Kampot – the place people never leave

Kampot is only a half an hour drive from Kep. It probably would have made more sense to go straight to Kampot and visit Kep for a day trip, however it’s all a learning curve. 

Being dropped off in the middle of Kampot town, I checked my best friend, the Maps.me app, to see how far my hostel, Karma Traders was. A 25 minute walk didn’t seem bad at the time, I told myself I could do it in under 20 minutes, but oh how wrong I was. 

15 minutes into the walk, in midday heat, an 18 kilo bag on my back and sweating buckets, I knew I had made a bad decision. I think my face must have reflected the pain I was in as a tuk tuk driver stopped, offering to give me a lift. Being fairly nearby (and on my budget for the day), I politely declined. The driver then did something that is unheard of across Cambodia (according to the Australian owners of my hostel), he gave me a free ride, as he said he was heading in that direction. I was so overwhelmed by his kindness, hoping in the back and thanking him the rest of the way. 

The afternoon was spent exploring this enchanting riverside town, which has a run down 19th century French colonial influence to it that makes it endearing. The evening, I had dinner in the hostel again watching another incredible sunset. I really love Cambodia! 

Monday 20th March

The majority of backpackers I’ve met average wake up time is between 9am to 10.30am. Mine is between 6am to 7.30am. Monday was no different as I woke up at 7am. 

Renting a scooter, I took one of the most exciting drives up and around the Bokor national park. This was definitely the highlight of my trip. At the peak of the mountain there was an incredible view, as well as an abandoned hotel and casino, which is a big tourist attraction. Being up so early, I managed to miss the crowds of people and tours, heading back down as it started to get busy. Foolishly I didn’t get enough petrol, so the ride down was interesting. Filling up the tank, I decided as I have a scooter may as well do some more exploring, so spent the rest of the day driving around. 

The evening was chilled as after the ‘family dinner’ in the hostel (and another sunset), I visited two night markets with a girl in my dorm, trying fried soya ice cream made in a way I’ve never seen before by the sweetest Italian guy. I then had a few cheeky beers in the hostel, before going to bed. That’s my short and sweet time in Kampot. I met quite a few Westerners in the town, all of which worked in the hostel or at bars/cafes nearby and who speaking to, never wanted to leave! I can understand why – it’s a lovely town, with a lot of personality. I could have easily spent a few days there. However, I suppose the reason people love it is because its quite Westernised with its shops, cafes and restaurants. For me, I wanted to visit the more rural areas of Cambodia. 

Now onto my next stop – a small island called Koh Rong Sanloem. 

Jessica Storm ✌️

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