Kampot is a city located in southern Cambodia, along the Preaek Tuek Chhu River. The tag ‘city’ can be quite misleading as Kampot feels more like a charming laid back town.
Kampot offers a taste of authentic Cambodian life and is known for its sprawling pepper plantations and salt fields, lovely French-era buildings. The lovely riverside city features numerous bars, restaurants and cafes to indulge in the delicious local cuisine and several markets where you can pick up souvenirs and local handicrafts. You can also stop at the Kampot Provincial Museum to learn more about the history and culture of Kampot and the surrounding region. The museum is housed in a French-era building and displays numerous artefacts and photographs.
Phnom Chhnork is a Hindu cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located around 8 km away from the city centre. A scenic drive through vast paddy fields and small villages will take you to this amazing cave temple complex carved out of limestone rocks. The ancient temple dates back to the 7th-century Funan era, once a major Hindu state in southeast Asia. You will have to go down around 200 stairs to reach the temple where you can see the shrine with the Shiva Linga and rock formations of elephants and other elements from Hinduism.
Pepper is the major export of Kampot and you will find numerous pepper plantations in this region. La Plantation Pepper Farm is a famous farm and you can go on a guided tour here and learn about how different varieties of peppers are grown and processed. There is also a restaurant, where you can savour dishes cooked with fresh spices and a small store, where you can buy pepper for cheap prices.
Bokor National Park, also known as Preah Monivong Bokor National Park, is located around 30 km from Kampot city. The park covers over 1400 sq km and is nestled amidst the Dâmrei mountain range. In the park, you will find the abandoned Bokor Hill Station, which was once a hill retreat for the French. The most popular attraction here is the Catholic Church, which was built by the French in the 1920s. The park is home to abundant wildlife including wild elephants, tigers, leopards, gibbons and hundreds of bird species. Trekking to the Popokvil Waterfalls through dense jungles is a popular activity. Apart from a lovely natural environment, the park also houses the Wat Sampov Pram Buddhist temple and the Black Palace, formerly a royal summer palace. From both these sites, you will get breathtaking views of the surrounding forests and even the Gulf of Thailand on a clear day.
From kayaking and paddleboarding in the Kampong river to kitesurfing and going on a boat tour along its coastline in the Gulf of Thailand, Kampot has a good number of activities lined up for its visitors. You can also try rock climbing, rent a motorbike and ride through the scenic countryside or simply unwind and relax at a traditional Cambodian spa.
Rather than an impressive list of attractions, Kampot offers loads of experiences to its visitors. If you wish to explore rural Cambodia and live the life of a local, then Kampot is an excellent destination to visit.
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