Gateway to Bokor National Park, the small town of Kampot sits 5 km inland on the south-western shores of Cambodia and at the base of the Green Elephant Mountains. A visit to this colonial market town will give you a sense of stepping back in time. The town itself is unremarkable, but there are some lovely riverfront bars, restaurants and hotels with a charming colonial feel. They are especially atmospheric in the afternoon when you can enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets over the nearby Bokor Mountains and Kampong Bay River.
The area is particularly well-known for its pepper, often regarded as some of the best in the world. Pepper production here has been documented as far back as the 13th century, and the climate and soil in the province are ideal for the plants, providing a distinct aromatic flavour that has made it such a world-renowned product. A stay in Kampot would be incomplete without a visit to a plantation to discover how several variations of the famous spice are grown, harvested and eaten.
Kampot’s surrounding countryside is scenic, tranquil and well worth a drive along the red dirt roads as you pass through villages, plantations, paddy fields, palm trees and locals going about their daily lives. You can even wander up into some of the surrounding caves, of which there is a number in the region, and a climb up here affords lovely views out over the fields below. As for hotels in the town, it has become somewhat a hub for expats and backpackers, however, there are several boutique options we can recommend.
In Depth Cambodia Holidays:
Grand Tour of Cambodia
A grand 18-day tour takes in Angkor and Phnom Penh, with an exploration of the remote Mondulkiri, Battambang and the south coast.
Temples, Nature and Islands
Veer off-the-beaten-track in Cambodia and Thailand; Angkor to idyllic Koh Kood island via the Cardamom Mountains.
Forgotten South Coast of Cambodia
This tour through Cambodia's beautiful south coast focuses on the bewitching colonial towns of Kampot and Kep.
Hidden Gems of Rural Cambodia
Get off-the-beaten-track to explore Cambodia's remote northeast, combined with the majestic Angkor temples and Phnom Penh.