Cambodia days 24-26: spooky Bokor Mountain + riverside chilling in Kampot + feeling like a regular

As time goes on, I’ve fallen even more in love with this town and find myself continuing to extend my stay in Kampot. The last 3 days have been a mix of continuing to explore key sites on my moto, basking in the riverside scenery, and encountering familiar faces around town that has made me feel at home.

Day 24: Bokor Mountain

After my first 4 days in Kampot, I was excited for this next activity: Bokor Mountain. This was a much-anticipated day as it would be my longest driving day on my scooter yet (~4 hours). Bokor Mountain is a key attraction in Kampot – sitting 1,100 meters high, people go up there for the cool weather, historical sites, and magnificent views overlooking the whole province. I was excited to have a change of scenery from the countryside to mountains.

Driving up Bokor Mountain was very comfortable by scooter. The roads were well-paved, and the windy roads took me through the beautiful mountain. As I got higher, the clouds rolled in and the climate cooled down quite a bit, which was a nice break from the heat.

The top of the mountain was gorgeous and I got a lovely view below. I got lucky with the weather as often times, the clouds block the views.

Also at the top were a number of attractions, ranging from old ruins to new construction. As I explored each attraction, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a spooky ghost town. It was eerie, confusing, and an interesting exercise putting the pieces of the puzzle together of Cambodia’s past.

This was the Black Palace, former home to King Sihanouk and now full of graffiti.

Some ruins had European colonial influences from when the French colonized Cambodia in the 20th century. This was an old catholic church left to ruin…not gonna lie, it gave me horror movie vibes.

In addition to the ruins, there were some Buddhist temples that were well-maintained and looked traditional Khmer-influence.

There were also several active hotels/casinos on the mountain (random right?), as well as a LOT of new construction…the mountain was both a glimpse into the past and the future. It felt like Cambodia was trying to create more tourism opportunities on the mountain. Despite some hotels being active, the buildings themselves seemed weathered and empty…were these run by ghosts?!

Pork buns and sticky rice & plantains in a banana leaf for lunch.

After lunch, I headed to Popokvil Waterfall, one of the main waterfalls on the mountain. After hours of trying to understand all the different buildings, it was nice to have a simple, beautiful waterfall to marvel at.

After a full day of driving, I was pooped! I rested at my hostel and then went out for pizza with a girl I met back in Battambang who I reunited with at Kampot. It was a nice end to a full day of activity and exploring.

Day 25: planning day + sunset by the river

After a full day yesterday, I spent the next day resting up in town. I spent most of the day on my laptop planning my next country…I’m leaving Cambodia at the end of the week, which meant the whole process of flights/visas/COVID requirements all over again!

I did get out in the afternoon and chilled at Yellow Sun Hostel. I mention in my last post that I have been checking out different accommodations in Kampot and hanging out in their common spaces, especially the ones by the riverside. I loved the views and chill vibe at Yellow Sun, although it was pretty empty – they even had a water slide.

Day 26: kitty cuddles + spa day + riverside chilling

I originally planned to go on a day trip the next day, but I woke up and wanted another rest day especially since I felt a little strung out with all my trip planning. It’s interesting to observe my shift in travel style – in my past vacations, I needed to do something every second of the day. Now if I do one activity, I need 1-2 days to recover. 😛

First, I started off my day with breakfast at Kampot Pie & Ice Cream (they have great breakfast despite the name). I’ve been waking up pretty early on this trip (~6am), so I usually need to venture to town for coffee as the hostel kitchen isn’t open yet. I came here almost every day in Kampot – the staff remembered my order after just one visit, and they treated me like a regular from day 1. I loved the welcoming atmosphere here which kept me coming back. 🙂

Then I chilled back at my hostel in the morning, and this cutie came into my room! He was so sweet and in desperate need of affection, so I spent some time cuddling with him while reading my book.

Then I headed to town for lunch at Epic Arts Cafe (I’ve gone here for lunch almost every day – I love how quickly I was treated like a regular too). In the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to a “spa day.” I got a pedicure and a massage which was the perfect way to recharge.

In the evening, I headed to another riverside accommodation called Green Mango Bungalows. It was more challenging to get there compared to the other accommodations so far, but my reward was a secluded guesthouse with gorgeous views of the river. I ordered dinner and watched the sunset on the dock.

Until next time, my friends!

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