Hello hello! After my time on the islands, I headed to Kampot, a lively riverside town in the south of Cambodia. Kampot is a major hot spot for backpackers right now, and people I met all over Cambodia have been buzzing about Kampot. I’m loving it here as this has been my favorite spot in Cambodia so far due to its natural scenery, variety of activities, and also the freedom I’ve gained from the motorbike.
Day 20: Travel day + exploring Kampot
I arrived to Kampot in the morning via a private taxi from Sihanoukville (2 hours). After checking into my hostel, I headed out to explore downtown Kampot. I was immediately impressed by the lively atmosphere – compared to other cities in Cambodia that were still recovering from the pandemic, Kampot had tons of restaurants/cafes/shops open and thriving. Buildings had a quaint colonial feel, and the dining options were vast including traditional Khmer spots and artsy western spots.
The town itself is right along a beautiful river, which is a major attraction. There are even hotels where you can stay in bungalows along the river.
I stayed at Karma Traders Kampot, which was THE backpacker spot in town. I even reunited with people I met in different parts of Cambodia, so it was nice to have some familiar faces around. 🙂
Day 21: Pepper farm + secret lake + countryside by motorbike
The first thing the next morning, I rented a motorbike for my entire stay, as I heard that’s the best way to get around Kampot. I was putting off riding a motorbike this whole trip because I hadn’t ridden one in 2+ years, but I’m SO glad I faced my fears. Regaining confidence on the motorbike gave me a sense of freedom and was a huge reason I loved Kampot so much.
Then I headed out to see one of Kampot’s attractions, visiting a pepper farm (pepper is one of Cambodia’s key exports). The pepper farm was ~1 hour from my hostel, and it took me through backcountry roads. I loved seeing the countryside by motorbike while navigating the bumpy dirt roads.
Then I arrived at the farm, La Plantation. The farm itself was super nice and inviting. In addition to being an active pepper farm, they definitely invested on the agro-tourism aspect – it was a pleasant place to hang out with picnic tables and food/drinks.
I bought some pepper ice cream to pass the time before the next tour. It was interesting and very peppery!
Then I went on a tour of the farm (which was free). We learned about the wide variety of peppers the farm produced. I even tried one off the tree – it was SO spicy!
After the tour, we had a pepper tasting. I thought they would serve it on a cracker or something, but we just ate the raw cracked pepper…it was actually not bad on its own, and I got used to it after a few samples. Definitely one of the more interesting tastings I’ve done in my life!
After a lovely morning at the farm, I headed back on my scooter. Along the way, I stopped by the “secret lake.” I’m actually not sure why it’s called the secret lake because it was pretty noticeable off the road, but nevertheless I enjoyed walking around and relaxing in the rest area. There were even some vendors selling food.
After my adventure, I rested up at the hostel. Then in the evening, a friend I met on the islands, Marlene, invited me out to a jam session at a restaurant in town. I haven’t done a lot of night-events on this trip (I just haven’t sought it out), but I’m glad Marlene pulled me out for this. The jam session was run by a bunch of expats living in Kampot (there are a lot of them in town), and I enjoyed listening along and meeting some new people as well.
Day 22: Salt fields + Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple + sunset by the river
Yesterday was pepper day, so today was for salt! Kampot has a bunch of salt fields, and unlike the pepper farm where there was a formal tour, there wasn’t really a central spot to visit the salt fields. So I just drove my motorbike and picked a random farm to explore. Luckily the workers were nice and didn’t mind me exploring (read: trespassing). I never saw a salt field before this, so it was really a really cool sight!
After the salt fields, I headed onto Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple. It was a little out of the way, but it was really just an excuse to drive through more of the countryside. 🙂 The cave itself was pretty cool. There was a small hike to the top of a mountain, and then I descended into the cave where there was a spot to worship.
After my morning of exploring, I laid low in the afternoon to beat the heat. Later on, I headed to a guesthouse on the riverside called Meraki, where I ordered some food and watched the sunset. It was so peaceful; I was glad to get some time on the riverside and also see another accommodation in town. I’m learning from my travels that a simple but fun activity is to hop around different hostels/guesthouses and enjoy the different vibes.
Day 23: rest day + afternoon by the river
After two full days on the motorbike, I wanted nothing more than to relax the next day. I did some trip-planning on my laptop in the morning, and in the afternoon, I headed to another riverside guesthouse called Greenhouse. I heard about this spot from another blog and decided to check it out myself. When I arrived, I found out they didn’t have guests and were still working on opening their rooms, but luckily they were putting on a party for the community that evening, so they welcomed me to hang out on the property while they set up (yes, I was “that” person who arrived to a party 2 hours early). 😉 I read my book on a hammock and enjoyed the peaceful riverside views.
When the party got started, the place livened up with people coming in for food, drinks, and the DJ. I met a nice Israeli group and we hung out on the dock during sunset. This was my favorite sunset in Kampot so far…Greenhouse had the most inviting river views yet.
I hope you have a wonderful week!!!