French Colonial Town
Built along the Preaek Tuek Chhu river, Kampot is a French colonial style small town. For $50 a taxi will take you here in just 3 hours from Phnom Penh. The city is still mostly consisting of colonial houses, but changes are on the way. Now is a good time to visit.
From downtown, you can easily catch a tuk-tuk away from the city and in less than 10 minutes you will be surrounded by palm trees and eventually local communities.
The population says about 50,000 people, but as its people are spread across a huge area, the atmosphere is closer to a village.
Nicknamed The Ghost Mountains for the usual cloudy weather, the Bokor Mountain is a beautiful place for a day trip. If you drive a motorbike, I recommend renting one in the old market, just in front of the fish market.
Made famous in the movie City of Ghosts, many go here, to see the abandoned casino, Bokor Hill Station, and so did we. However, we realized it has been since restored, not a big surprise taking into account that the movie is about 20 years old by now.
The trip to the mountain offers great views along the road and beautiful scenery around the old casino. Keep on the roads though, as the mountain is said to be heavy mined due to the war. For English speakers the signs say “Do not eat”, but something might have been lost in translation.
This private beach is a great destination for a trip along the north of the river. Situated between the palm trees, it’s a wonderful place to lay in a hammock enjoying a cold drink from the restaurant while looking over the river floating down from the mountains.
When you need to cool down, you can jump directly in the river from the jetty or you might want to try their kayaks.
In the case of time flies, Sabay Beach also offers rooms and bungalows. Directly on the beach or, which I prefer, retracted in the quiet garden just behind the beach. The servings finish at 22.00 (10 pm), so enjoy the sounds of nature while you fall asleep.
Fish Market Restaurant
What used to be a fish market has now been restored into a cozy art-deco restaurant on the banks of the river. A wonderful place to enjoy a glass of wine, while watching the sunset above the mountains behind the river.
The market is located in downtown, right next to the old market. It’s a good place to end the day or maybe start the night as most of the nightlife is by walking distance from here.
Prices are above average, but not expensive for a place like this.
Firefly Boat Trip
You might have seen them only in movies, but in real fireflies are a spectacular phenom. In Kampot, you will find boats every night at around sunset that will bring you north along the river, where fireflies are living.
Trips usually include 1 or 2 free beers for the fare of $5, so enjoy your refreshing drink and watch the city from the riverside while sailing towards sunset and fireflies.
The trip lasts about 1 hour with the turning point where the fireflies reside.