City sits along the east side of the Kampong Bay River near the base
of the Elephant Mountains and is of quite a different character than
the beach town of
Kampot City is an old provincial
capital of quiet lanes and colonial period
architecture, a bit worn
but radiating a quaint, welcoming, small town ambiance. A
partially destroyed bridge, bombed
in the war, sits city center over
the river, it’s unique haphazard repair almost an iconic
symbol of the town. Kampot is a place to get a taste of
provincial Cambodia, both urban and rural. Use the city as a
base to explore and tour the surrounding countryside and as
a stepping stone to the nearby
the Bokor Hill Station and the rest of southeastern
Cambodia. Come the end of the day back in Kampot City, a
cafe or pub is the place to be - relaxing
curbside over a glass of wine, watching the sun slowly set
behind the Elephant Mountains..
Kampot may be approached by road directly from
Kep and from Vietnam via the Prek Chak and the Phnom Den
international border crossings. There is no air service to/from
PHNOM PENH to/from KAMPOT
The most direct route to Kampot from Phnom Penh follows National
Route #3 (NR3.) The full length of NR3 is in very good condition -
fully paved and quite wide in most places. The trip between Kampot
and Phnom Penh can be made in less than 3 hours.
An alternative route following National Route #2 (NR2) passes
several pre-Angkorian ruins in Takeo province including Phnom Chisor
and Prasat Neang Khmau. From Phnom Penh take NR2 south to Road #22
in Takeo. The intersection is very well marked. Take Road #22 west
to NR3 and then turn south to Kampot.
Taxis ~$35-$40 for a
private taxi. 3 hours. In Phnom Penh, Kampot-bound taxis depart
Phsar Dumkor. In Kampot taxis depart the taxi stand.
Bus There are several bus
companies offering regular daily buses between Phnom Penh and
Kampot. Some buses loop through Kampot and Kep. When booking ask for
a bus that stops at Kampot first. There are several bus companies
and there is no centralized bus station in Phnom Penh so it is
usually easiest to book tickets through a tour operator.
Giant Ibis (Deluxe mini-buses)
PP to KPT : 8:00, 14:25
KPT to PP : 8:00, 14:25
Phnom Penh station: #6, Street 106, next to the Night Market.
From Sihanoukville, travel north on National Route #4 to Veal Renh
(43km). Turn east on Route #3 to Kampot. Route #4 is in excellent
condition. Route #3 is in good condition. The trip takes 1½ -2 hours
and is 110km total. .
Bus Service There are currently
no regularly scheduled buses between
Sihanoukville and Kampot. Check with local tours operators for
tourist minivans run by guesthouses and tour operators. Minivans run
once or twice a day and run about $5.
Taxis In Sihanoukville, taxis
can be found at the downtown bus station. In Kampot, taxis wait at
the bus stop/taxi stand. Sihanoukville to/from Kampot is
$9-$10/person for shared taxi and $25-$30 for a private taxi.
VIETNAM to/from KAMPOT
Regular Vietnam visas are not available at the border. The gratis
‘economic zone visas’ are no longer available. Visas are available
at tour operators in Kampot and Kep and at the Vietnamese consulate
To/from Ho Chi Minh City:
Three possible overland routes to Kampot: 1) Moc Bai/Bavet crossing
via Phnom Penh (bus or taxi); 2) Prek Chak crossing via Ha Tien
(bus); 3) Phnom Den crossing (taxi.) Get tickets from a local tour
To/from Phu Quoc Island and deep south
Vietnam The crossing Prek Chak/Xaxia is the nearest, most
easily accessed border crossing with Vietnam. The crossing is near
the Vietnamese town of Ha Tien, the primary jump off point to Phu
Regularly scheduled multi-daily vans and mini-buses travel from
Kampot, through the border crossing and all the way to Ha Tien, most
in time for the ferry to Phu Quoc. Price: $8-$11. Arrange a ticket
through your guesthouse or a tour operator in Kampot. If you want to
do-it-yourself, a motodup from Kampot to to the Prek Chak crossing
costs about $8; tuk-tuks run about $15-$20 and a taxi is $20-$25.
Some motorcycle taxis from Kampot are also able to cross the border
with you and take you as far as Ha Tien for an additional $2-$3.
For more on international border crossings see the
The town is small and motodups are
common. Foreigner price for motodup: 1500-2000R across town.
Motorcycle rental: 100-125cc ($4-$6/day) and 250cc ($15-$20/day).
There are a couple of motorcycle shops just off the traffic circle
in the center of town (see map) and almost all hotels and
guesthouses and even some restaurants and bars can help you arrange
motorcycle rental and other transportation.
Hotels and Guesthouses
Kampot City is comparatively compact and
most in-town hotels are within walking distance of the popular
riverfront area. Several stylish little places occupy classic
colonial-era buildings in the Old French Quarter, offering a
uniquely Kampot experience. There is also a cluster of 5 or 6 budget
places on ‘Guesthouse Street’. For a more natural, rural, secluded
setting, a number of budget and mid-range guesthouses dot the
riverside stretching north from town, some several kilometers up
Auberge du Soleil
Range: $25 - $38
Very nicely restored colonial era building a block
off of the riverfront in the old French Quarter. Three spacious
rooms fast free wifi, en suite bathroom with hot shower, AC and fan,
flat screen cable TV and mini fridge, laundry service. Restaurant
and bar serving Under a recent Swiss management. Restaurant serving
Swiss Cheese Fondue and Röstis, French and Asian specialties.
French, English and Khmer spoken.
Range: $2 - $8
Popular, inexpensive, friendly, clean,
western managed guesthouse/restaurant located on 'guesthouse
street'. Dormitory available, most rooms with attached bath. Free
wifi. Lush quiet garden with restaurant and bar. Great breakfasts
and a large varied menu. Quiz night every Tuesday. Some books,
postcards, souvenirs and traveler's sundries. Lots of travel and
local information available. Receiving lots of good reviews.
The Columns Kampot
Range: $45 - $59
Fully restored French colonial era buildings a block off the river
in the old French quarter of town. Hardwood furnishings, Cambodian
silk cushions and decor, and all modern amenities including
air-conditioning, flat-screen TV with cable and DVD player,
mini-bar, lockbox, in-room wifi and i-docking pad. In-room wifi.
Ganesha Riverside Eco Resort
Range: $8 - $54
Boasting a 94% overall positive ratings on Hostelworld. More than
10,000m2 of tropical garden for only 7 units gives a real feel of
Cambodia’s natural beauty, with space and intimacy. Bar and
restaurant offering a wide selection of delicious cocktails and
Range: $10 - $30
Riverside restaurant, pretty rooms in a
beautiful garden with mango and coconut trees, lots of flowers. and
a nice view of the river, mountains and the rice fields. 2 minutes
outside town. Internet facilities. TV. A/c rooms. Hot water. Free
bicycle rental. Tour service. French, English and Khmer spoken. Free
Mea Culpa Guesthouse
Range: $20 - $25
Guesthouse and restaurant in a nice
garden setting, located in a quiet part of the old French quarter of
town. Clean, new nicely decorated fan and a/c rooms with cable TV,
DVD player and en suite bathroom with hot water. Balcony.
Complimentary tea and coffee. Free wifi. Patio restaurant and bar
serving Khmer and international fare including pizzas from a
wood-fired oven. Both the guesthouse and the restaurant are
receiving excellent reviews from customers.
Moon River Lodge Kampot
Range $10 - $25
Newly refurbished guesthouse in a Retro-design French-Khmer building
on the riverfront road 500 meters downriver from the main riverfront
district. Nice quiet area with a view of the river and mountains.
Both fan and air-conditioned rooms available with CTV and DVD
player, free wifi, en suite bathroom with hot water. Guesthouse
services include laundry service, tour desk, free pick-up from the
bus station and room service from the guesthouse restaurant. Kitchen
open from 7AM, serving Khmer and western food and all day breakfast
on the balcony.
Riverside front Road 500meters from Governors Residence, Kampot,
Nataya Round House Coral Bay
Range: $100 - $300 (Breakfast Included)
Beautiful, unique resort set amongst
manicured gardens on a secluded beach on the South China Sea 15km
west of Kampot off of Route #3. Fully outfitted, very well appointed
‘round-house’ style boutique bungalows just a few meters from ocean.
Superior and deluxe bungalows and pavilion suites. Infinity pool and
Jacuzzis at ocean’s edge and a long sandy palm-lined beach. Fine
dining and drinking venues. Absolutely unique and one of the finest
accommodations on the coast. Free wifi.
Range: $30 - $52 (breakfast included
Stylish, finished, air-conditioned
individual rooms in wooden bungalows at the riverside. Tastefully
decorated, well appointed rooms with all amenities. A/c, Cable TV, en
suite with hot water. Most with balconies and a beautiful sunset
view over the river. Riverside restaurant and bar. 10% discount on
stay of 1 week or more. Free WiFi.
Located just north of the new bridge.
Tel: +(855)(0)33-641188 (English)
Range: $6 - $20
Fan and a/c rooms and bungalows. Cable
TV and hot water. Khmer decor. Intl/Khmer restaurant. Lots of
seafood. Full bar. Motorcycles, bicycles, boat for rent. Books
available. Quiet area. Secure parking. Contact for Wild Orchid Tours
offering trips to Bokor, Kep, jungle treks, and lots more. Internet,
Range: $6 - $35
Nicely refurbished villa-style
guesthouse on a quiet street amongst a cluster of guesthouses. Fan
and a/c rooms with cable TV and en suite bathroom with hot water.
Free wifi. Bicycles for rent. Restaurant and bar with BBQ. Happy
hour. All tourist services. Health care services.
30 meters from
Range: $35 - $45
Charming little western-managed
guesthouse on the river road in town. Very well-appointed, stylishly
finished air-conditioned rooms with all amenities including cable
TV, DVD, mini-bar, in-room wifi, spring mattresses and high-pressure
showers. Free wifi internet access in room. Excellent rooftop
restaurant and bar with a brilliant view overlooking the river.
Range: $15 - $75
Hotel and bungalows offering
picturesque river, mountain, sunrise and sunset views. Set in a
tranquil location yet only a 10 minute walk or short bicycle
ride to town. 20 stylishly furnished and well appointed rooms.
Choose from Khmer wooden bungalows, a 4 bedroom Khmer house
suitable for groups or families or stay in the newly built
hotel. Restaurant serving fine international cuisine prepared by
a European chef. Nice big swimming pool. Tour desk, bicycle and scooter hire available.
Range: $30 - $100
Laidback garden resort on the riverfront
surrounded by paddy fields with spectacular mountain views.
Receiving very good reviews. Rooms and family bungalows. Small
beach, swimming pool, bar. Serving Western, Khmer, Mexican food.
Free Wifi, Sat TV, movie database, PlayStation3. Sunset cruises,
kite surfing, wake boarding, water skiing, mountain biking,
kayaking, basketball, pool table, ping pong.
The Vine Retreat
Range: $25 - $45
Unique, ecologically conscientious
guesthouse and organic farm in a jungle mountain area at Phnom Voar.
A relaxed, natural, picturesque setting. Comfortably decorated rooms
in a wooden guesthouse. Restaurant and bar. Salt water pool.
Trekking. Yoga and meditation retreats.
Kampot has a number of little restaurants and cafes, and like most
southern towns the emphasis is on fresh seafood. Some of the best
dining in town is to be found along the picturesque riverfront road
and nearby streets in the Old French Quarter - pizza, Cambodian
food, pub grub, coffeeshops, lots western choices... The riverfront
road has long had a fair number of places and recently there seem to
be more restaurants popping up around the Phsar Kronet (the recently
refurbished ‘Old Market’) and the in the Old French Quarter.
For a more local experience, soup, sandwich and fruit shake stands
set up in the evenings on the road between the Old Bridge and the
Durian Monument, Great place to try a tukiluck (local fruit shake)
or Cambodian dessert.
Kampot is not a party town like Sihanoukville, but there are a few
bars around, and the number seems to be growing, if only gradually.
Many of the places are located on or near the riverfront of the Old
French Quarter. There’s also an expanding little cluster of bars
mid-block, on the north side of the Phsar Kronet just off the
Most of the town shuts down fairly early, with almost all places
closed by midnight, though a few of the foreigner bars such as ABC,
Oh Neil’s Pub and Wunder-Bar sometimes stay open quite late. The
lone Cambodian-style disco in Kampot is located on the west side of
the river a kilometer north of the old bridge. (This disco was used
as a filming location for the Matt Dillon movie ‘City of Ghosts.’) .
Auberge du Soleil
Set in a very nicely restored colonial era
building in the Old French Quarter, Auberge du Soleil specializes in
Swiss Cheese Fondue and Röstis, as well as French and Asian dishes.
The Duck Breast with an Orange and Honey Glaze and the tender Beef
Filet with a "Marchand de Kampot" Sauce are recommended. Wine
selection, full bar, cocktails and liquors. French, English and
Popular garden restaurant located on
'guesthouse street', all food prepared by a professional western
chef. Large varied menu of Western, Khmer and Asian dishes. Great
breakfasts and a Sunday roast every week. Full bar open into the
evening. Happy hour 4:00PM - 8:00PM. Free wifi. Lots of travel and
local information available. Receiving consistently good reviews.
Open early till late.
Brise du Bokor Restaurant
Comfortable local restaurant on the Bokor Mountain
Road, next to the Yeah Mao Monument near the top. Nice clean dining
room with fans. Serving Khmer food and some western dishes, both
meals and snacks. Small bar with beer, wine and a few cocktails.
Café Espresso Kampot
Specialist coffee roasted in house. Amazing selection of espressos,
perfectly brewed. Tapas bar from noon. Australian style breakfast
cafe, baked goods, house smoked bacon, home made condiments & good
vegetarian options. Stylish atmosphere and great service. Set on
quiet colonial side street from epic arts cafe. open 7:00am till late -
free wifi. Located on the street toward the Market from Epic Arts
Captain Chim’s Family Café
Family-run Cambodian restaurant in the
center of town, offering authentic home cooked Cambodian dishes at
extraordinarily reasonable prices. Some of the best value for money
in town. Luk-lak, Cambodian Amok, soups and more. Also running
Cambodian cooking classes for foreigners. Boat and motorcycle rental available.
Opposite the Old Market.
Divino Italian Restaurant
Homey little Italian restaurant serving up some
excellent Italian dishes and getting very good reviews in the
process. A selection of pastas, pizza, ravioli, gnocchi, tuna tartar
and more. A good choice of desserts too, including a very nice
tiramisu. Wines, spirits, beer.
9AM-11PM. (Closed for the low season.)
Epic Art Cafe
Established in 2006, Epic Cafe provides work opportunities for deaf
and disabled people and is a model of an inclusive work space.
Comfortable corner restaurant near the Old Market. Serving western
breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, home-made cakes, teas, juices and
Happy Dreamily Pizza
Friendly little riverfront pizza place
serving pizza, pastas, burgers and a variety of good Khmer dishes.
Full bar. Cold beer, spirits, cocktails. Open 7:00AM - 11:00PM. Free delivery.
Call a pizza to your hotel or guesthouse.
Happy Special Pizza
Riverfront pizza place with a huge menu,
full bar and great sunset view. Western breakfast, sandwiches,
salads, burgers, a selection of pasta dishes and near 50 varieties
of pizzas. Fresh fruit shakes. Beer, wines, cocktails. Very
7:00AM - Midnight.
Heng Leap Restaurant
Homey curbside restaurant on guesthouse street.
Serving a good selection of absolutely authentic Khmer dishes as
well as a few western selections. Prepared in an open kitchen. Draft
beer and drinks. All very reasonably priced. Travel and tour
Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace
Pleasant little bakery/deli/coffeeshop
located just off the river road. Fresh baked pastries, pies,
cookies, good coffee, shakes, fresh juices, frappes and more. Also a
few light meals including burgers, chili dogs, chicken curry pie and
even poutine. Wifi.
Mea Culpa Bar &
Pleasantly quiet patio garden restaurant
and bar set off the main road in a tranquil corner of town. Serving
nicely done international fare including excellent pizzas from a
wood-fired oven. Good salads and sandwiches as well. Excellent
service. Friendly place. Receiving consistently great reviews from
customers. Free wifi. Recommended.
Mira Home Cooking
Local restaurant serving very reasonably priced
Cambodian food - stir fries, fish soup, curries, fried chicken,
fried rice, some veg dishes, all very reasonably priced. Many meals
between $2 and $3. Specializing in tukiluks, the classic Cambodian
fruit shake. Receive a free fruit shake with purchase of meal and
the advertisement (page 93).
Charming rooftop balcony restaurant and
bar with a spectacular view overlooking the river and mountains. A
great place to enjoy sunset. A very popular place. Offering a wide
selection of western and exclusive Khmer dishes prepared by a
professional chef. Generous portions. Great desserts. (I can hignly
recommend the Apple Strudel. Delicious!) Cozy balcony bar offering
cocktails, cold beer, a selection of wines and a collection of fine
spirits including a nice little selection of top-shelf whiskeys.
Two for one happy hour 5:00PM - 7:00PM.
Open 7:00AM -
Friendly, very popular, western managed,
bar and restaurant. great western and Asian food at very reasonable
prices. good value, good cooking. Daily seafood and Tex-Mex
specials, draught beer in a pint glass and, as reported by the Phnom
Penh Post, serving the best BBQ ribs in the land. Ice cream and sweets. Located on the riverfront, next to the
old market. Offering the 1.5kg dino rib!!! Recommended.
11.00AM - 11.00PM
New sports bar/restaurant from the good
people at the long-running Rusty Keyhole, located at the Year 2000
Monument intersection. Big screen TVs, the best satellite channels,
all live sports. Premier League footy. Food includes snacks,
pizzas and Rusty Keyhole’s famous ribs. Full bar, draft, local and
imported beers, Cocktails. Open till midnight.
Lovely al fresco restaurant on the
riverfront, uniquely placed at the riverside end of Phsar Kronat
(the Old Market). A friendly upscale ambiance at very reasonable
prices. Offering a good selection of both Cambodian and western
classics, from Mexican Burritos to Fresh Shrimp in Kampot Pepper.
Full bar with a good wine selection. Nice place for a sundowner. Set
in an open area with a nice breeze off the river and a sunset view.
The main market is located at the north
end of town - a traditional style market carrying the usual local
products: vegetables, fruits, meats, bulk rice, motorcycle parts,
tools, moneychangers, etc. The formerly abandoned ‘Old Market’ on
the boulevard off the riverfront road has recently been refurbished
and is slowly being repopulated. Watch for new shops.
More useful to visitors, there are a couple of convenience stores
located on central traffic circle offering a pretty good selection
of imported goods, canned foods, snacks, beer, spirits, wines, water
Many of the guesthouses and hotels offer small selections of
souvenirs, usually focused on local products such as Kampot pepper,
Cambodian coffee, locally made bags, handicrafts, clothes and cards.
And there are now a few proper souvenir and clothing shops in town
as well as a book store.
A Cambodian social enterprise combining
skills training and employment opportunities. Shop offering a good
selection of handmade women’s clothing and accessories, most in
comfortable cotton - dresses, skirts, blouses, bags, purses and
Located next to the Old Market.
Kampot River Souvenir
New riverfront souvenir shop carrying a wide variety of Cambodian
handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes and other Cambodian products. Local
basketry, Kampot pepper, Cambodian crafts and jewelry, NGO products,
bags and purses from recycled rice bags, also comfortable clothes,
sunglasses and such.
Kampot Souvenirs and Handicraft
Offers a wide range of local handicrafts
including the Transparent Handicraft range of products made by
disabled and disadvantaged in the Kampot Area. This product range is
transparently priced so the customer knows who made the product and
how much they were paid.
Kepler’s Kampot Pepper
Large selection of the famous
Kampot-grown pepper, some of the finest black pepper in the world.
Kampot-grown black, red and white pepper, available in different
packaging's. Also selling Cambodian grown coffee.
Open 8:00AM - 8:00PM.
Srey Na Souvenir Shop
Small local souvenir and gift shop just off the riverfront, catering
to both locals and travelers. Kampot souvenirs including a variety
of Kampot peppers, kromas and Cambodia tee-shirts. Also light
dresses, hats, sunglasses, sundries and trinkets.
Books and Information
Kepler’s Kampot Books
carries a good selection of used and new
novels and Cambodia related titles for buy/sell/trade. Souvenirs for
sale. Kampot pepper, statues, t-shirts, postcards, more. Print and
scan services. Internet available.
Located next to the old market in the
middle of town.
Open 8:00AM - 8:00PM.
Most of the guesthouses and tour operators can provide local travel
information. Local newsletter,
The Kampot Survival Guide, provides
an entertaining read and a unique take on touring Kampot. For the
history of Kampot, pick up a copy of Robert Philpotts’ The Coast of
Cambodia (Blackwater Books, 2000).
Kampot Banks, ATMs
ACLEDA and Canadia Bank both accept
Visa and have 24-hour ATMs.
Canadia Bank also accepts MC. ACLEDA ATMs access
Gold Dots. Canadia Bank ATMs
access Visa, M/C, Cirrus and
Maestro. For instant cash transfer,
Canadia Bank offers MoneyGram and Acleda Bank
has Western Union. All banks offer currency exchange.
Moneychangers are located around the market.
Phone & Internet: There are several internet places around
town and some of the hotels and restaurants offer free wifi. Dani
Internet cafe just off the riverfront has inexpensive internet, wifi
and international calls. Hotels and restaurants with wifi available
include Rikitikitavi, Rusty Keyhole, Natural Bungalows, Mea Culpa,
Bokor Mountain Lodge and others.
Medical: The main hospital is on the riverfront road 100
meters north of the Old Bridge. Facilities and services are very
rudimentary. Local residents also recommend the Bokor Clinic &
Maternity near the hospital (see map).
Things to Do
Kampot and Kep are so close to each
other that they share many of the same sights and attractions. Kep
Beach, Rabbit Island, Bokor Hill Station, and countryside tours are
perhaps the most popular day tours out of Kampot and Kep with tour
operators offering very competitively priced tours. The Kampot/Kep
area also offers several other attractions including pre-Angkorian
ruins and caves, jungle trekking, bicycling tours, river cruises,
island trips, fishing trips, isolated beaches, pepper plantations,
bamboo train rides and some beautiful rural countryside.
Architecture of Kampot
Though suffering a bit the ravages of time, the architecture of
Kampot is pleasantly provincial, a mix of red tile-roofed shophouses
and old French colonial government buildings. Kampot has been an
active settlement for centuries but the location and layout of the
modern town was established during the French colonial period in the
late 19th/early 20th centuries. Many of the buildings along and near
the river were constructed during this period. The south end of town
harbors several European-style buildings including the governor’s
mansion and the old prison. Most of the other colonial era buildings
employ the classic 2-storey ‘Chinese shophouse’ design, many
displaying European design elements. Unlike many other Cambodian
cities, the shophouses are often individuated in design and facade,
lending to Kampot town’s quaint air.
The most popular beach in the area. A single, kilometer-long
crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula, bounded by rocks
at either end and traced by an oceanfront road. Coarse sand and warm
shallow water. It’s a very average swimming beach but still
pleasantly peaceful (no noisy jet skis yet) - a good place to
lounge, have an oceanside seafood meal and enjoy the cool sea
breeze. Dining platforms and seafood vendors line the road behind
the beach as well as the oceanfront further down the road. The beach
can be quite busy on weekends, but is often deserted during the
week. The road through Kep follows the coastline to the beach and
then circles back on itself. Sometimes cars and vans must pay
admission. Be aware the oceanfront road along the beach area is a
one way street and the police do occasionally enforce the law.
Kep’s “other beach” - a long, narrow sandy tropical beach about 25km
from Kep. The beach is very lightly touristed with only a couple of
snack/drink vendors, a few fishing boats and little else.
Interesting, photogenic trip through the rice paddies and salt flats
to get there.
Phnom Doung Beach
A small, completely untouristed beach about 9km south of Kampot
City. The dirt road from Kampot to the beach passes through
picturesque rice fields and salt flats.
Tours out of Kampot to the old Bokor
Hill Station in the nearby Elephant Mountains have long been
popular. A new casino/hotel complex has gone up over the last couple
of years, and the road up the mountain improved, but the reminants
of the old hill station are still there - a mountaintop collection
of crumbling buildings - hotel, casino, church and royal residence.
The station was originally constructed by French authorities in the
early 1920s as a complement to the Kep resort area. In its day Bokor
was an elegant getaway for officials and foreign visitors - a
classic colonial 'hill station' located in the mountains to allow
foreigner visitors accustomed to more temperate climes to escape the
tropical heat. The old building were abandoned in the 1970s, leaving
ghostly ruins - vestiges of a different age, often shrouded in fog
One thing that the years have not changed is the absolutely
spectacular view of the coast and the cool (sometimes cold) mountain
air. Bokor is jungled and excursions beyond Bokor, including
trekking, can be arranged by local tour operators.
The road up the mountain has been completed and is in good
condition. Full day Bokor tours can be arranged through a local tour
operator. Tours run about $10/person inclusive for an all-day tour
including a sunset boat cruise on the Kampong Bay River. The Park
Office and turn-off to the Hill Station are 37km west of Kampot on
National Route 3. The drive from the base to the top takes 30-45
Limestone mountains (‘phnom’) dot the
landscape between Kampot and Kep. Many contain limestone caves, some
adorned with exotic rock formations, and almost all containing
Buddhist shines. Make sure to bring a torch and wear shoes suitable
for climbing on rocks.
caves of Phnom Chhnork - Cave #1
Pre-Angkorian ruin set in a limestone cave amongst stalagmites
and stalactites that are slowly growing back into the ruin. Small,
4th-5th century AD brick structure associated with the ancient state
of Funan. A bit of carving is still visible. Look for the limestone
formations near the entrance of the cave in the shapes of elephants.
Cave #2 The entrance is about 300
meters from Cave #1 in the
same limestone outcropping. Very little in the way of formations,
but quite deep, requiring climbing over piles of rock and through
small openings. Small shrine.
Kbal Romeas (Phnom Sla Ta'aun) Plain by comparison to
other caves. Look for the huge rock balanced in a hole in the
ceiling. A few old shrines, hidden deep inside the hill and many
stalactites. Excellent views from the top.
Climbodia provides caving and rock climbing in amazing caves
at Phnom Kbal Romeas. A climb to the top rewards with breathtaking
views inside the cave and from the top of the hill, Bokor and the
ocean. Securely placed Via Ferratas take you deep into the belly of
the hill, abseiling down a labyrinth of caves. All skill levels,
from the absolute beginner to the experienced climber.
cave at Phnom Sasear, also known as the ‘White Elephant
Cave.’ Located next to an colorful pagoda. The stairs up the side of
the outcropping provide a beautiful view of the countryside,
especially during the wet season. The cave contains a shrine at the
base of a limestone formation alleged to resemble a white elephant.
Kampot and Kep provinces harbor some
beautiful rural countryside just outside the town areas - bucolic
scenery, rice paddies and water buffalos with white egrets riding
their backs, countryside pagodas and little villages filled with
traditional stilted houses. There is some very nice rural scenery
along the road between Kampot and Kep. Keep your camera at the
ready. Tour operators offer full and half day area tours the can
easily be customized to your requirements, often including visits to
the caves, a pepper plantation, Kep, Rabbit Island, Kampong Trach
and a sunset cruise on the Kampong Bay River.
Kampong Trach is the district that borders Vietnam. The road trip
from Kampot to the main town passes though some picturesque rural
areas. There is a new side road to Kampong Trach town that skirts
the base of Phnom Voar, (where the victims of the 1994 Khmer Rouge
kidnappings were held.) These mountain areas of Kampong Trach were
one of the last Khmer Rouge holdouts. Kampong Trach town is small
and relatively uninteresting. The area’s main attraction is a series
of limestone caves and tubes that have been carved into a nearby
mountain. The roof of a large cave in the center of a mountain has
collapsed, making a small, enclosed jungle. Pagodas and shrines have
been built amongst the caves, providing for some excellent photo
possibilities. Bring a flashlight and wear good walking shoes.
From Kampot, take the Kep road, bear left at the White Horse
Monument and follow to Kampong Trach. After a few kilometers the
road changes to badly broken pavement. The side road mentioned above
requires a left turn onto a graded dirt road about 7 km past the
White Horse Monument. It is not a straightforward route and it may
be better if you go with a guide. Set aside the better part of a day
for the trip to the caves and back.
Kampot Pepper and
Kampot pepper, grown in Kampot province, has been renowned for more
than a century as some of the highest quality pepper in the world -
its distinct flavor and pugnacity, intense but light taste with
fresh lingering aromas has long been a prized as an essential spice
in the finest French kitchens. It is also featured in local
Kampot/Kep cuisine such as Pepper Crab (local crab fried in black or
green pepper corn) and beef steak in fresh pepper corn sauce. At the
beginning of the 20th century the Kampot plantations were in full
operation and Cambodia was exporting more than 8000 tones of pepper
annually. In 1960, there were 1 million pepper poles in Kampot. But
the wars from the 1970s through the 1990s put an end to regular
production for almost 30 years. Production was renewed in the late
1990s but faced new challenges. Pepper plantations now dot Kampot
province. Most general Kampot area tours pass through the pepper
plantations near Phnom Voar. The plantations of Angkor Chey near
Phnom Voar offer a particularly good look at the process or growing
and preparing the pepper. And it’s a good place to buy the Kampot
pepper straight from the source.
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Rabbit Island (Koh Tunsay) is a small tropical island located
about 30 minutes south of Kep by local boat. The island is
undeveloped except for some rustic bungalows and a couple of beach
shack restaurants. Secluded white sand beaches dot the edges of the
island, backed by a hilly coconut palm interior. Most services are
near the west side beach. The surrounding waters are relatively
clear and warm, offering some snorkeling opportunities around the
rocks. Coral is scarce but colorful fish abound. You can stay on the
island or just make a day trip of it. Rooms/bungalows on the island
generally run $10 or less. Arrange a boat trip to the island through
your guesthouse in Kampot or Kep or just go to the Koh Tunsay Boat
Dock in Kep town next to the Long Villa Restaurant. Boats are almost
always available. A round-trip trip to/from the island runs $20 for
the whole boat, so bring some friends to split the cost. The
round-trip price is the same whether you stay a few hours or a few
days. Tour operators in Kep offer day packages starting at about
River boat trips out of Kampot on the picturesque Kampong Bay River
are becoming more popular. The tour companies and many of the
guesthouses (Little Garden Bar) are offer several different sorts of
boat trips including short sunset trips upriver to the Tekchhou
Rapids; longer cultural/wildlife/eco trips upriver, often combined
with trekking in the National Park; downriver trips to the ocean to
explore the beaches and sand spits near the river’s mouth; do a bit
of ocean swimming; photograph the fishing boats at work or go ocean
fishing. A couple of the tour operators including those listed can
supply fishing gear. Boat trips are relatively reasonably priced and
the tour operators are generally amenable to customizing the trip to
Offering a fairly easy hiking experience, a trail/service road
snakes through national forest land around Kep Mountain - the small
mountain near the tip of the peninsula between Road 33a and the Kep
town area. The gently sloping trail winds past a couple of old
pagodas, though light jungles where you may spy monkeys or other
wildlife, and provides many picturesque overlooks along the way.
Kampot and the Elephant Mountains can be seen in the distance from
the northwest viewpoint, and the trail on the other side of the
mountain provides some striking views across the valley to a pagoda
on the next mountain and the beaches in the distance. The trail is
actually a small, dirt service road that rings the mountain in an
8km loop, part of the road in pretty good condition, some narrow and
overgrown. Suitable to hike of for a mountain bike or dirt bike. The
trail is most easily and conveniently accessed from the road next to
Le Bout du Monde and Veranda Guesthouse. The hiking is fairly easy,
but wear stout shoes and take water and mosquito repellent.