Kampot's main draw is its relaxing riverside setting. While there is a sizable town (population approximately 40,000) set back from the river, most tourists will spend most of their time enjoying the river. Most tourist businesses are scattered along the riverside promenade or are within one or two blocks of it. The riverside's main reference points are the "old bridge", a mongrel of various styles and temporary parts thrown together after its breaching in the Khmer Rouge days, and the French-built market building, which is being restored. Back from the river, the town is centered on the bizarre "durian roundabout" featuring a huge statue of a durian. From where the buses drop passengers, walking down the wide boulevard leads towards the river and the French-built market.
- Kampot Survival Guide (KSG), ✉ email@example.com. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Kampot Survival Guide. The substantial, 48-page compendium is issued every three months and is a hilarious, entertaining, yet thorough guide to Kampot. It's written by people who live in and know Kampot and to say it is full of good info is an understatement. Available online, but not as useful as a hard copy. Free.
From Phnom PenhEdit
The trip Phnom Penh-Kampot (148 km) can take 2½-5 hr depending on traffic and road conditions (Feb 2020).
Bus Bus and mini-bus companies include:
- Ekareach Express - about five buses a day from Phnom Penh.
- Hua Lin buses depart at 07:00 and 12:00 from their bus station on St 182 near Olympic Market via Kep to Kampot.
- Sorya buses depart at 07:30 and 14:30 from their bus station next to Central Market. In the high season (Oct-May) there may be an additional bus at 09:30. The bus travels to Kampot via Kep and the trip takes about 3 hr. The fare is US$5.
- Paramount Angkor Express buses depart at 07:30 and 13:30 from their bus station near Olympic Market. The bus travels directly to Kampot (does not go via Kep) and the trip takes about 3 hr. The fare is US$5
- Giant Ibis buses depart at 08:00 and 14:45 from St 106 next to the Night Market on Riverside. This company promotes itself as a luxury service. Tickets are US$8 and the bus arrives at the Durian Roundabout (approximately 300 m from the bus station) in Kampot. After Kampot the bus continues to Kep.
- Kampot Express uses 12 seat Hyundai Starex mini buses. They provide an 08:00 and 13:00 service on weekdays with an additional 16:30 service on Saturday and Sunday. Buses are based at St 215 in Phnom Penh at the Sokimex petrol station. The trip taking about 2½ hr depending on the traffic leaving Phnom Penh. The fare is US$8 and additional baggage fees may apply.
- M.T.T. (call/text TOM on mobile: +855 16 994161) daily air-con vans serving all most destinations twice, plus Trat, Thailand
All of the buses, with the exception of Giant Ibis, end at the central Kampot bus station which is about 150 m from one of the main guesthouse streets in Kampot. Walk to the Salt Workers Monument and take the first turn to the left.
Buses do not generally have an on-board toilet, but do usually have a 15-minute rest stop at the half-way point between Phnom Penh and Kampot. While there is no difference in the fares charged for locals and foreigners on the Phnom Penh-Kampot route, fares generally increase for everyone during major public holidays/celebrations.
Taxi Many guesthouses in Phnom Penh can arrange a private taxi. Expect to pay between US$35-50 for the whole taxi with the trip taking about 2½ hr. Prices will generally be higher during major public holidays and you will almost certainly be quoted a higher price if you attempt to negotiate the fare yourself with one of the taxis at Phnom Penh airport.
There are also shared taxis (US$5-8 per seat) that regularly ply the route between Phnom Penh and Kampot and your guesthouse/hotel should be able to arrange a seat for you. If you want to make your own arrangements, taxis generally depart from Psar Damkor. A shared taxi, generally a Toyota Camry, on this route will normally carry eight people (including the driver) so if you are a large Westerner, have a lot of luggage or have issues with your personal space, you might want to book two seats (thus double price), preferably at the front of the taxi.
Take a shared taxi, minibus or bus. Most taxis depart from the traffic pickup point next to the market. The 2-hr drive should cost US$5 to US$8 per person in a shared taxi. Bus operators can help arrange a minibus with pickup at your guesthouse. Shared taxis are generally cramped, with up to 7 passengers: 4 in the back, 2 in the front passenger seat and one next to the driver.
Driving from Sihanoukville to Kampot on a rented scooter can be fun, but if road conditions are poor may take 3½ hours or more.
From Ha Tien (Vietnam Border)Edit
Several bus and van companies service the Kampot - Kep - Ha Tien Route. A ticket to Ha Tien cost US$8 from Kampot and US$5 from Kep.
Kampot is on the railway line between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. The infrequent train takes around 5 hr to Phnom Penh (US$7) via Takeo and 2 hr 40 min to Sihanoukville (US$5). Schedule and ticket booking are available online.
- 1 Kampot railway station (ស្ថានីយន៍រថភ្លើងខេត្តកំពត).
The Crab Shuttle is a converted local fishing vessel which sails between Kampot and Kep (trip time 2 hr 20 min). It leaves Kampot at 09:00 from the riverside in front of Rikitikitavi Hotel. It departs Kep at 15:00 from the pier to Rabbit Island to be back in Kampot by sunset.
Getting around Kampot is easy on foot or on a bicycle, given the town's small size and flat terrain. Or, hire a motorcycle (100-125 cc scooter or 250 cc dirt bike, from US$5 per day) or bicycle (from US$1 per day) from hire shops near the durian traffic circle, or from just about any guesthouse or tour shop.
It used to take about 2 hr by motorbike from Kampot to the Ha Tien border with Vietnam. The scenery is beautiful. If you start early you can catch the 10:00 ferry to Phu Quoc Island. The border procedure is hassle-free.
The most impressive sights in Kampot are the river and surrounding hills, which grandly frame views from the riverside promenade. Kampot retains many of its colonial buildings and there are many interesting old structures in various states of repair. The two cinemas stopped screenings long ago but the buildings represents a charming, art deco vision of the future. The market, an angular structure similar to Battambang's, is undergoing renovation.
- Bokor Mountain (1-2 hr out of Kampot). Bokor National Park is being destroyed by a large hotel development. The eerie charm of the abandoned French hill station that included a shell of a church and the isolated upland nature reserve are rapidly becoming a tacky resort. The road up the mountain is now paved and provides easy access. The cooler climate and sublime views from the mountain remain and may provide some reason for a visit.
Animals have become much harder to spot. The waterfall, which only flows in the wet season, may still provide some sanctuary.
Tours still run up the mountain and cost approximately US$10, depending on bargaining skills. Lunch is included. The excursion can still be worthwhile provided it is viewed as an insight into Cambodia's Great Leap Forward rather than as an atmospheric expedition into a remote and haunting environment.
Several tracks enter the forest, one from behind the old tea plantation, the second from near the waterfalls. It is possible to stay at the ranger station which is basic but comfortable and, contrary to some reports, offers food and French wine. Free.
- Kampot Mangroves (From Kampot and around). A traditional Khmer longtail boat floats you to beautiful places where the flora, fauna and people dwell harmoniously. Voyage up the Kampot River and towards the heart of Bokor National Park.
- Pepper farms (N of the Kep hills and Hwy 33). Inquire in town about how to see pepper being grown and processed. Guided tours are easy to arrange. One option is to visit The Vine Retreat in Chamcar Bei village.
- 1 Durian plantations. There are lots of durian farms on the way to Teuk Chhou Rapids. It may be hard to communicate to a tuk-tuk driver that this is what you want to see, but a tourist office / travel agent can help you arrange it. There don't seem to be organized guided tours like for the pepper farms, but you can go to a plantation and ask for permission to look around – before you leave, buy some fruit as a thank-you. Even when durian is out of season it's mildly interesting; in January you can see the unripe fruit starting to grow.
- Phnom Chhnork (8 km E of town on the Kep Rd, Hwy 33). A pleasant ride through paddy fields and village life to these caves with pre-Angkorian (Funan) shrines and "lost worlds". Just after the rhino statue turn left (there is a sign to Phnom Chhnork Resort), cross the railway into a village. Straight ahead is Phnom Sera with some interesting caves and a quarry which feeds the local gravel industry. Follow the road 90 degrees left and 2 km or so to Wat Ang Sdok, pay the monks and walk across to the mountain. Take a torch. US$1.
- Also to be experienced is the fresh seafood (especially the crab with local Kampot pepper) and beaches at Kep (25 km, 25-45 minutes east of Kampot by moto or shared taxi) which makes a fun day trip. Although the beaches are not as nice as those in Sihanoukville (one small brown sand beach and more rocky), it is quiet and during the week you will likely be the only visitors. Fishing boats can also be taken out to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), approximately 45 min from the mainland.
- Cham Fishing Village, about 2 km out of town past the Governor's Residence on the road that runs along the east bank of the river. Seems to be undergoing road and bridge upgrading for the new swamp-side housing estate at the end of this road. Has a great view of the Cham fishing village across the river on the island.
- Salt Fields, some are a kilometre out of town on the Kep road. You will see the fields off to your right (leaving Kampot) and there are a number of access roads.
- Funky Statues, the Big Durian, the Vietnam Friendship Monument, the 2000 Roundabout, the Salt Workers Monument. Be sure to get your jump-shot photo in front of the hairy nuts.
- The Two Old Cinemas, Art Deco design and both have been out of regular service for some time however the one on the old bridge road does show the occasional Khmer-made horror movie. One of the cinemas has been converted into a modern hotel. If you are an Art Deco enthusiast, the Tourist Information building, about 400 m up from the Salt Workers Monument, is also worth a look.
- The Old Bridge, now closed to heavy traffic as its structural integrity is questionable. It is still open for motorcycles, bicycles and foot traffic. It is very picturesque with light bulbs at sunset.
- The Colonial Railway Station, the rail line through Kampot has been restarted and is running to Sihanoukville and Phonm Penh. Head out of town on the Phnom Penh road and take the last turn to your right before you come to the rail lines. The station is sign posted and approximately 1.5 km out of town.
- The Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children, across the road from the Acleda Bank building and adjacent to the park that runs down to the Old Market. The school holds occasional concerts. There is a notice board outside the building advising dates and times. It is possible to attend music rehearsals (M-F) if you make an appointment. Tel: +855 33 932992 (Field Manager: Mr. You Chhuy)
- The Old Prison was demolished in 2018. Now there are new apartment complexes in its place.
- The 2000 Olympic Stadium, in the centre of town behind the Durian Roundabout. Classic Khmer-style stadium and the grounds are often used for fairs or live music concerts during public holidays.
- The New Market, large, well stocked with just about everything that an average Khmer family could need (have a look at the section behind the fish mongers for examples of local produce) and well worth a wander around.
- Teuk Chhouu (8 km upriver of town on the W (far) bank). An area of rapids with eateries and an island. It is a nice place for swimming, tubing and relaxing, and vendors sell fruit, coffee and water.
- Tada Waterfall (14 km north west of Kampot), a waterfall and swimming hole on a small stream. US$1 entry fee per person for locals and foreigners.
- Get out of town, head out of Kampot for 1 km in any direction and get off the main roads and you are in rural Cambodia. Some of the local cottage industries include palm sugar and wine making, basket weaving and furniture making using liana and rattan. Kep is just half an hour away by tuktuk or scooter.
Kampot has a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere apart from the droves of motorbike riding school children that flock here when school is in session. It is a great place to go and just soak up the atmosphere and catch your breath for a couple of days.
Do Kampot Province by dirt bike: Ride enduro style through the Elephant mountains, take on the hill climb up Bokor or relax.
- Kayak and Boat Trips. Standard Boat Tours (morning and evening cruise) available (US$5), kayak tours (US$9) or daily rent (US$7) (e.g., at Captain Chim's Guesthouse at the Old Market). Look around and compare different operators, as the boat tours range from spring break backpacker partying to calm, romantic, and family friendly. You can buy moderately priced food and drinks on board, and if you do a sunset tour you might see fireflies.
- Minigolf (At the Magic Sponge Guesthouse). Play a few fun rounds of 9-hole mini golf for free. Have a cold beer before, during, and after.
- Petanque (Boules). Play at Blissful for free. Have a cold beer or pastis while playing. The court is floodlit, to allow play morning, afternoon, or evening.
- 1 Golden Hands Massage & Spa, #5 street 726 (50 m from riverside), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-23:00.
- Kampot Pepper. Given its reputation for quality, this is probably the most popular purchase made by visitors to Kampot. Such is its popularity that a host of imitators claim to be Kompot pepper. If you want to be confident that the pepper you buy is the genuine article, buy it from a reputable supplier. The packaging should have an authenticity logo and possibly a tracking code identifying the farm where it was grown. Black pepper, US$12-18/kg; white pepper, US$13-20/kg; red pepper, US$18-25/kg.
- Tiny Kampot Pillows (At the 2000 Traffic Circle), ☏ . Hand made in Kampot. Quilts, pillows and cushions, coasters and place mats, belts and bags.
- Meta Pheap Supermarket, Salt workers Roundabout, ☏ .
- The Daily Meat Supermarket, 16 a 724 Street, ☏ .
- Psar Samaki (Kampot Market), Street 714 & 729. Daily, 06:00-18:00. Local fruit. sells clothing and housewares.
- 1 Kampot Night Market (near the Durian Roundabout). Mostly clothes, a bit of food and other miscellaneous products, and a couple of small rides for kids.
Banks & ATMsEdit
It can be hard to find someone who will accept a hundred-dollar bill in Kampot. Consider withdrawing $90 when you go to an ATM.
ATMs aren't hard to find. There are a few near the durian roundabout, for instance.
- Canadia Bank is at the traffic circle (Durian roundabout). These ATMs do not work with some bank cards, for example, ING Bank cards.
- Acleda Bank is on Old Market Rd near Central Bus Stand.
- ABA Bank is also on the old market Rd near the central bus stand.
- ABA and Acleda Banks also run more single ATM booths spread around the town.
Kampot is famous for pepper and durian, both grown at farms in the area which you can visit. Kampot pepper is of course used to flavor food here and is also sold at shops and makes a good souvenir. Durian is in season in April and May; if you buy durian in Kampot in the winter, it will be imported.
A delicious breakfast found in Kampot is Koh Kor Num Pain, a thick beef stew served with French bread.
Halal food is easy to find.
- Cafe Espresso Kampot, 17 Rte 717 (Across from 333 Bakery in the side street from Epic Arts Cafe), ☏ . 07:00-23:00. Speciality coffee, roasted and ground on site. Australian-style café fare and fresh baked goods. Free Wi-Fi. US$5.
- Captain Chim Guesthouse and Restaurant (Old Market). 07:30-22:00. Khmer family-run café and restaurant with local specialities and Western and vegetarian dishes. Also offers river tours, bus tickets, motorcycles, mountain-bikes, fishing tour.
- Epic Arts Cafe, Old Market Street (North side two blocks from the river). Breakfast until 17:00. Modern cafe cuisine, fruit juices and Italian coffee. NGO-run to help local disabled people. Second-hand books for sale.
- Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace (one block north and one block inland of the old bridge, behind Little Garden Bar), ☏ . 07:00-late. Khmer bakery with good cheap fare. Great brownies, no croissants.
- Laundry Cafe (In the old market building), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Great cheeseburger and fries for US$4.50.
- The Rusty Keyhole (On the river, just south of the old bridge and next to the French-built market building), ☏ . Western and Asian food with tender BBQ ribs, relaxing river side location. Beer provided in 568 ml glasses for those who love a pint.
- 1 Samon's Village (Formerly The Lazy Farmer), Touk Chou Rd (2 km from town centre; cross the bridge and go right along the river about 1.5 km), ☏ . 07:30-21:00. Serves a wide range of Khmer delicacies in a romantic garden on the river.
- Secret Italian (street orthogonal to the river, one street north of the old market). Opens at 17:30. A small brick-stall at the roadside, owned by an Italian guy who makes excellent pasta and pizza. US$3-4.
- Sisters II (Two blocks off of the river (turn beside Bokor Lodge off the river) near the roundabout), ☏ . M-Sa 07:00-17:00. All-day breakfast and bakery, great carrot cake (3,000 riel). Air-conditioned. Free Wi-Fi.
- Srey Mom Cafe (East side two blocks from the river and next door to Tiny Kampot Pillows), ☏ . 17:00 until late. Western and Indian food.
- 2 Taj Mahal, 735 Kampong Bay Bridge. Indian restaurant with big servings. Halal.
- 3 Ecran Noodles, Street 735 (on the river). Chinese-style noodles and dumplings. $3-5.
Kampot has the best teuk rleuek (fruit shake) in Cambodia. Visit any of the numerous vendors on the main avenues in the evening.
- 1 OM House (OM House Kampot), Old Market Street no. 38 (In the old French Quarter between Old Market and park), ☏ . 08:30-20:30. Restaurant and organic shop. Wide range of fresh juices and smoothies, crepes, Khmer and Western delicacies. Healthy food, herbal teas, coffee and cakes. A meeting place for green thinking people. Free Wi-Fi. US$0.50-5.00.
- WunderBar (on the river front), ☏ . Tu-Su 16:00-01:00. Stylish bar with garden area and great tunes. Serves Western and Khmer food. Kitchen open till 23:00. Big selection of beers, cocktails, fruit juices. Darts, chess and new pool table with competition on Sunday at 20:00, admission US$2. Good meeting point at night. Friendly Swiss-German run. Cover US$2.
There are many guesthouses in Kampot, mostly in the US$5 and up price bracket. It is best just to have a look at the rooms. In the city most of the guesthouses are along "Guesthouse Street". There are also a number of guesthouses just outside of town across the bridge and along the river front.
- Birds Nest Bar & Backpackers, Old Market Street. Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 11:00. Four-bed dorm and air-con single/double rooms. free Wi-Fi. Dorm bed US$3 per person, double room US$8.
- Captain Chims Guest House, Street 724, ☏ . Check-out: 11:00. Has laundry and bicycle hire. Dorm bed US$3 per person.
- Kampot Guesthouse (Guesthouse St). Another straightforward guesthouse with fan and air-con rooms and food, next to Orchid. This one has clean rooms, no fridge, great Wi-Fi and it's quiet because it's at the end of the street.
- Long Villa Guesthouse (N of the market on New Bridge St). Nice garden restaurant, clean rooms, fan, and air-con.
- Magic Sponge (Guesthouse St E of salt gatherers' roundabout), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Funky converted villa run by Westerners with free Wi-Fi, 9-hole mini-golf course, pool table, 50-inch HD widescreen TV for live sports, great Western and Asian food including excellent Indian dishes, and a well stocked bar open late and with incredibly cheap draft beer, especially during happy hour between 12:00 and 16:00. A great place to hang out and meet other travellers, with no shortage of entertainment. Air-con or fan rooms are spotlessly clean and feature superb quality mattresses and hot showers, and now there is a penthouse dormitory. Laundry, travel tickets, motorbike and bicycle rental and up to date travel information available. Dorm bed US$3 per person.
- Nature Bungalow (N of New Bridge 50 m). River front bungalows with over-the-water dining.
- NyNy Hotel, 1 ouksophea Kampot (Near salt mine roundabout), ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. Relatively (3 storeys) high rise building. Clean fan/air-con rooms with en suite bath. Wi-Fi. USD6-8.
- Orchid Guesthouse (Guesthouse St, E of salt gatherers' roundabout, opposite Pepper). Straightforward guesthouse with fan and air-con rooms and food.
- Paris Guesthouse (Corner of Old Market St, 3 blocks from bus station). Multi-storey purpose-built hotel.
- Pepe 7 the Viking Guest house, Kampot River Front. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Six-bed dorm. Free Wi-Fi. Dorm bed US$4 per person.
- Pepper Guesthouse (Guesthouse St). Converted villa guesthouse with simple restaurant and Wi-Fi.
- Raksmey Kampuchea Guest House, Durian roundabout, ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. Fan/air-con double room with en suite bath. Free Wi-Fi. from US$10.
- River Lodge, Dragon Street. Check-in: 12:30, check-out: 11:00. Eight-bed dorm or double rooms. Free Wi-Fi. Dorm bed US$4 per person, double room US$16.
- Eden Eco Village (just north of Kampot city), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: anytime, check-out: 12:00. A homestay guesthouse that features traditional bungalows and free use of a bicycle as well as Cambodian specialties and Western favourites. Friendly family country-side location, motorbike rental available.
- Greenhouse, Papaya Salad Rd (cross the new bridge, follow Teuk Chhu road for 6 km, then turn right on Papaya Salad road when you see the white sign on the right side of the road), ☏ . Small private bungalows set in an orchard with a fantastic view. Great bar and restaurant in beautiful old wooden Khmer house with a large balcony overlooking the river. Free bicycles, kayak rental, free Wi-Fi, popular swimming spot. US$7-20.
- Kampot River Bungalow (100 m before Olly's Place), ☏ , . Comfortable bungalows and rooms with mosquito nets. Diving board, inexpensive high quality food and great communal atmosphere. The cheapest of the three. Food and drinks. US$6.
- Samon's Village (50 m behind Bodhi Villa). Clean bungalows with mosquito nets, terrace, access to the river and good local food. Very friendly and family-like atmosphere. No party crowd and a place to easily get to know the locals. US$8 (shared bath), US$20 with bath.
- Les Manguiers (E bank of the river, 2 km N of the new bridge on a rough dirt road), ☏ , . Garden bungalow resort with table d'hote menu, kayaks, and boat trips. Very French. Trilingual staff. Call for pick-up. US$10-25.
- Mea Culpa Kampot (Behind Governors Mansion), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Guesthouse and restaurant in a nice garden setting, in a quiet part of the old French quarter of town. Clean, nicely decorated fan and air-con rooms with cable TV, DVD player and en suite bath with hot water. Balcony. Complimentary tea and coffee. Patio restaurant and bar serving Khmer and international fare including pizzas from a wood-fired oven. US$20-25.
- Villa Vedici (E bank of the river, 2 km N of the new bridge on a rough dirt road, just N of Les Manguiers). Swanky garden bungalow resort.
- 1 Rikitikitavi (corner of Riverside Road and Street 728 (Kipling Lane)), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Consistently well reviewed charming small Western-managed hotel on the river road in town. Stylishly finished a/c rooms with amenities including TV, DVD, mini-fridge, in-room Wi-Fi, spring mattresses, and hot/cold showers. Strong-box in-room. Excellent rooftop restaurant and bar with a brilliant view overlooking the river. Western and Asian food in atmospheric terrace restaurant. Notable saraman (Cambodian beef curry) and amok trai (fish curry). Cooked-to-order breakfast included in room rate. US$53 including breakfast.
Internet access is available downtown for 3,000 riel/hour. Free access is available at most guesthouses and restaurants; the quality may differ.
- Bokor National Park - a historic colonial hill station and nice views on a sunny day
- Ha Tien (Vietnam) - Motorbike drivers usually ask for US$10-15 for a ride to the border, but you can also get a motorbike taxi directly to Ha Tien for US$9 (around 2 hr). Some of the roads are not paved, but you will get to see some nice rural areas on the way. There are taxis leaving for the border around 09:00 for US$6 per person.
- Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. Minivan US$18 (Feb 2020) — a minivan takes you to the border at Ha Tien, the driver guides you through immigration procedures for both countries, then hands you over to another driver who takes you to the ferry terminal where you will be given your ferry ticket (included).
- Kep - another resort town 25 km east, famous for seafood, motorbike for US$3. A tuk-tuk will cost US$10 one-way (about 1 hour), or US$20 roundtrip with the driver waiting a couple of hours (Feb 2020). You can visit the salt plant and a proper plantation en route.
- Sihanoukville - Cambodia's best-known beach resort. Big bus, minivan or Sihanoukville's G'day Mate Western-run van service.
|Routes through Kampot|
|Phnom Penh ← Kep ←||E W||→ Sihanoukville|