Kampot Cambodia

23rd April 2024

Kampot Travel Guide: History, Facts, How To Reach, Best Time To Visit (2023)

Are you planning a trip to Kampot? Looking for the ultimate travel guide to this captivating destination? Well, you’re in for a treat because we’ve got you covered!

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve curated an exhilarating Kampot travel guide that will take you on an unforgettable journey through this hidden gem of Cambodia.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Kampot offers a delightful blend of awe-inspiring landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and mouthwatering culinary delights.

Join us as we delve into the vibrant streets, meander along the scenic riverfront, and uncover the best-kept secrets of Kampot. Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other and make memories that will last a lifetime!

So, let’s dive right in and explore the wonders of Kampot together in this exciting travel blog post.

Why Visit Kampot?

Firstly, Kampot’s breathtaking natural beauty will leave you in awe. Picture yourself cruising along the tranquil Kampot River, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning limestone karsts. Immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of Bokor National Park, where mist-covered mountains and cascading waterfalls create a paradise for nature lovers.

Secondly, Kampot offers a rich cultural experience that will intrigue and inspire you. Explore the colonial architecture that harks back to the town’s French influence, or delve into its fascinating history at the Old Market and Durian Roundabout.

Indulge your taste buds with the famous Kampot pepper, renowned for its exquisite flavor, or take a leisurely stroll through the vibrant streets, discovering hidden gems at every turn.

History of Kampot

The history of Kampot is as intriguing and diverse as the town itself. Steeped in a rich past, Kampot carries the echoes of various influences that have shaped its unique character.

Dating back to the 1st century AD, Kampot was an important trading port during the Chenla Kingdom. Its strategic location along the river made it a hub for maritime commerce, attracting merchants from far and wide. Over the centuries, Kampot came under the rule of different kingdoms, including the Khmer Empire and the French colonial era.

During the French Indochina period, Kampot thrived as a center for trade and agriculture, particularly renowned for its pepper plantations. The town’s French architecture and quaint charm still bear witness to this colonial legacy.

In more recent years, Kampot has emerged as a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors with its natural beauty, historical sites, and vibrant cultural scene.

Facts about Kampot

  • Kampot Travel Guide unveils the hidden treasures of a charming Cambodian town.
  • It offers a comprehensive itinerary with top attractions, activities, and must-visit spots.
  • The guide provides insights into Kampot’s rich history, from its trading port origins to its colonial past.
  • It showcases the breathtaking natural beauty of Kampot, including the Kampot River and Bokor National Park.
  • Kampot Travel Guide also highlights the local culture, culinary delights, and pepper plantations that make the town unique.

Things to Do In & Around Kampot

1. Explore the Colonial Architecture

Explore the Colonial Architecture

Immerse yourself in the allure of Kampot’s colonial architecture, a testament to its rich history and French colonial influence. Stroll through the town’s streets, where elegant buildings evoke a bygone era.

Marvel at the well-preserved facades adorned with ornate balconies and charming shutters. Don’t miss the chance to visit landmarks such as the Old Governor’s Mansion and the Kampot Provincial Hall, which exude timeless elegance.

  • Location: Throughout Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Accessible at all times.

2. Cruise Along the Kampot River

Cruise Along the Kampot River

Embark on a scenic river journey that will take you through the heart of Kampot’s natural beauty. Hop on a boat and meander along the serene Kampot River, flanked by lush greenery and towering limestone karsts.

Experience the tranquility as you glide through the calm waters, witnessing the picturesque landscapes unfold before your eyes. Be sure to capture the mesmerizing sunset views that cast a golden hue over the river, creating a magical ambiance.

  • Location: Kampot River, accessible from various points in Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Available throughout the day, with sunset cruises being a popular option.

3. Visit Bokor National Park

Visit Bokor National Park

Escape into the embrace of nature at Bokor National Park, a captivating destination that promises awe-inspiring vistas and exhilarating adventures. Ascend the mist-shrouded mountains to reach the park’s summit, where panoramic views of Kampot and the Gulf of Thailand await.

Explore the dense rainforests, home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and discover hidden waterfalls that cascade into crystal-clear pools. Don’t forget to explore the abandoned French colonial buildings, adding an air of mystery to the park’s charm.

  • Location: Approximately 37 kilometers northwest of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

4. Discover the Charm of Old Market

Discover the Charm of Old Market

Step into the vibrant atmosphere of Kampot’s Old Market, where local culture comes alive through bustling stalls and aromatic flavors. Lose yourself in a maze of colorful displays, offering an array of fresh produce, spices, and local handicrafts.

Engage with friendly vendors, savor local delicacies, and soak in the lively ambiance of this bustling market. Take the opportunity to sample the famous Kampot pepper, known for its exceptional quality and unique taste.

  • Location: Located in the center of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from early morning until late afternoon.

5. Indulge in Kampot Pepper Tasting

Indulge in Kampot Pepper Tasting
Organic kampot white red and black pepper corns in natural rustic style wood display in cambodia

A visit to Kampot is incomplete without experiencing the distinctive flavors of Kampot pepper. Embark on a flavorful journey as you explore pepper plantations and witness the cultivation process firsthand.

Engage with local farmers and learn about the traditional methods used to produce this renowned spice. Treat your taste buds to a pepper-tasting session, where you can savor the nuances of different pepper varieties, from mild to extra bold.

  • Location: Various pepper plantations around Kampot.
  • Opening Hours: Timings may vary, it is recommended to check with individual plantations for visiting hours.

6. Take a Sunset Boat Tour

Take a Sunset Boat Tour

Embark on a memorable adventure as you set sail on a captivating sunset boat tour along the Kampot River. Witness the sky ablaze with hues of orange and pink as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a magical glow over the water.

Marvel at the reflection of the surrounding landscapes in the tranquil river, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey. Sit back, relax, and let the gentle breeze caress your face as you soak in the serene ambiance and create cherished memories.

  • Location: Various tour operators offer sunset boat tours from Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Typically, tours are scheduled in the late afternoon and last for a couple of hours.

7. Explore the Caves of Phnom Chhngok

Explore the Caves of Phnom Chhngok

Unveil the secrets hidden within the mystical caves of Phnom Chhngok, an intriguing destination near Kampot. Venture into the dark chambers adorned with stunning stalactite formations, which have formed over thousands of years.

Discover ancient rock carvings and inscriptions, providing a glimpse into the historical significance of this sacred site. As you explore deeper into the caves, you’ll feel a sense of awe and wonder, immersed in an underground world that holds both mystery and beauty.

  • Location: Phnom Chhngok caves are located approximately 8 kilometers northeast of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Open daily, with daylight hours being the best time for exploration.

8. Relax at Kep Beach

Relax at Kep Beach
Kep city Cambodia

Escape to the nearby coastal town of Kep, where you can unwind and bask in the sun-drenched shores of Kep Beach. Sink your toes into the soft sand as you enjoy the gentle ocean breeze.

Take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, or simply lounge under the shade of swaying palm trees. Indulge in freshly caught seafood from the nearby crab market and savor the flavors of the sea. Kep Beach offers a tranquil retreat, allowing you to rejuvenate amidst a scenic coastal backdrop.

  • Location: Kep Beach is located approximately 25 kilometers southwest of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Accessible at all times, but it is recommended to visit during daylight hours for a relaxing beach experience.

9. Discover the Secret Lake of Kampong Trach

Discover the Secret Lake of Kampong Trach

Uncover the hidden gem of Kampong Trach, a mystical lake nestled amidst a limestone cave network. Embark on a boat ride that will take you through a labyrinth of caves, revealing stunning stalactites and stalagmites along the way.

As you emerge into the open, you’ll be greeted by the breathtaking sight of the Secret Lake. The emerald-green waters, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation, create a surreal and enchanting landscape. Take a moment to soak in the serenity of this hidden oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

  • Location: Kampong Trach is located approximately 35 kilometers southeast of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: The lake is accessible during daylight hours, and it is recommended to arrange a guided tour for exploration.

10. Embark on a River Kayaking Adventure

Embark on a River Kayaking Adventure

For an adrenaline-filled experience, embark on a thrilling river kayaking adventure along the Kampot River. Paddle through gentle currents, navigating your way through the mesmerizing scenery of Kampot’s countryside.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you spot wildlife, observe traditional riverside villages, and discover hidden corners inaccessible by other means. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, this adventure promises excitement and a unique perspective of Kampot’s natural wonders.

  • Location: Various kayak rental operators and tour companies offer river kayaking experiences in Kampot.
  • Opening Hours: Tours and rentals are typically available during daylight hours, with durations varying based on the chosen package.

11. Visit the Salt Fields of Kampot

Visit the Salt Fields of Kampot

Delve into the local industry and witness the salt-making process by visiting the salt fields of Kampot. Gain insights into the traditional methods used to extract salt from the briny waters.

Observe the intricate network of salt pans and the skilled workers harvesting the crystallized salt. Learn about the importance of this industry to the region and its significance in the local economy.

A visit to the salt fields provides a unique opportunity to appreciate the dedication and hard work involved in producing this essential commodity.

  • Location: The salt fields are situated in the outskirts of Kampot town.
  • Opening Hours: Accessible at all times, but it is recommended to visit during daylight hours for a better understanding of the salt-making process.

12. Enjoy a Riverside Dining Experience

Enjoy a Riverside Dining Experience

Savor the culinary delights of Kampot while enjoying a memorable riverside dining experience. Choose from a variety of charming restaurants and cafes situated along the Kampot River, offering stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere.

Indulge in a delectable meal featuring fresh seafood, traditional Khmer dishes, and international cuisines. As you relish your meal, watch the boats glide by and soak in the enchanting ambiance created by the gentle flow of the river.

A riverside dining experience in Kampot is a feast for the senses, combining delicious flavors with scenic beauty.

  • Location: Various riverside restaurants can be found in Kampot town, particularly along the riverfront area.
  • Opening Hours: Opening hours may vary depending on the establishment, but many are open for lunch and dinner service.

How to Reach Kampot

  • By Air – The nearest international airport is Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH). From the airport, you can take a domestic flight to Sihanoukville International Airport (KOS). From Sihanoukville, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Kampot, which is approximately a 2 to 3-hour drive.
  • By Road – If you are already in Cambodia, you can reach Kampot by road from various cities. From Phnom Penh, you can take a direct bus or hire a taxi, which takes approximately 3 to 4 hours. From Sihanoukville, you can also take a bus or taxi, with a travel time of about 2 to 3 hours. Additionally, Kampot is well-connected by bus from other major cities in Cambodia, such as Siem Reap and Battambang.

Best Time to Visit Kampot

The best time to visit Kampot is during the dry season, which spans from November to March. During these months, the weather is pleasant with lower humidity levels and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration.

The temperature ranges from around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), providing comfortable conditions for sightseeing and enjoying the attractions of Kampot.

It’s important to note that Kampot can still be visited during the wet season (May to October), but expect occasional rainfall and higher humidity levels. The lush greenery and fewer crowds during this time can offer a unique experience for travelers seeking a quieter and more budget-friendly visit.

Where to Stay at Kampot

1. The Columns: Nestled in the heart of Kampot, The Columns is a boutique hotel offering a blend of colonial elegance and modern comforts. With its beautifully restored architecture, stylish rooms, and serene courtyard, it exudes a tranquil ambiance. The hotel features a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy panoramic views of the town and river, while the on-site restaurant serves delectable Khmer and international cuisine.

2. Rikitikitavi: Situated along the riverfront, Rikitikitavi is a charming guesthouse that provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The rooms are tastefully decorated, and some offer stunning river views. You can relax on the rooftop terrace, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or indulge in a delicious meal at the in-house restaurant known for its mouthwatering seafood dishes.

3. The Greenhouse: Offering a unique eco-friendly experience, The Greenhouse is a delightful retreat surrounded by lush gardens and a tranquil atmosphere. The hotel features spacious bungalows made from sustainable materials, providing a comfortable and eco-conscious stay. Relax in the peaceful setting, enjoy the on-site restaurant serving organic cuisine, and explore the nearby countryside on bicycles available for rent.

Things to Know Before Visiting Kampot

  • Weather can be hot and humid, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing.
  • Mosquitoes can be prevalent, so bring insect repellent and use mosquito nets if available.
  • Kampot is known for its delicious seafood, so be sure to try the local culinary delights.
  • Renting a bicycle or motorbike is a popular way to explore the town and its surrounding areas.
  • The town is relatively small and can be easily navigated on foot.
  • Tuk-tuks are readily available for convenient transportation within Kampot.
  • Don’t miss the chance to taste the renowned Kampot pepper and visit the pepper plantations.

Things to avoid at Kampot

  • Avoid drinking tap water; stick to bottled water to stay hydrated and prevent potential illnesses.
  • Be cautious of street food hygiene; choose eateries with good sanitation practices.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure; use sunscreen, wear a hat, and seek shade during the hottest hours.
  • Steer clear of drugs; Cambodia has strict drug laws that can lead to severe penalties.
  • Avoid disrespectful behavior at religious sites; dress modestly and follow cultural norms.
  • Be cautious of scams or overly persistent touts; use reputable tour operators and be aware of your belongings.
  • Avoid swimming in unfamiliar areas of the river; seek advice on safe swimming spots to avoid strong currents or hazards.

Conclusion – Kampot Travel Guide

In conclusion, Kampot is a destination that seamlessly blends history, nature, and culinary delights. From exploring its colonial architecture and cruising along the serene Kampot River to immersing in the charm of the Old Market and savoring the world-renowned Kampot pepper, this Kampot travel guide has unveiled the captivating essence of this Cambodian gem.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a food lover, Kampot offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted and craving for more. So pack your bags, embrace the local vibes, and let Kampot weave its magic on you.

FAQs – Kampot Travel Guide

What are the top attractions to visit in Kampot?

Kampot offers a plethora of attractions, including colonial architecture, scenic river cruises, Bokor National Park, the charming Old Market, and the famous pepper plantations.

When is the best time to visit Kampot?

The best time to visit Kampot is during the dry season (November to March) when the weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy outdoor activities comfortably.

How do I get to Kampot?

You can reach Kampot by air, landing at Phnom Penh International Airport, and then taking a domestic flight or traveling by road to Kampot. Buses and taxis are readily available for transportation.

What are some recommended hotels in Kampot?

The Columns, Rikitikitavi, and The Greenhouse are highly recommended accommodations in Kampot, offering unique experiences, comfortable stays, and convenient locations.

Are there any local specialties or food to try in Kampot?

Yes! Don’t miss the chance to indulge in delicious seafood, sample the world-renowned Kampot pepper, and explore the vibrant local culinary scene.

Are there any precautions to take while visiting Kampot?

Remember to drink bottled water, be cautious of street food hygiene, use sunscreen for sun protection, and avoid swimming in unfamiliar areas of the river.

What are some activities for adventure enthusiasts in Kampot?

Adventure seekers can enjoy activities like river kayaking, exploring caves like Phnom Chhngok, and embark on hiking or biking adventures around Kampot’s scenic countryside.
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