Exploring Kampot Where to Stay How to get to Kampot
If you’re visiting Kampot soon, you’ve come to the right place. After reading this guide, you’ll know which area to stay in, where to find the best restaurants and how to get around this chilled riverside town in Cambodia.
What to expect in Kampot
Kampot may not be a destination in Cambodia that immediately springs to mind. You’ve probably heard of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, but Kampot has many claims to fame that are worth discovering.
The now laid back riverside town was once the capital of Cambodia under French rule. It now couldn’t be any further from what we imagine capital cities to be like, but the French architecture and influence still remains. An easy way to spend a few hours in Kampot is simply wandering through the streets admiring the contrast in architecture and style.
Though, what really put Kampot on the map was it’s pepper. You know, like salt and pepper. The organically grown Kampot pepper is considered to be some of the finest pepper in the world, boasting a superior flavour and aroma to others. It’s so good in fact that it’s one of only 20 products outside the European Union to have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
Visiting the pepper farms where this world renowned product is grown is one of the top things to do in Kampot.
Is Kampot worth visiting?
Putting all of the interesting and fun things that you can do in Kampot aside for one moment, the vibe alone is worth visiting for. It boasts a quiter and more welcoming atmosphere than other cities and towns in Cambodia, making it a nice place to relax for a few days. Spend your days by the river, soaking up the nature that surrounds the town.
But let’s not completely forget about the fun activities that you can do in Kampot, like visiting a pepper farm, exploring caves and kayaking down Praek Tuek Chhu River.
And despite the more chilled vibe, there are still plenty of fun bars that cater for the constantly growing tourism scene. There’s even an Irish bar!
How many days should you spend in Kampot?
After visiting busy cities in Cambodia, like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Kampot can feel like a breath of fresh air. There’s less traffic, far fewer car horns and a noticeably more peaceful atmosphere. And that’s why many visitors end up spending a couple more days in Kampot than they originally planned.
Depending on how much time you have in Cambodia, two to four days is a good amount of days to spend in Kampot. It gives you enough time to visit a pepper farm, explore the nearby caves and make the most of Praek Tuek Chhu River.
To help you make the most of your time in Kampot, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Kampot and Kep, a nearby town.
Where to stay in Kampot
Kampot is a reasonably small town, but the size doesn’t reflect the number of accommodation options there are, nor is it an indication of how much there is to do.
The city has more than enough to satisfy even the pickiest of traveller, including when it comes to picking which area to stay in. There’s something for everyone.
Location #1: Town centre — home to French architecture and plenty of places to eat
Best for: being at the centre of it all. This is where you’ll find a lot of the best western and Khmer restaurants, bars, pubs and general nightlife. The streets are also dotted with remnants of the French colonial period.
Who is it for: those that enjoy convenience and being close to everything they need.
Don’t miss: a visit to Epic Art’s Cafe. See below.
Biggest downside: it isn’t as relaxing as Thvi, the area just across the river.
Accommodation in Kampot
Situated directly over the Entanou Bridge on the eastern side of the river, it has the highest density of accommodation anywhere in the town. Most places to stay can be found along the river itself towards the south, where it splits into two, or further inland to the east near the famous Durian Roundabout.
Private rooms start at around $10 per night. Try to find accommodation on the riverfront. The views are pretty spectacular when the sun begins to set.
Location #2: Thvi — similar to the city centre but with less noise
Best for: Thvi is on the opposite side of the Entanou Bridge and has everything that the town centre has, just on a slightly smaller scale and with less noise.
Who is it for: those looking for a more relaxing than being in the town centre.
Don’t miss: the riverside cocktail bars that boast a relaxing vibe and great views.
Biggest downside: accommodation can be slightly more expensive than in the town centre, but that’s not to say that you won’t be able to find some great deals here still.
Accommodation in Thvi
There is slightly less accommodation to choose from here compared to the town centre, but you can still find some great gems.
Private rooms start from $20 per night in Thvi.
Location #3: North of Kampot — rural and quiet, surrounded by nature
Best for: immersing yourself in nature. The further from the town centre you get, the more rural it becomes. Whilst it’s not in the middle of nowhere, there’s certainly more nature.
Who is it for: those that prefer the sound of birds chirping than car horns. It’s a lot more peaceful and quieter here.
Don’t miss: some of the awesome villas and resorts that can be found here. Check them out if your budget allows for it.
Biggest downside: staying here means that you’re further from restaurants and bars that are mainly found in the city centre. If you’re not up for the 20-minute tuk-tuk ride each way, then you’ll probably end up eating at your accommodation for most meals. So make sure they cook good food!
Accommodation in the north of Kampot
Scattered about on both the east and west side of the river, you’ll find that there are much fewer accommodations to choose from in the north of Kampot. Here you’ll find a few upmarket villas and resorts for those able to splash the cash a little, as well as a small collection of guesthouses.
Private rooms start from around $12 per night.
Best places to eat in Kampot
Kampot has plenty of delicious food spots to keep you satisfied and full during your stay there. In fact, there are so many good places, you might be struggling to fit them all in. To make sure you visit some of the best, here are our three favourite restaurants in Kampot:
Arvi — Kampot’s only fine-dining restaurant
Situated inside Amber Kampot Resort, you’ll find Kampot’s only fine-dining restaurant, Arvi. Headed up by Executive Chef Dimanche, Arvi provides a plethora of Khmer and fusion cuisine, all cooked using fresh and local produce.
Overlooking the river, you can’t ask for much more than incredible views and some of the best food you will have eaten in a while.
Simons Tandoor Indian Restaurant — the best Indian food in Cambodia?
Potentially not the recommendation you were expecting in Cambodia, but you can’t turn down exceptional food when it’s there. Some claim that Simons Tandoor is better than some of the food they ate in India. You’ll have to see for yourself.
The menu is extensive, staff are incredibly friendly and portion sizes are generous. With so many options, it’s hard to pick, but you can’t go wrong with the Thali vegetable platter or lamb madras.
Epic Art’s Cafe — good food with a good cause
Visiting Epic Art’s Cafe is more than somewhere to get your caffeine boost for the day. It’s a place that you can support in making a difference to people’s lives. Epic Art’s Cafe is also a social enterprise that provides jobs for people with disabilities.
As if that’s not enough, you’ll also find an onsite art gallery that often runs art classes. And don’t worry, as well as doing good, they serve a delicious selection of bagels, paninis, sandwiches, breakfast favourites and Cambodian dishes.
How to get around in Kampot
Kampot is a very walkable town, especially if you’re staying in the town centre or Thvi. Here almost everything should be within walking distance. Walking is also a great way to discover things you might miss from a car and you can burn off all of the delicious Cambodian cuisine that you’re eating.
Walking from Thvi to the town centre can take around 20 minutes depending on your start and end point. If this sounds a bit long to you, why not cut down the time and throw some adventure into the mix by hiring a bicycle?
You can rent bicycles from a lot of accommodations or bike rental shops in town. Bicycles cost around $2-5 per day. You can also use your bike to escape the town and explore the countryside around Kampot.
If you want to take your bicycle adventures further, this bicycle tour will take you all through Kampot’s countryside to places where most tourists don’t go!
If you want freedom and the ability to explore where you want, when you want, then consider renting a moped. Tourists can rent mopeds up to 125cc without a specific motorbike license.
There will be plenty of shops around Kampot to rent a bike from. Mopeds cost between $4-5 per day.
And if the two options above still feel like too much effort, or you have luggage to transport, then hop in a tuk-tuk — motorised three-wheel rickshaws that you’ll find everywhere. They’ll be almost every colour of the rainbow, and are a cheap way to get around Kampot.
A ride within Kampot should cost between $1-4. You can also hire a tuk-tuk for the day to see pepper plantations, rice fields and other gems that Kampot’s countryside has to offer. The price will depend on your haggling skills, b ut expect to pay between $15-25.
How to get to Kampot
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Kep||20 minutes-3 hours||from $3||Kep to Kampot|
|Siem Reap||3-9hrs 15m excl. transfers||from $15||Siem Reap to Kampot|
|Sihanoukville||2-3 hours||from $7||Sihanoukville to Kampot|
|Phnom Penh||2.5-4hrs 40m||from $7||Phnom Penh to Kampot|
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Kampot. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of what to do in Kampot and Kep. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in Kampot.
Our favourite places to stay in Kampot
Daom Djah Spirit
Located along a river outside of town, with palm trees all around, you ﬁnd Daom Djah Spirit. The excellent food and beautiful yet simple bungalows feel like a true nature retreat! It's a 15min ride to town, so rent a bike before you come here or ask the friendly staff to book a TukTuk for you.
Double Room with Shared Bathroom $13
The Magic Sponge
Featuring a mini golf course, pool tables, and a pub with live entertainment, you deﬁnitely won’t get bored at The Magic Sponge. Located along Guesthouse Street, the city center and river are within walking distance. Owner William and his staff are very warm and welcoming.
Double Room from $18
Arcadia is heaven for backpackers. This hostel boasts an amazing waterpark featuring a waterslide and many other attributes that will guarantee a great day of fun. If you are not staying here, I still recommend to visit this place for an afternoon. Non-guests can access this waterpark for a small payment too. Once you got your wristband, get ready to launch your mates 10 meter high in the sky on the big blob!
Double Room from $18 and dorms from $5
About the author(s)
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.
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