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This week, I’ve slowly worked my way south to Cambodia’s coast. I couldn’t resist stopping in Kampot for a couple of days before hitting the beaches around Sihanoukville. I fell in love with this sleepy little river town when I first came here in 2012 and was curious to see how it had changed since then. And while the town itself hasn’t changed much, with the exception of a few new guesthouses popping up around town, it has become much more popular with tourists, it seems. Three years ago, it seemed like most guesthouses only had a few guests and the town always seemed empty, but this time around, I had a hard time even finding a place to sleep, because everywhere was fully booked. The bars and restaurants along the riverfront were much fuller than they were during my first visit – Kampot has definitely established itself as a firm stop on Cambodia’s traveler trail, it seems.
Once you cross the river though, it is still as sleepy as it used to be, with almost no tourists, and a very simple life in the countryside. Wooden houses on stilts, as they are typical in rural Cambodia, dot the dry, brownish fields, which are in desperate need of some rain after months of the dry season. Farmers make their way home on rickety, old bicycles, mothers sleep in hammocks while their babies play with the multitude of puppies and chickies. I love riding my bicycle along the dusty red country roads, children waving at me, teenage girls giggling as I ride by, shyly greeting me ‘hello’. I love the slow pace of life here, and it makes me slow down automatically, as well. Now I am looking forward to a few very slow days on the beach.