10 incredible things to do in Kampot

10 incredible thing to do in Kampot

Planning a trip through Cambodia? Then the picturesque Kampot is an absolute must on your itinerary. Kampot is known for its relaxed atmosphere, colonial architecture, and breathtaking natural surroundings. It’s the perfect place to unwind and fully enjoy the local charm. Moreover, Kampot is brimming with incredible things to do. Read all about it in my blog and discover why Kampot is a must-visit destination on your Cambodia itinerary!

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Why should you visit Kampot?

Located in the south of Cambodia, Kampot is a destination you definitely shouldn’t miss during your trip. It’s also the perfect stop when traveling from Phnom Penh to Koh Rong Samloem.

This charming provincial capital still breathes the atmosphere of the French colonial era, evident in the old colonial houses and the wide, dusty streets. This tranquil town is situated along the calm Praek Tuek Chhu River, where fishing boats and wooden bungalows adorn the landscape.

Kampot offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can truly unwind. But despite its laid-back vibe, there is still plenty to see and do! Wander through the compact center or rent a bike to explore the surroundings, including caves, salt fields, and the famous pepper plantations. Or take to the river for an adventurous exploration by kayak or paddleboard.

In short, Kampot is the perfect place to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the beautiful nature and rich culture.

How to get to Kampot?  

Traveling to Kampot is easy from various major destinations in Cambodia and even Vietnam. Through 12togoAsia, you can look up all possible routes and schedules, book directly online, and reserve your seat—quickly and easily.

From Phnom Penh, you can take a bus, which takes about four hours. There are multiple bus companies that depart daily, so you can always find a suitable time. Additionally, there is a train to Kampot that takes about five hours. However, the train does not run daily, so it is wise to check the schedule in advance.

From Sihanoukville, the bus journey takes about two hours, with various options regarding departure times. There is also a train connection to Kampot, which takes about two hours as well.

If you are traveling from Siem Reap, the night night bus is the best option, with a travel time of about ten hours.

How to get around in Kampot? 

In Kampot, the best way to get around is by tuk-tuk, which you can easily book via the Grab app. This is a convenient and affordable way to move around the city and also to reach major attractions in the area such as the pepper plantations or Bokor National Park.

If you want more freedom and wish to explore at your own pace, renting a scooter is an excellent option.

Additionally, you can rent a bicycle to explore Kampot and its nearby surroundings. Bicycling is a peaceful way to discover the charming town and the surrounding countryside while enjoying the beautiful landscape and local atmosphere. A fun way to explore the city by bike is through Jason’s bike tour.

How many days do you need to explore Kampot? 

I recommend staying in Kampot for about three days to thoroughly explore the city and its surroundings and to fully relax in this beautiful rural setting. Of course, this depends on what you want to see. So, plan ahead to decide which attractions you would like to visit and how much time you will need for them.

Where to stay in Kampot? 

In Kampot, there are various accommodation options depending on your budget and preference. You can stay in cozy, budget-friendly guesthouses with a homely atmosphere, such as La Maison de Soriya, The Pepperian Homestay Vegan Food and Bar, or the exclusively for women Banteay Srey Women’s Only Traditional Spa and Homestay.

For extra comfort, you can opt for beautiful boutique hotels and resorts with swimming pools and restaurants. My favorites are:

If you enjoy a unique experience, choose a stay along the river, where you can fully relax in nature and enjoy a stunning view. We stayed in a hut at Kampot Riverfront Boutique with a river view. It was absolutely worth it; every day we woke up to a beautiful river view and went to sleep with the same breathtaking view. We happily spent our free moments on the water with a kayak or paddleboard.

Kampot Riverfront Boutique, Kampot, Cambodia
Kampot Riverfront Boutique, Kampot, Cambodia

Other options include:

  • RiverTree Villa & Resort: Here you experience world-class service and can enjoy relaxation by the pool or adventure on the river.
  • Eden Eco Village: Here you stay in an overwater hut and enjoy a more back-to-basics experience.

Each stay in Kampot provides an excellent base for exploring the city and its surroundings.

10 incredible things to do in Kampot

1. Discover the charming center of Kampot

Explore the charming center of Kampot, which still breathes the atmosphere of Cambodia’s French colonial period. A walk along the riverside is a delightful experience, as is strolling through the wide avenues to admire the beautiful colonial architecture. You will see a fascinating mix of sometimes dilapidated, sometimes beautifully restored buildings.

Kampot, Cambodia
Kampot, Cambodia
Kampot, Cambodia

The most atmospheric places are found around the old market and along the river, where numerous bars and restaurants invite you to enjoy cozy dining or simply relax with a drink. You can explore the city on your own, but if you would like more information, you can also participate in a free walking tour.

As the sun sets, Kampot’s nightlife comes alive. You can enjoy delicious cocktails or hit the dance floor and dance the night away.

Another landmark in the city is the large roundabout with a huge statue of a durian. Kampot was once the center for the cultivation and trade of this exotic fruit until the Khmer Rouge period abruptly ended this. This statue stands as a spicy symbol of Kampot’s rich, albeit turbulent, past.

monument of durian in Kampot, Cambodia

2. Learn more about the history of Kampot at the Kampot Provincial Museum

Discover the Kampot Provincial Museum, beautifully situated on the river just south of the Old Market. The museum is housed in the old Governor’s mansion, which has been beautifully restored.

Here, you can delve into the history of Kampot with six large panels that highlight the major historical periods, from pre-Angkorian times to the present, with special focus on the colonial era under French rule.

There are also 38 photos displaying various moments from Kampot’s past, and you can take a look at some archaeological finds from the region, mainly from the pre-Angkorian period. These have been provided by the Regional Directorate of Fine Arts.

While you can freely explore what are now only dusty, abandoned rooms upstairs, the ground floor offers a fascinating glimpse into history.

For just 2 euros, this museum is definitely worth a visit to learn more about the history and architecture of Kampot, including important sites such as the Old Bridge and the Fish Market.

3. Explore Kampot from the water

The Praek Tuek Chhu River, also known as the broad, silver lifeline of Kampot, adds a magical touch to the city. This clean and safe river invites you to swim, take relaxing boat rides, kayak, or simply enjoy the serene atmosphere along the banks.

If you’re up for some adventure, consider staying at one of the accommodations along the river. This way, you can easily take a refreshing dip in the water. Many of these places also offer kayaks and paddleboards to their guests, ideal for exploring the surroundings from the water.

Praek Tuek Chhu river, Kampot, Cambodia
Kampot, Cambodia
Kampot, Cambodia

At night, you can also experience a unique natural phenomenon here, similar to what you see on Koh Rong Samloem: bioluminescence. This spectacular effect is caused by microscopic organisms that light up when moved. It’s like swimming in a sea of stars.

If you want to enjoy the Praek Tuek Chhu River but prefer not to get wet, visit some of the waterfront bars and restaurants that offer phenomenal views, especially during the breathtaking sunset.

Another fantastic way to explore Kampot from the water is with a sunset cruise. Enjoy the beautiful sunset while gently floating along the river, a perfect way to end your day.

4. Kayaking through the Green Cathedral

Just 5 km north of Kampot lies the most idyllic part of the Praek Tuek Chhu River, better known as the Green Cathedral. Here, you paddle through an enchanting tunnel of overhanging palm branches that mimic the grandeur of a European cathedral ceiling, hence the name ‘Green Cathedral’.

Green cathedral, Kampot, Cambodia

This magical stretch begins near the Bopha Prey Kampot Hotel on the Tuek Chhu River, where you can easily rent a kayak from various accommodations. The route takes about 1 to 2 hours and continually offers new surprises around each bend. Along the waterway, there are several guesthouses with restaurants where you can stop for a bite and a drink by the riverside. If you’d like to head out on the water with a guide, you can certainly book a tour, often combined with other incredible things to do in Kampot.

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This peaceful piece of nature offers breathtaking views and a soothing experience, perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get acquainted with the real river life along the Praek Tuek Chhu in a unique way.

5. Spend a day at Bokor National Park and discover all its highlights

Bokor National Park is one of the most popular things to do in Kampot. This vast nature park offers breathtaking mountain views, lush forests, and historical remains. Moreover, you can also spot a lot of local fauna and flora. In short, it’s the perfect destination for an adventurous day trip.

From Kampot, you can easily reach Bokor National Park by scooter or tuktuk. Of course, you can also opt for organized tours with a guide, often combined with other fun things to do in Kampot. Below are my favorites. 

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The ride to the top of Bokor Hill is an adventure in itself, with winding roads and panoramic views. Once at the top, you can enjoy the cool climate and fresh air and explore the various highlights within Bokor National Park.

Bokor Hill Station

Discover the past at Bokor Hill Station, an abandoned French colonial resort built in the 1920s. This resort was originally constructed as a retreat for the French to escape the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh. In the 1940s, the French abandoned the station due to local uprisings, and it was not reoccupied until the 1960s. Recently, the station has been renovated into a hotel where you can now stay overnight. Enjoy the breathtaking views from the garden or walk to nearby ruins for perfect photos.

Bokor hill station aka Le Bokor Palace
Wat Sampov Pram Pagoda

Visit the colorful Wat Sampov Pram Pagoda, built in the 1920s by King Monivong due to a local legend. This beautiful temple not only provides a moment of reflection but also treats you to an insane view over the coast and surrounding mountains. It is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beauty around you.

Wat Sampov Pram Pagoda, Bokor National Park, Kampot, Cambodia
Lok Yeay Mao Monument

Admire the gigantic Lok Yeay Mao Monument, a 29-meter high statue of the guardian goddess Lok Yeay Mao, atop a mountain at 1075 meters high. This statue is a tribute to the peaceful spirit that presides over the forests and coastal provinces of Cambodia. It’s not only a striking feature in the park but also an important piece in the recent history of religious art. It attracts many visitors who come to pay their respects and ask for protection.

Lok Yeay Mao Monument, Bokot National park, Kampot, Cambodia
Popokvil Waterfall

Take a hike to the impressive Popokvil Waterfall, especially during the rainy season, a must-see attraction. The waterfall is at its most beautiful then because monsoon rains create mists that dance around the top of the waterfall. It’s name also literally means ‘spinning clouds’.

Popokvil Waterfall, Bokot National park, Kampot, Cambodia

Popokvil Waterfall  is located a few kilometers from Bokor Lake and is accessible via various hiking trails ranging from two to eight hours. Visiting the waterfall offers a refreshing escape from the heat and a beautiful natural spectacle.

6. Visit the famous pepper farm: La Plantation

If you’re in Kampot, you must stop by La Plantation. At this renowned pepper farm, you’ll receive a free tour where you learn all about the famed Kampot pepper. Upon arrival, guides take you through the pepper and spice fields and the orchard, explaining how everything is organically grown. You’ll quickly understand why this pepper is so beloved by top chefs worldwide.

La Plantation, Kampot, Cambodia
La Plantation, Kampot, Cambodia
La Plantation, Kampot, Cambodia
La Plantation, Kampot, Cambodia

After the tour, you can taste different types of pepper. You’ll also receive useful tips on how to use the peppers in your own kitchen. Naturally, you can also purchase the products here. They make the perfect souvenir to take home.

At the farm’s restaurant, you can also enjoy local dishes prepared with fresh spices from the plantation, such as beef Lok Lak with Kampot pepper. Don’t miss the unique Kampot pepper ice cream for dessert.

For cooking enthusiasts, there is a cooking workshop where you can learn to make traditional Khmer dishes. Note: this workshop is for a fee, and you must book in advance via the website.

Additionally, La Plantation is committed to preserving Khmer architecture. This is evident in the beautifully restored traditional houses on the property. Don’t miss the tropical garden that will stimulate all your senses and teach you more about Cambodia’s rich flora.

La Plantation, Kampot, Cambodia

In short, a trip to La Plantation is educational, tasty, and a real immersion in local culture and nature. You can get there by scooter or tuktuk, or you can opt for a tour that is often offered in combination with other fun things to do in Kampot.

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7. Admire the ancient temple in Phnom Chhngok Cave

For those who love adventure, exploring the caves nearby is a must. The most beautiful cave is Phnom Chhngok Cave, just 12 kilometers from Kampot. It is the most impressive because of its pre-Angkorian temple from the 7th century. You can easily get there with a scooter or tuktuk.

view from Phnom Chhngok Grot, Kampot, Cambodia

Once at the entrance of the cave, you have a stunning view over the surrounding rice fields and hills. When you actually enter the cave, you immediately catch a glimpse of impressive limestone formations that resemble an elephant. Once inside, a staircase takes you past a Buddhist shrine and a viewpoint over parts of the cave. Then, you can descend to the temple itself, which is built against a wall and around a stalactite.

Phnom Chhngok Grot, Kampot, Cambodia
Phnom Chhngok Grot, Kampot, Cambodia
Phnom Chhngok Grot, Kampot, Cambodia

Admission is only one dollar, but it’s really a good idea to pay extra for a guide. They can not only help you find your way through the complex cave system but also point out impressive shapes in the stalactites and stalagmites, such as dragons, snakes, eagles, and fish.

Can’t get enough of caves? Then you can also discover other caves in the area such as Phnom Kbal Romeas and Phnom Totong.

8. Discover the Secret Lake near Kampot

Near Kampot, you will find the Secret Lake of Kampot, also known as Tomnop Tek Krolar. This is truly a beautiful spot in the middle of nature, perfect for escaping the daily hustle and bustle. The lake is surrounded by impressive green hills and is close to both pepper plantations and the Phnom Chhnork cave.

Secret Lake, Kampot, Cambodia

Originally, this lake was actually a dam, built by slaves during the Khmer Rouge era, making it a place with a profound history. One of the best things here is the floating bamboo huts on the water. You can rent one of these huts to relax, enjoy the view, or even have a picnic day.

Secret Lake, Kampot, Cambodia

The lake is just 8 kilometers from the city center of Kampot and is accessible by scooter or tuktuk. You will ride through a beautiful landscape, passing rice fields and the tranquil countryside.

When you’re there, you can swim, kayak, or just relax in a hut. Be sure to also visit the Khmer Root Cafe for some tasty veggie snacks. From this bungalow, you have a beautiful view of the lake. This “secret” spot is ideal for a relaxed afternoon!

9. Admire the Salt Pans near Kampot

Pepper is not the only thing Kampot is known for; salt is just as important! If you’re traveling through Cambodia, you must stop at the salt fields. They play a large role in the local economy and are particularly interesting to see during the dry season when salt harvesting is underway.

Salt fields, Kampot, Cambodia
Salt fields, Kampot, Cambodia
Salt fields, Kampot, Cambodia

The salt extraction process is simple but fascinating: seawater is pumped into large, shallow ponds, much like rice fields. Under the blazing sun, the water evaporates, leaving behind a thick layer of salt. Local workers then gather this salt into piles and transport it to storage facilities.

These salt fields are mainly located southeast of Kampot, along the road to Kep and toward Phnom Duong Beach. It’s truly special to see how this traditional salt harvesting works.

Additionally, the fields are also a great spot for photography, especially during sunrise or sunset when the light beautifully illuminates the salt crystals. You can also meet the local community and learn more about their daily lives and how they make a living from salt harvesting. A visit to the salt fields of Kampot is not only educational but also a beautiful experience during your trip!

Salt fields, Kampot, Cambodia

10. Spend a relaxing day at Kep Beach

If you want to relax on the beach, a day trip from Kampot to Kep is a great idea. In the 1950s and 60s, Kep was Cambodia’s hotspot, featuring luxurious colonial villas and exclusive beach clubs. Although its glory days faded during the civil war, Kep has made a comeback. Today, the town offers a delightful white sand beach and an iconic crab market that is a must-visit.

kep beach, Kampot, Cambodia

Kep is approximately a 30 minute ride from Kampot. You can get there by scooter or tuktuk, or via the Crab Shuttle. The Crab Shuttle is a daily boat service between Kampot and Kep, operating on a converted local fishing boat. For $10 one-way or $13.50 round-trip, you depart at 9 AM from Kampot and can return around sunset, with options for continuing on to Rabbit Island. Of course, you can also opt for an organized tour, often in combination with other epic things to do in Kampot. Below are my favorites.

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Start your day with a dip in the warm tropical waters of Kep Beach. Afterwards, you can relax on one of the paid sunbeds or just chill with a drink on the sand. Make sure to also visit the famous crab market, where you can select fresh crab straight from the sea and have it cooked in a delicious Kampot pepper sauce.

Kep Crab Market, Kampot, Cambodia

For an extra adventure, you can make a trip to Koh Tonsay, also known as Rabbit Island. This beautiful little island is just a half-hour boat ride from Kep and is perfect for a relaxed beach day. You can enjoy a peaceful time with minimal tourist crowds, as the island has little infrastructure. Boats depart twice a day from Kep and a ticket costs about $8.

Rabbit island, Kep, Kampot, Cambodia

So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable day in Kep and perhaps even Rabbit Island.

Where can you find good food in Kampot?  

Cocktails at Rikitikitavi

Relaxing with a cocktail in hand on the wooden balcony of the Rikitikitavi hotel is the perfect way to end your day. Grab a spot at the bar for the best sunset views. You can also enjoy delicious local and international dishes here.

Snacking at the Kampot Night Market

The Kampot Night Market comes alive every day from 5:00 PM. Locals flock here for the lively atmosphere, the fair, and of course, the Khmer street food. If you don’t want to spend too much, this is the place to find the best deals for a quick bite.

Nom Tom Bakery for sweet lovers

Nom Tom is a mobile bakery run by Belgian expats that roams the streets of Kampot. You can find the bakery truck from Tuesday to Saturday by the riverside, opposite Vanna’s Restaurant. They have delicious croissants and many other treats that sell out quickly, so be sure to get there early!

Epic Arts Café

At Epic Arts Café, you can combine delicious food with a good cause. They provide employment for people with disabilities, and the proceeds go to inclusive art projects. It’s a perfect place where you can enjoy delicious meals and cakes in an accessible setting.

Twenty Three Bistro

Twenty Three is a relaxed bistro in the center of Kampot. They specialize in modern European dishes made from fresh local ingredients. The kitchen is open until 9:30 PM, but the bar stays open longer. Try their local beers, international wines, and unique cocktails.

Kampot, with its many things to do, is truly a must-visit place in Cambodia. You’ll find the perfect mix of stunning nature, cultural hotspots, and authentic local vibes. Whether you’re in the mood for an adventure, interested in history, or just want to relax in a beautiful setting, Kampot has it all. Don’t let this enchanting place pass you by and be sure to dedicate several days of your Cambodia trip to exploring Kampot.

Which things to do in Kampot are on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.

Read more about Cambodia?

Thanks for reading. 

Yours truly,  

Sarah 

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10 incredible things to do in Kampot
10 incredible things to do in Kampot

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