30 May 2016

Kampot (and Kep)

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Located on a river near the Gulf of Thailand, Kampot is known more for its peppers than it is for tourism. The black peppers in Kampot are world-renowned for their unique flavour, and are sought after by gourmet chefs from around the world. But beyond its culinary allure, Kampot’s rustic post-colonial aura and fascinating French architectural facades are a growing draw for travellers. Kampot is considered the gateway to Bokor National Park, so visitors here can expect lots of opportunities for boating, rafting and caving. Because of its uniquely languid charm, Kampot makes for a great breather during a whirlwind visit to Cambodia.

Must See:

Given the Kampot’s fame for producing the world’s finest peppers, don’t leave Kampot without paying a visit to its pepper farms. Most of the taxis in either Kampot or nearby Kep will know where to go.

Much of Kampot’s architecture is a remnant of its French colonial heritage, so if the friendly people of Kampot don’t endear you to the town during your visit, the shady boulevards will. Be sure the check out the old Governor’s Residence, and Department of Mines Building.

One of the main draws to Kampot during colonial times was the pleasant cool relaxing climate at Bokor Mountain. The Bokor Hill Station founded there in Bokor National Park is one of the area’s most well-known attractions. Some locals insist that the deteriorating buildings of Bokor Hill Station are haunted, especially the former Casino – so keep a sharp eye out!

The Kampot River offers visitors a great way to cool off and embark in outdoor adventures. Well-known for its scenery, it’s a popular place for stand-up paddle boarding, and rafting. Just across the river from Kampot are the Tek Chhou Falls. They may not be the tallest or most spectacular falls in the world, but it’s a pleasant place to visit and a popular weekend haunt for locals looking to escape the heat and relax.

Phnom Chhnork is a surprisingly beautiful area full of caves and limestone formations. The quarry there was used to mine gravel used in the construction industry, but the surrounding area feels pristine and off-the-beaten path.

As with most places in Cambodia, Kampot also has its fair share of temples. The most beautiful of these is Wat Treuy Koh. The beautiful decorations and illustrations of Buddha’s life make it one of the most iconic and worthwhile places to visit in Kampot. During your temple hopping, be sure to check out Prasart Phnom Ngok. Although it’s tiny, it’s considered to be the oldest temple in Cambodia at more than 1600 years old!

How to get there: 

By Bus: Most buses to Kampot arrive either from Phnom Penh (three hours) or Sihanoukville (two hours). The roads into Kampot have recently been repaved, so the experience is smoother than other rural destinations in Cambodia.

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