Last Updated on March 9, 2016
Kampot is a small river-side town in the South of Cambodia, not far from the beaches of the south coast. It might feel sleepy, but the change in the air is palpable: a new tourist market hall is being built, boutique hotels are moving in, the riverside promenade has gotten a makeover, crumbling buildings in the old French quarter are being restored. In Kampot, it feels like half the town is under construction. We absolutely loved Kampot, as a great place to kick back for a few days, enjoy good food and cheap cocktails in one of the riverside restaurants and discover where to famous Kampot pepper comes from.
Our GlobetrotterGirls Comprehensive Guide to Kampot, Cambodia
Click the links to skip to a particular section, or read the whole guide in one go!
- Where to stay in Kampot
- What to do in Kampot
- Where to eat in Kampot
- Where to find free wi-fi in Kampot
Where to stay in Kampot
A few years ago, accommodation in Kampot concentrated mainly around the so-called ‘guesthouse street’ a few blocks away from the river front, but recently a few more Khmer hotels opened closer to the river and a few boutique hotels have gone in to restored colonial houses in the former French quarter. Gone are the days when budget hotels ruled Kampot, there are now mid-range and high-end accommodation now that Kampot’s popularity is growing beyond the backpacker community.
This new, clean hotel in the mid-town area has AC or fan rooms, hot/cold water, en-suite bathrooms, cable TV, desk and chair for $7 – $15 a night.
A charming, though hard to pronounce, boutique hotel right on the riverfront, Rikitikitavi has free wifi, a restaurant with a great menu and nice views over the river and rooms for $35 – $45 www.rikitikitavi-kampot.com
Le Soleil d’Or
New boutique hotel in a beautifully restored French-colonial building just one block from the river, we didn’t see rooms here, but they are in prime location right in the center of town for $35 – $45
Bokor Mountain Lodge
Located right at the riverfront in an old colonial building, the Bolor Mountain Lodge has nice rooms and the restaurant downstairs has a large, varied menu. Rooms run $30 – $45 – Book here
A new-ish hotel on guesthouse road, all of the spacious, clean rooms come with hot shower, free wi-fi. $6 – 7 (fan room), $13 – 15 (AC room) – Book here
One of the original guesthouses on Guesthouse Street, Blissful remains a favorite among backpackers. Nice garden restaurant & bar, free wi-fi.$5 (double, private bath), $4 (double, shared bath), $2 (dorm bed) www.blissfulguesthouse.com
Nice guesthouse on the Guesthouse Street, basic accommodation, restaurant on-site, bicycle rentals. $8 (Fan), $15 (AC).
On Guesthouse Street, we like the feel of this colonial villa with a big yard. $5 (Fan), $15 (AC), $8 (bungalow), $15 (private bungalow, AC) – Book here
On Guesthouse Street, spacious & spotless rooms in a big building, restaurant on-site $6 (Fan), $15 (AC)
Boutique hotel in the center of Kampot, in a nicely restored French-colonial building. $35 – $49 – book here
Nice hotel with swimming pool, bath, cable TV and wi-fi. All rooms come with hot water and AC-option. Their sister hotel Borey Bokor II is similar, but without swimming pool. $15 – $40 – book here
At the far end of the main park in Kampot, basic rooms, free wi-fi, free bicycle rental. On-site restaurant. $3 – 12 (rooms), $2.50 (dorms)
New Khmer-run hotel two blocks from the river, hot shower, cable TV, Fan or AC rooms available, free wi-fi. We stayed here, didn’t love it/didn’t hate it. From $15 – book here
Guesthouse 500m south of the town center, nice garden setting. Nice rooms with AC, TV and DVD player, hot water. Complimentary tea & coffee. Patio restaurant (pizzas from wood-fired oven) $20 – $25 www.meaculpakampot.com
Stylish bungalows 1km north of the town center, right at the river on a sandy beach. All bungalows have AC, bungalow, king-size beds, cable TV and hot water. Free wi-fi and breakfast included in the room rate. Restaurant and bar on-site. $13 – $68 Book here
Riverside accommodation just outside of Kampot
Villa Vedici (2km upstream)
New, small riverside hotel with swimming pool and riverside terrace, offers river cruises and kayak trips. All rooms have cable TV & DVD player, fridge, safe and wi-fi. $25 – Book here
Ganesha Eco-Resort (4km upstream)
Family-run eco-resort right by the river, free-wifi and bicycle rental. Canoes & motorbikes can be rented, and there is an on-site restaurant. $7 – $49 – Book here
Bodhi Villa (2km upstream)
Riverside bungalows, rooftop and treehouse bungalows, restaurant & bar, chill room with movies, pool table, dorms . $4 – $8 www.bodhivilla.com
Check out the most up-to-date list of the ever growing number of guesthouses and hotels in Kampot on Booking.com!
What to do in Kampot
Kampot can easily be explored in a couple of days, but there are plenty of day trips to keep you busy for 4-5 days of more.
Kampot is world famous for its Kampot pepper and there are various tour operators who offer countryside tours that include a stop at a pepper farm. Other stops (on all the tours) are a fishing village, a cave with a truly ancient Indian Buddha shrine and the salt fields around Kampot. Orchid Tours (on Guesthouse Road) offers the same tour with an additional visit to Rabbit Island. The rustic island is just off the coast of Kep and there are options to have lunch either on the island or in the town of Kep. This all-day tour costs more than the other pepper/salt/countryside tours, but well worth it. You can also hire local tuktuk drivers for independent tours of the same items (negotiate the stops and price).
Rent a bicycle & explore the area
We did this and absolutely loved it! Several guesthouses offer bicycle rentals (Pepper Guesthouse, The Cozy Elephant) for $1 per day and even though Kampot is a walkable city, renting a bicycle allows you to explore beyond the old French-colonial quarter, ride along the river, or cross one of the bridges and get a glimpse of the lives of the Muslim fishermen who live on the other side of the river. Entirely rural and absolutely charming, riding slowly past little stores and out onto deep red dirt roads is a great way to spend the afternoon.
Get a massage
There are several massage studios along the riverfront. Many are good, including massages by the blind (common in Cambodia). It’s usually around $5 for a one-hour full-body massage.
Take a day trip to Kep
The seaside resort of Kep is 25 kilometers east of Kampot – it takes about 40 minutes by car or tuktuk to get there. Kep is famous for its excellent seafood, so it is well worth visiting the little town for lunch. Many people enjoy relaxing afternoons at the beach there, but it is not exactly a great beach town. We preferred taking the boat over to Rabbit Island for a more tropical feeling on the islands palm tree lined beach.
Visit Bokor National Park
Bokor National Park is a big nature reserve about 1.5 hours from Kampot, with an abandoned hotel casino on top of the mountain. From up here, there are fantastic views over the jungle and the ocean. The buildings remain from the time of the French regiment in Cambodia, and plans have been made to build a new casino there. Bokor National Park is a fantastic place to hike and to spot wildlife (including tigers, if you are very lucky), a beautiful hike is the 5km trail to the Popokvil Waterfall. All-day tours leave from Kampot for about $10 including lunch (or hire a tuktuk and negotiate a day rate).
Enjoy live music
For such a sleepy little city, there is a great music scene in Kampot. Bokor Mountain Lodge has live music on Sundays from 5pm and Art Bar Craze,a trendy bar just off the river, has live music on Saturdays.
Where to eat in Kampot
Kampot is full of good restaurants in all price ranges, offering everything from Khmer (Cambodian) and Asian cuisine to Western fare or Italian cuisine.
Bokor Mountain Lodge
Riverside restaurant, wide range of Western dishes (pizza, pasta, burgers, potato wedges $2.75, hummus & pita $2.50, good salads), free wi-fi, Happy Hour.
Hands down the best coffee in all of Cambodia, Cafe Espresso is a coffee-lover’s paradise. This recently opened coffee shop with specialty coffees and a small, homemade food menu (quesadillas, breakfasts, home-made baked beans, French Toast, salads) and free wi-fi. Open daily from 8am – 6pm. http://espressokampot.blogspot.com
ABC Bar (Art Bar Craze)
Small bar right by the new market hall, Happy Hour 6 – 8pm, Draft beer $075, Ice cream with liquor $2.00. French-style food, hummus $1.50, eggplant $1.75. Live music on Saturdays. Art exhibition. Open from 2pm. Wednesdays closed. www.abc-kampot.blogspot.com
Once we found this place, we ate here again and again! This riverside restaurant upstairs from the hotel by the same name has Happy Hour 5 – 7pm, breakfasts, sandwiches and a creative menu with French-colonial Khmer dishes and delicious dishes such as chicken yogurt wraps, satay skewers, eggplant & parmigiana, bruschetta, kebab, ribs, veggie burritos and Dani’s favorite – kuree krahom (vegetarian Khmer curry).
This trendy riverfront bar with pool table, full bar with great international cocktails, Western and Asian dishes like cheap cheese platter, pasta, burgers, salads for $2.75, spring rolls, veggie sticks & dip and breakfast. Free wi-fi. Happy Hour 5 – 7pm. Mondays closed.
This is the second restaurant of Sisters I & III in nearby Sihanoukville, and there is no question why it expanded. The wide range of inexpensive cakes (carrot cake, lemon merengue, chocolate pie, banana bread, apple pie), also good breakfast. Located on the road that leads from the riverfront (Bokor Mountain Lodge) to the 2000 monument.
Epic Arts Café
Great selection of light meals and very vegetarian-friendly. Couscous & chickpea salad, eggplant rolls with couscous on the side, fruit shakes, baked goods, coffee. Free wifi. All profits go to help Kampot’s deaf & disabled community. Open daily from 8am – 6pm.
Best selection of pizzas in Kampot, free delivery available. Also serve sandwiches and bruschetta, burgers and drinks. The menu includes creative pizzas such as a Hibernating Bear, Khmer Siciliana (with local dried fish), The Olive-r Twist (black, green and stuffed pimiento olives), Spicy Thai chicken pizza, mashed potato and bacon pie, upside down pizza (loads of ingredients, cheese and tomato sauce on top). Also: margherita sandwiches, P.L.T. sandwich (with Pepperoni), garlic bread, onion rings & thick-cut chips. On the road that leads from the riverfront ( Bokor Mountain Lodge) to the 2000 monument.
Other restaurants include:
Mea Culpa (nice patio restaurant at Mea Culpa guesthouse 500 meters south of the town center. Khmer dishes as well as international cuisine, and pizza from a wood-fired oven; free wifi)
Blissful (at the Blissful guesthouse, large menu with Western, Khmer and Asian dishes, Sunday roast and good breakfasts, Happy Hour 4 – 8pm, free wi-fi)
Where to find free wi-fi in Kampot
Wi-fi is available in almost all guesthouses and a number of restaurants in town. However, some of them don’t have plugs, so here are a few options where you can use your laptop.
As mentioned above, this place has the best coffee in town and really reliable wi-fi so definitely be prepared to get some serious work done! There are also plenty of plugs to stay connected.
Epic Arts Café
This is a really nice cafe in the middle of town, and as we mentioned above, all profits go to the deaf and disabled community in Kampot. The wi-fi here works great and the environment is welcoming. www.epicarts.org.uk
Other places with wi-fi include:
- Vongmany Restaurant (east of the river on the main road)
- Sunset restaurant (at Sunset guesthouse)
- La Java Bleue (corner cafe and rooftop terrace in the center of town)
- Rikitikitavi (excellent food and river views, but no plugs)
- Sisters II (fresh baked goods, breakfast and Western dishes)
- Wunderbar (right on the riverfront, but it can be loud)
- Bokor Mountain Lodge (right on the riverfront, but only some plugs inside)
- Frangipani (right on the riverfront)
- Bar Red (late night restaurant / bar; also has rooms)
Have you recently been to Kampot? Let us know how our guide holds up against the test of time. Let us know about great new guesthouses/cafes/wi-fi spots that pop up and also if a place on our list has slipped and is no longer worth the recommendation!