Kampot is the durian city -- you will know right away when you see the giant durian in the city’s main roundabout. Whether or not you like durians, you will most likely love this riverside town. Kampot is small and quaint compared to Phnom Penh and has a relaxing riverside walkway that is perfect for strolling at sunset. It is an easy three-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh and you can reach Sihanoukville and the nearby islands in just a few hours as well.
A river divides the city in half, creative a different atmosphere on each side. The city is small enough to walk around easily, but it can be extremely hot and sweltering right before the rainy season. The bus will drop you off on the main side of the river, where you will find plenty of Kampot hostels from which to choose, including some newer, Western-style accommodation.
On the main side of town near the river, there are many restaurants and cafes and plenty of fruit juice stands. There are lots of Western options and few local spots that are worth seeking out. A few vegetarian cafes are spread out through the city and offer excellent choices as well. Barbecue restaurants are a local favorite -- you can choose your own ingredients and grill them right at your table. If you enjoy markets, you can find locals buying and selling fish, vegetables, fruits, and -- of course -- durian each morning. It is definitely a local market full of the smells, mud, and little old ladies in straw hats that you would imagine.
The other side of the river is much quieter with some great affordable bungalows and bunkrooms, most with a river view; one place in particular has the cheapest (very basic) bungalows and some of the cheapest most delicious food in Cambodia. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent and try not to freak out if you hear critters pacing the roof of your bungalow -- it’s all about the local experience. Most Kampot hostels on this side of the river will pick you up, since it is too far to walk from the main part of town. You can also rent a cheap motorbike to do some exploring in the areas nearby. There are rapids a little further down the road and a nice clean section of river for swimming and there are plenty of red dirt roads to meander along for a view of local life. Kampot is a relaxing stop after time in busy Phnom Penh or crazy Sihanhoukville and offers a nice chance to sit by the river and enjoy local life.
Hi, I'm Amanda Haehl,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Kampot hostels. Welcome.