretty nice, and we stood there for a short while to admire the view.
Checking out the pepper farm
Kampot is renowned for growing some of the world’s best pepper, so it only made sense for us to visit the local peppercorn farm. There we wandered through the narrow aisles, rolling the peppercorn balls between our fingers and posing against the greenery. Fun.
Appreciating the scenery
As we biked around, it was impossible not to admire the beautiful scenery surrounding us. We drove past crops and crops of green, locals working from the streams and rivers and cows grazing in the sun.
Taking a firefly boat tour
Me being the animal (and sometimes insect) lover that I am, the firefly boat tour was definitely my favourite part of the day. We set off around 7pm, just after sunset, along the river in search of these mystical glowing creatures I had always been so curious about.
A little way down the river and our two guides shouted and pointed towards a clump of bushes. And what do you know, tiny bursts of light could be seen twinkling away just like fairy lights. Dubious and disbelieving, I climbed off the boat with our guides who helped me capture the tiny creatures in my hands to set them free and watch as they flew, sparkling away into the nights sky. It was just like magic! Sadly and as expected, I couldn’t snap any decent photos during our tour.
Dinner at a restaurant lit up with fairy-lights
Keeping up with the fairy light theme, after our boat ride, we spotted a beautiful restaurant lit up with hundreds and hundreds of fairy lights. I can’t remember what the food was like (oops) but it was really nice sitting there and dining in such a beautiful atmosphere.
A film at Ecran movie house
Technically we went to this ‘cinema’ the night before but I thought it was still worth a mention. This tiny little movie house shows films for dirt cheap and in an almost private room. We went to see the latest Lord Of The Rings film with hardly anyone else there and it was cool to have the chance to chill out and watch a film after months of travelling (even though I was pretty much asleep for the entire duration of the movie!).
So all in all, we had a great day and we managed to pack a lot in! One thing I’m disappointed we didn’t get to do was to visit Bokor Mountain and Bokor National park, where a famous abandoned casino can be found. This was all quite a drive from Kampot however so if we were to visit it would have taken up a whole day, time which we simply didn’t have. Perhaps next time!