Kampot is a sleepy riverside town in South Cambodia suited to simply sitting and sipping a smoothie at one of the many cafes dotted around its small centre.
We are big fans of Captain Chim’s, a small café (with attached tour agency) on the corner of the street providing great value food & tours with a friendly smile.
We took their all day tuk tuk tour calling at the Phnom Chhnork cave, a pepper farm, Kep beach, the run down palace (where King Sihnouk used to holiday), and the crab market before heading back to Kampot for a sunset boat cruise down the river. All this cost only $14 (including all entrance fees, a packed lunch & drinks!)
The tuk tuk tour allowed us to see the back roads of Kampot, winding through the countryside, whizzing past shouting, waving children, cows tied to trees, fat pigs rolling in mud, and rice threshers busy at work. I love exploring the countryside and just watching people going about their daily business.
The first port of call for the day was the Phnom Chhnork cave. The cave itself is a short walk away from the car park through lush countryside, passing over a small stream and a number of workers gathering their rice crops. The cave is located at the top of a number of steps, however it is worth the climb and you are afforded with great views of the countryside from the top. Inside the cave was an amazingly well preserved 7th century brick temple, preserved so well due to the protection of the cave.
Next stop was the pepper farm where we were shown around by the owner who told us everything we needed to know about pepper farming; he also let us taste a pepper corn straight off the tree – very spicy!
We then headed to Kep beach, which although it is not as pristine as Sihanoukville, it is still good for a dip in the sea to cool down.
We couldn’t really figure out why we were taken to the ‘palace’ as it doesn’t really appear to be much of a palace! It’s the run down holiday home of King Sihanouk and sits on the hillside above Kep, although the only remaining indicators of grandeur are the two remaining chandeliers that are in need of a little TLC.
The crab market is a hubbub of activity of mostly locals and Vietnamese tourists buying many kilos of crab and also shrimp. The crabs are kept alive in wooden baskets in the sea and only pulled up when someone wants to make a purchase. You can also have them cooked there and then if you want a seaside snack.
We arrived back in Kampot at 3:30pm with just enough time for a banana smoothie before setting off on the sunset boat cruise at 4pm. Captain Chim’s cruise was very popular and two boats set off up the river. We sailed past mangroves, and fishing boats and even stopped for a swim. On the way back our engine overheated and smoke started pouring out of the hold! Our driver had to radio to Captain Chim who was on another boat a little ahead to come and rescue us – the two boats were then tied together and we were toed safely home.