Kampot | Cambodia’s Hidden Gem

After having our bones shaken by the worst road we’d been on in Cambodia, we arrived at the Durian Fruit Roundabout in the centre of Kampot. Our hostel was only a 10 minute walk away so we strapped our bags on and set off. When we made it to our hostel, we were greeted by a family who had a row of beds set up in the lobby where they slept every night. Our room itself was pleasant enough once we’d sprayed bug spray everywhere and rearranged the furniture so we were in reach of the fan.

Kampot

As it was already 9PM once we’d unpacked so we thought we’d try and get some food, which was easier said than done. The few restaurants we saw on the roads were closed and as we arrived at the night market we found them to be packing up as well. Thankfully one stall still had some food left so we managed to get a quick dinner of fried rice before it closed. Leaving the market very confused as to what time the night market was actually open from and until we headed back to our hostel, grabbing some snacks along the way before a night of the discovery channel and doughnuts.

The second day was on for exploring the town, we set off towards the durian roundabout again and found the night market to be open? The rest of the day was spent aimlessly wandering around shops and stands to look at handcrafted tut as well as famous Kampot Pepper which was being sold everywhere. That night was spent in ‘Ecstatic Pizza’, a restaurant offering pizzas where you can choose how ‘happy’ you’d like it. We couldn’t resist the temptation to get another doughnut on the way home, however, the stall was closed by the time we’d got there. Jess wasn’t happy with this so knocked on the window of the house behind where she saw the owner and requested him to sell us what he had left, amazingly he agreed.

Knowing that we had some time left in Cambodia we spent our second full day in Kampot in cafes and relaxing before meeting up with Michel, a Dutch English teacher we’d met in Phnom Penh. We spent the evening in a riverfront bar eating barbecued tuna with Kampot Peppercorn sauce. Thankfully we found a flier advertising a folk band at a bar around the corner so we set off there for an evenning beer.

As we had exhausted the town itself we rented a moped and drove to the cave temples which were the other side of Kep, a beach town around 60km away. The caves were stunning with multiple shrines in various cracks and corners. There were children who offer you tours of the caves for a donation however Jess had been before and knew that the “tour” was only a short walk looking at the shrines. On the drive back to Kampot we thought to stop at another cave which was hidden away and slightly off the tourist trail. We were offered a guide when we arrived who spoke no English so we declined as we didn’t think it would be necessary. As we started up the second set of stairs (between the temple and the cave above) we figured we were not alone, there were monkeys everywhere. Sam kept walking up towards the cave entrance as Jess stopped to look around. At this point, a 3ft monkey dropped out of a tree and started running towards Jess with a further 4 huge monkeys joining him. All Sam thought to do was shout run and keep going up the stairs away from the monkeys. Once Jess had freed herself she went down and begrudgingly asked the tour guide for help as the monkeys had now turned their attention to Sam who (was now hiding in the cave mouth). Eventually, the guide turned up with a slingshot to clear the monkeys out the way. Attempting to communicate through body language and a lot of grunting, he told us that the monkey’s cause havoc here and are not used to humans so only way through them was to use a slingshot, an insignificant detail we wished he’d told us beforehand!

Seeing as we still had the bike the next day we thought we’d go up Bokor mountain. Sam being cheap wanted to avoid the toll road and decided that we’d go on a different route, this didn’t work very well as within a few miles we’d driven up a dirt track and found the next stage to be entirely sand and uphill.

Kampot, Bokor

Rather than continue on we turned around and headed to Arcadia, a hostel with a waterpark everyone told us to go too. When we got there we were disappointed with the atmosphere so headed back to Kampot for an evening of beers and curry.

Our last full day in Kampot was spent getting Jess back comfortable riding a moped again knowing our plans for Vietnam involved a drive from South to North in a couple of months time. After a couple of hours, it seemed like she was more confident so we gave the bike back and packed our bags. The last night in Kampot we found the boats lining the riverbanks lit up at night and became bars so we enjoyed some drinks before saying goodbye to Kampot.

Phnom Penh… Again

After yet another bumpy drive back to Phnom Penh, we checked in to a really nice hostel with a pool that was near to Mad Monkey. It was a fair distance out of the central area of town but more than made up for it. We couldn’t resist going back to the flour noodle restaurant we went to the week before and on the walk Sam had his camera stolen by a passing motorbike! We spent the next day trying to book our bus to 4000 Islands, our next destination and the first in Laos. The rest of our time in Phnom Penh passed by sitting by the pool and trying to find an open laundrette as it was almost Chinese New Year and all the workers had gone home for the holiday. 

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One Reply to “Kampot | Cambodia’s Hidden Gem”

  1. Hi Sam and Jess, those monkeys are so naughty, I would have been scared stiff too. What an adventure you are having, all the curries, doughnuts and beers. Not long now till Mum and Dad come out to join you. Love hearing all your doings well done. face time doesn’t really work with us for some reason. We are busy, GD finishing his Memoirs and taking the lot to the printers tomorrow. We have done a few dinner parties and have quite a social life going on here. Have booked another Greek sailing holiday with Paul and Jane , plus a few days at a lovely hotel In the Lake District. Just going to cook a roast for dinner. Meant to have rain and wind here for the rest of the week. Take care of each other and can’t wait to have you back home again. Love Nana and GDXXX

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