Cambodia Part 3

Kampot

Kampot was totally worth it. Our accommodation was the most basic and adventurous we experienced during our trip. The Ramo Resort was a bunch of wooden cabins on the Kampot River, each with their own hammock.

Although the cabin had a lockable door, there were so many holes and gapes between the wooden plates that we expected every kind of visitors during the night. At the end, the only one who showed up was a welcomed gecko – a relief for us. They love eating spiders, so obviously we made friends with geckos all the time. During the night we heard all kinds of strange noises, coming underneath our cabin from the river, the water thrusting to the shore, and what we thought could have been monkeys.

Kampot Rama Resort Hammock
Jessica enjoying the view of the Kampot River

We first explored the Kampot village by foot in the rain, drinking fresh coconut water from the biggest coconuts we’d ever seen. Every house seemed to have its own store underneath a metal roof or in their garage and we paid a local 80 cents for two huge coconuts. You know you’ve left the big cities when prices are this low. From our resort we walked over a train bridge where all the people, villagers and tourists alike, seemed to gather. We have no clue if it’s because of the view you get standing in the middle of the bridge over the Kampot River, or if it’s a shortcut to the village.

In the city centre there’s the market in all its khmer glory. A culture shock  cluster of everything you could imagine in a Southeast Asia marketplace. Delicious fruit and vegetables, clothes, but also unfortunately a whole range of cadavres and animal parts, disgusting smell and a lack of hygiene. The deeper you go into the market, the worse it gets, as only a few sunrays break through the roof and the air gets muggy and sultry. We didn’t last in there very long.

Kampot Market
Streets of Kampot

Then there’s the Wat Pichey Udong nearby, worth a visit to get a look at another typical temple of Cambodia (see this post’s featured image).

Monks in Kampot Cambodia
Monks in Kampot

In the evening we hopped on a boat that should take us up the river for a nice sunset view. While the river tour itself was a marvelous experience, the boat we were on wasn’t. Still better than the other party boats we came across, but more touristy than we hoped (it had loud music playing, flashy lights equipped). A tuk-tuk got us to the village to eat dinner at Simple Things, where we already had a bite after we first dropped off the bus earlier that day. It was probably the best choice for vegan food in Kampot and all in all we ended up there 3 times. Unfortunately it was more western than khmer food and we felt a little ashamed after burgers and avocado sandwiches, but it was worth it!

We decided to walk along the river and ignore the first tuk-tuk drivers who were already waiting for us. We thought we would find one anyway half-way to the resort and so we wouldn’t only be able to walk a bit after eating, but also pay less for the ride. In the end, we didn’t come across anyone else, as we left the busy centre and had to walk the rest by foot in the dark. Wasn’t so bad, too…

We slept a lot better than expected in our basic cabin full of holes and gaps, thanks to the exhausting day we had. In the morning we woke up at 5 am due to the motorized fishing boats that passed our room on the river after a night out on the sea. The sun began to rise so we got up as well and started packing our backpacks.

Fisherman on the Kampot River

Kampot Pepper

Kampot is known for its pepper, so we had to visit one of the plantations called La Plantation. A tuk-tuk got us there, but you could easily rent a motorbike and drive yourself if you don’t mind bumpy roads and muddy paths. And don’t forget a map or gps, you’re likely to get lost between the rice fields and farms.

A chat with the Simple Things staff (where we had eaten breakfast before the trip) provided us with useful information: a tuk-tuk drive both ways shouldn’t cost more than 12$ to the farms. On our search we came across ridiculous offers starting from 36$ and various day trips. We finally managed to find one more serious driver that accepted 12$ and tipped another 3$.
After a short introduction of the history of Kampot pepper, we took a guided tour with a small group. To our surprise, everything was free.

Back in Kampot we were terribly hungry again and got vegan dumplings at the Ecran Noodles and Dumpling House, next to the river. And not to forget a huge, refreshing coconut. Still hungry, we made our way to Epic Arts Café for a small dessert. The café is run by deaf and disabled people who also sell their art upstairs.

In the evening, a fully-packed mini-bus took us to Sihanoukville. 

Jim
Author

Cambodia Travel Log

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