Kampot is a little town 3 hours south of Phnom Phen next to a mountain that has an old French Casino and Catholic church on top. We loved the tranquility of Kampot so much that we spent 4 nights there. Two nights on our Way to Rabbit Island, and two nights back from Sihanoukville as a stopover on our way to Vietnam. Kampot has to offer a variety of good restaurants, lovely accomodation, lush and chilly Bokor Hill, the Kep Nationalpark and if you’re keen: go visit a pepper farm with the world famous Kampot pepper.
Our first accomodation was Rikitikitavi, a boutique hotel that has only four rooms to offer. It is named after a short story from the jungle book. The room was one of the best we had while in Asia. They have a large variety of DVDs you can choose from and so we spent our nights watching movies. Talking about movies: Kampot seems to be keen to watch movies everytime. Ecran’s noodle and dumpling house offers private cinema rooms you can rent together with a DVD. The dumplings they serve are cheap and soooo tasty! Everything is home-made and we enjoyed watching the cooks making the chinese noodles. Dumplings start at 2$, chinese noodles at 3$.
How to flee the heat of Kampot: Rent a motorbike and leave Kampot for Bokor Hill station. The road there is brand new and we often thought that this was some route in Western USA. You cannot miss Bokor Hill. Just leave Kampot to Sihanoukville and follow the straight road for about 15 minutes. The entrance to Bokor Hill will be on your right side. Please be reminded that there are many scams in Cambodia so be prepared to pay a fee (mostly 20$ which we unfortunately had to experience twice).
Bring also a jacket with you as the air gets cold on top which is so refreshing after hot Kampot. The silence on top of Bokor hill is an appreciated change, as well. We visited the old French casino that was built in the 1920’s as a resort for the french colonists in Cambodia. One is allowed to visit this worn-down casino for free. Take your time and wander around the property, have a look into the old hotel rooms and explore the basement of it. Be warned that it can be spooky…
There is a new Casino (opened in 2012) that remined us of a Casino in Las Vegas. Ugly, enormous and definitely not fitting in a place like this. We can recommend the restrooms, thoug 🙂
We visited the French Catholic church, as well which is on the left if you’re coming from the old casino. Just park your bike somewhere (there is not really a parking lot) and climb up the stones to the church.
Back in Kampot, we had a lovely dinner at Rusty Keyhole which we can recommend. They have good curries there and also spare ribs.
You can also take a trip to Kep Nationalpark. It is about an hour ride there (again, be aware of the corrupt police). The tour we did took us about 1 1/2 hours. Bring water with you as there is alsmost no shade in the Nationalpark. This trip can be well combined with a trip to non-touristy Rabbit Island (post is following).
The other accomodation we had was The Columns, which is located next to Rikitikitavi. The beds were wonderful, we had a little private roof top balcony and also a variety of DVDs to chose from. It is a little cheaper than Rikitikitavi, the location is almost the same (both are right in the centre of Kampot), only the rooms are a little bit smaller.
Kampot and its surroundings is definitely worth a visit!