Whilst in Sihanoukville getting my visa for Vietnam, I had to toss-up between getting a ferry to the beautiful islands of Koh Rong, or heading further towards the Vietnamese border, and stopping in Kampot.
It had rained for two days solid on the islands, and so I decided to move on, which would have allowed me to have a full three weeks in Vietnam, a good decision in the long run, as Vietnam is huge, and I still didn’t get to see all that I wanted of it.
Kampot, is a small coastal town, 2 hours from the Vietnamese border. It’s a bit of a sleepy wee place, with not a whole lot to do, but the relaxed vibe draws you in. I stopped there for three days, I toured the countryside, met great new traveller friends, and had downtime, after moving about a lot.
If you are in the South of Cambodia, Kampot is worth stopping off in. Here is what I got up to
A sunset cruise
The chocolate brown Mekong River flows slowly through Kampot. I had been on it in Laos, and so decided I’d check it out in Cambodia with a wee sunset river cruise. It sounds fairly exotic, but its really. Long wooden boats speed along, with a noisy engine.
I went with two Dutch girls I had met in my hostel, and we paid $5 each. The boat wasn’t the most comfortable of vessels I’d sailed on, but it was a relaxing way to spend the evening, and the sunset was pretty nice, although it is possible to see the sunset from the river front, without the need to go on a boat at all.
The countryside surrounding Kampot is beautifully green and diverse, and even more dramatic in the rainy season. A half day tour visiting a few of the main tourist sites will set you back about $12-15 (as always, bargain like a pro!)
The Salt Fields
Our tour started off at the salt fields, however, it was an overcast day, and it was raining as we got there, so the fields didn’t look as impressive as they should have, but our tuk-tuk river did his best with trying to explain about the salt making process, in the absence of the salt field workers.
Phnom Chhngok (The Cave Temple)
After an incredibly bumpy ride from the salt fields, we reached the Phnom Chhngok caves (also known as the Temple caves, as it has small Temples within and around it). Only be met by a group of young Cambodian children asking us for money to be our tour guide, so that they could go to school and learn English.
We paid the $2 entry fee, and walked ignoring the children. However, as we got to the caves, we realised that being guided through them, wouldn’t be a bad idea, as they were incredibly dark and dangerous looking. I went in the tuk tuk with two other Dutch travellers from my hostel, but we were soon joined by 5 others, and together we were, led into this dark cave climbing down and over very sharp rocks, using only the light from our mobile phones, it was an impressive cave from the inside, but difficult to get photos in.
Tomnop tek krolar (The secret lake)
Our final stop was to the secret lake, which was beautiful, and although you’d think doing a tour to the secret lake, wouldn’t be so secret, it sort of felt like that, as we were the only three people there.
The Peppercorn farm
The Peppercorn farm, is as it sounds – a farm that grows Peppercorns. Lots of brick structures were lined up in rows, and tired with strng in places, with dodgy cornet seeping out – supporting the green leaves that spiralled up and down them.
It was kind of cool to see. I often don’t think of where food and other produce is grown or how, but I have now seen salt fields, a peppercorn farm, a tea plantation in Malaysia and a Coffee Plantation in Bali.
Other areas of interest
The Bokor Hill mountain – I didn’t have time to get to see this. It was a $35 tour from our hostel. Otherwise rental of a motorbike is doable. It looks beautiful. Image from Tourism Cambodia.
Eating at Epic Arts Café
One thing I’ve enjoyed doing, whilst in Cambodia is supporting various NGOs, of which there are many. Epic Arts Café is one of these.
It is a café which employs and supports those who are deaf, or disabled. It is a small café, but with a huge personality and amazing food.
Ordering is done through writing Inna piece of paper. The staff are incredibly sweet, and the place just has a real cool vibe to it.
Apart from that, I lazed by the pool at my hostel – The mad monkey, and generally had a great end to my time in wonderful Cambodia.