Kampot is a sleepy but growing riverside town in the south of Cambodia, near the Vietnamese boarder. It's crumbling old French architecture is slowly being rejuvenated and renovated into new cafe's, restaurants, bars and guesthouses as tourism becomes a bigger part of the local economy alongside salt and pepper production, fishing and durian plantations. Kampot, along with two other Cambodian towns are currently being evaluated in hopes of becoming a UNESCO world heritage site to help protect its colonial architecture.
Aside from relaxing in a hammock with a book or swimming and catching some sun by the river, Kampot is full of activities to keep you busy for a week or more. Listed below are some of our favourite things to do around town, enjoy!
Day 1: Bokor National Park
Bokor is always the first thing we recommend to our guests. If you're comfortable driving or riding on the back of a scooter ($5/day rental) you can easily spend a full day exploring the park. The road to the top is literally the best road we've found in Cambodia. It's wide and well maintained with lots of switchbacks and some amazing views over Kampot City and the coast. Once at the top you'll realise Bokor isn't really a national park like you might expect. In fact it's a bit strange, but that's what we love about it. It's being developed by the Chinese who have built a giant Casino and resort at the top, which aside from big local holidays is a bit like a ghost town. There are also waterfalls, monuments and many abandoned buildings to explore. Take a shirt as temperatures at the top are often quite cool. If driving scooters aren't your thing, mini van tours can be arranged. Read more about Bokor here.
Day 2: Kep Beach
Kep is a small seaside town about a 45 minute drive from Kampot famous for its fresh crab and seafood. Visit the crab market early in the morning to see the days catch on display and visit any one of the small local restaurants to give it a try. Kep also has a small sandy beach and lots of hammocks to relax in. From Kep you can to rabbit island, about 20 minutes in a small long tail boat. Kep is also host to a beautiful national park with well maintained trails. If you're keen to do some light trekking come here before Bokor National Park. Driving your own scooter is how we recommend getting out to Kep but tuk-tuk tours are also available and can be booked through our reception. Prices start around $25/day for the whole tuk-tuk (up to four people comfortably). Tuk-tuk tours to Kep generally include a stop at a pepper farm, some caves and the 'Secret' Lake along the way, but are 100% flexible depending on your preferences. Read more about Kep here.
Day 3: Rock Climbing
Kampot is home to Cambodia's only commercial rock climbing company 'Climbodia'. Explore Cambodia's largest cave complex only a few km's outside of Kampot town with the help of experienced local guides. No experience is necessary, beginner and experienced climbs are available. The half day trip includes abseiling, caving and via ferrata (cabled mountain traverse) as well as the rock climbing itself. Find out more here.
Day 4: Jungle Jet
Definitely the fastest and most exhilarating way to see Kampot River. Jungle Jet is one of the cheapest Jet Boat Tours in the world, with daily tours up the river starting from just $15. Get up to speeds of 80kms+ as you travel 30kms or so up river from Kampot town. With an internationally qualified driver enjoy doing 360 degree spins as you pass just inches from the banks of the river. Extended sunset tours out to the ocean are also available. Find more info here.
Day 5: Paddle Boarding
In Kampot we are lucky enough to enjoy easy access to the sea, fishing villages, billabongs, and mangroves. This makes our little town the perfect base for SUP Asia. SUP offers a range of paddle boarding experiences from a three hour lesson on the river near town to multi day excursions to remote villages and beyond. Spot wildlife, stunning sunsets and enjoy the local riverside culture. SUP also offers yoga and fitness workshops as well as 'wellness weekends' in Kampot. Read more about everything they offer here. If paddle boarding isn't your thing there are many places to rent kayaks for a lazy paddle on the river and through the mangroves.
Day 6: Kiteboarding
Less than 2kms from Karma Traders you'll find Villa Vedici, the only IKO (International Kiteboarding Organisation) licensed place in Cambodia. With internationally accredited instructors and high quality equipment, Villa Vidici has a great reputation for giving it's customers an exciting day on the water. They offer packages for beginner and experienced Kitesurfer's, including Kite Rental for those advanced enough to go it alone. They're also the only place you'll find to update or fix your gear in Cambodia with a small kite shop on site. Get more information here.
Day 7: Spa Day
After a few action packed days a relaxing day at the spa could be just what you're looking for. There is a great female only spa on the other side of the river from Karma Traders called Banteay Srey. They offer spa and massage packages, daily yoga classes and have a pool and steam room. The best part about Banteay Srey is that spa proceeds are used to help empower young Khmer women. The Banteay Srey Projects mission is to provide a safe space, job training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Cambodian girls. Find out more here. Another great spa in Kampot for guys and girls is Jolie Jolie Beauty Salon and art gallery.
Day 8: River Park Zipline/Arcadia Water Park
There is a new zipline in town which spans 200m over the river. Located a few kms down Teuk Chhou Road (near the Greenhouse restaurant), the zipline is a great way to spend a few seconds seeing the river from a new perspective. Kayak rentals are also available here. After the Zipline you'll have more than enough time to hit up the water park at Arcadia guesthouse, just a few kms further down Teuk Chhou (about 10kms from Kampot town). Arcadia is a great place to meet other young backpackers and test your nerves on their rope swings, dive tower, water slide, Russian swing and 'the blob'.
Day 9: Potshots Paintball
Fight your friends in Kampot’s only paintball arena. Play one on one if you’re struggling for numbers but obviously group play is encouraged. Rental starts at $10 per person including gear hire and 100 paintballs, $6 for every additional 100. With two playing fields loaded with natural and man made obstacles and forts (one 400m squared), Potshots can keep you and your friends occupied for hours. Message them directly here.
Day 10: Horse Riding in Kep
Follow the signs through Kep town to find ‘Ranch de la Plantation’. It’s a beautiful spot with gardens and a number of horses to meet every skill level. Very basic and cheap rides around the plantation can be arranged or full and half day trips to the national park and a local butterfly garden for the slightly more adventurous. Find out more on their Facebook page here.