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Kampot Travel Guide


Located in southern Cambodia and surrounded by Elephant Mountain and the countryside, Kampot is a sleepy town along the banks of the Tuk Chhou River. The town is the main gateway to Bokor National Park and is known for its laid-back riverside atmosphere, the best peppers in the world, and charming French colonial buildings.

The slow life pace, crumbling architecture, riverside guesthouses, good restaurants and cafes, great food, and the surrounding countryside all make Kampot a perfect escape from daily hustle and bustle of big cities.

Kampot packs a punch if you love serene and slow-paced life, riverside lounging, old-fashioned houses, mysterious cave exploration, and fresh pepper. We collected the following Kampot travel guide to help you get the most out of this riverside town.

cai rang floarting market

Top Things to Do in Kampot

Visit Bokor National Park

With the most part sitting above 1,000 meters (3,281ft) above sea level, Bokor National Park is the main draw of Kampot for its numerous colonial-era buildings and temples, charming waterfalls, lush jungles, and abundance of nature and wildlife. Rising to 1,080 m (3,543 ft) above sea level, the top of Bokor Mountain offers a spectacular vista view of the Gulf of Thailand and the whole of Kampot Province. Not only the historical ruins, but the park is also home to many rare animals, and hundreds of species of birds.

A trip to Bokor National Park will reward you with great hiking opportunities and introduce you to several historical sites and scenic stops:

cai rang floarting market

Damnhk Sla Khmao (the Black Palace) – Once the summer residence of King Sihanouk, now only some ruins and a small swimming pool were left. While exploring the ruins, you may encounter hundreds of butterflies or other kinds of animals and insects.

Lok Yeay Mao Monument – A 29-meter-high Lok Yeay Mao statue. Lok Yeay Mao is a Cambodian Buddhist heroine.

Wat Sampov Pram – The highest temple in Cambodia sitting at a height of 1,048 meters above sea level. Reward you with a stunning panoramic view of the Gulf of Thailand and the park.

Bokor Hill Station – A village on top of Bokor Mountain built by the French in the 1920s. The perfect place to escape crowd and summer heat.

Le Bokor Palace – A hotel that was first opened by Frency in 1925. After being abandoned in the war times, the Le Bokor Palace was reopened as a 6-star hotel in 2018.

Old Catholic Church – A small church at Bokor Hill Station that was built in the 1920s, is now abandoned. The viewpoint around the church will offer you stunning views.

Popokvil Waterfall – The only waterfall in Kampot, being close to the Bokor Hill Station. Only worthwhile in the rainy season.

Cruise the River at Sunset

Kampot is a riverside town, so don’t miss spending time on the river. There are a wealth of river activities offered by the riverside guesthouses, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and river cruises. The sunset cruise, especially the so-called firefly cruise, is a great fit for most travelers.

Cruise along the river and admire the magic of changing colors when the sun slowly set over the horizon. The Firefly sunset cruises will even offer you a chance to witness hundreds of and thousands of fireflies hanging out and lighting up the trees on the river banks (Keep in mind that the firefly view is not guaranteed). The cruise will last about 2 hours and cost 5 USD, with a free drink included.

cai rang floarting market

Have a Side Trip to Kep

Only about 25km from Kampot, Kep is a small seaside town that is easily accessible from Kampot by tuk-tuk, bus, rental scooter, or boat. Once a thriving seaside resort before the 1960s, the town is now a popular day-trip destination from both Phnom Penh and Kampot. Tourists largely come here for its fresh and cheap seafood, quaint and easy-going atmosphere, colonial villas, offshore islands, and beautiful countryside. Get ready to entertain your taste buds in one of the freshest seafood markets in the world.

cai rang floarting market

Adventure to Mysterious Caves and Preserved Ruins

On your way from Kampot to Kep, you will meet various limestone caves. Some of the caves house exotic rock formations, and some have ancient Buddha temples hidden inside. If you are seeking adventurous activities, there is also rock climbing available at some caves. The three worth exploring caves near Kampot are:

Kbal Romeas – It is the cave closest to Kampot town, housing many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and sizes.

Phnom Chhnok Cave Temple – The over 1,300-year-old ruins in the cave are pieces of evidence of the ancient Funan State. Here you’ll also see elephant-shaped stalactites and amazing hill views.

Phnom Sorsia – Here you can see a huge elephant-head-shaped stalagmite inside the cave. Also called 100 Rice Field Cave offers a stunning view of the surrounding rice paddies.

Pick Fresh Pepper at a Pepper Plantation

Kampot produces some of the best black, red, and white pepper in the world, boasting hundreds of years of history in growing pepper. The many large-scale pepper plantations around Kampot will offer you a rare chance to see how peppercorns are planted and processed and to taste different types of spicy products. On the way to the pepper plantations, you will also encounter some salt fields.

Don’t forget to bring your camera since the plantations themselves are gorgeous. If you like, you can also buy some of packaged fresh pepper to bring home.

How Many Days to Stay in Kampot?

We suggest spending at least 3-4 days in Kampot to cover its best highlights. Spend one day to visit the Bakor National Park and cruise along the Kampot river. One day to explore the city center, including Kampot’s old market, and Kampot Provincial Museum. One day to explore the countryside area with pepper plantations and salt fields, and limestone caves. If time permits, enjoy a day trip to Kep.

Kampot Weather: The Best Time to Visit Kampot

Kampot is warm and with high humidity all year round. The temperature typically hovers from 75°F to 94°F throughout the year, with the monthly average temperature varying very little.

The best time to visit Kampot for outdoor activities is from early December to mid-March when the town is rain free and the temperature is comfortable. Generally, the town experiences the dry season from October to early May and the rainy season from Early May to September. April, May, and June are the hottest months in the town.

Kampot Transportation: How to Get to and Get around

How to Get to Kampot?

Based on your time, budget, preferences, and location, you can get to Kampot by bus, taxi, or train.

Get to Kampot from Phnom Penh

Going by bus is the most convenient way to travel from Phnom Penh. Frequent daily buses are running to Kampot from Phnom Penh, which will take about 3-5 hours, and cost about 6-8 USD per person. Or you can also take a private taxi by spending about 35-50 USD, or a train which will take 4h40mins and cost about 6 USD per person.

Get to Kampot from Kep

Kep is only 25 km from Kampot, you can easily hire a tuk-tuk (costing about 10-15 USD), rent a motorbike (about 5 USD per day), or take a taxi (about 20 USD) to go.

Get to Kampot from Sihanoukville

Since there are no direct buses connecting Sihanoukville to Kampot, you will need to take a taxi to go which will cost about 35 USD. And there are minivans available from Otres Beach in Sihanoukville to Kampot which will take about 2.5 hours and cost 7 USD.

How to Get around Kampot?

Being in small size and with flat roads, Kampot is walking – and biking-friendly. You can explore the town leisurely on foot or by renting a bike (about 1 USD per day). If travel to the countryside areas or further places, you’ll need to hire a tuk-tuk or rent a motorbike (about 4-5 USD per day). You can also hire a tuk-tuk with a driver for a full day by spending about 15-20 USD, depending on the distance and your bargaining skills. To take a taxi, you’d better book one online in advance, and the cost is about 35-55 USD from Kampot to Kep.

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