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A comprehensive guide to Kampot, Cambodia

A comprehensive guide to Kampot, Cambodia

Last Updated on June 14, 2023

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.

Travel Guide to Kampot, Cambodia

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kampot travel guide

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.

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 $45 – $55 – check availability here

Auberge Du Soleil
Small 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

kampot french-colonial building

La Java Bleue
Another boutique hotel in a French-colonial building, one block from the river and one block from the main park. Deluxe double rooms US$55. Book here.

The Hideaway
Recently renovated guesthouse right on the river. Nice terrace, and there is restaurant & bar, free wi-fi. Very social atmosphere. Bungalows from US$15 per night. Book here.

Candy Pepper
Artsy guesthouse on Old Market Street. There’s a shared lounge and kitchen, and a bar and coffee shop onsite. Deluxe rooms from US$17. Book here.

Hotel Old Cinema
As the name suggests, this hotel is housed in a beautifully restored old cinema. The rooms have AC, and there’s a pool in a lovely courtyard. Great location in the center of town. Double rooms are US$50 per night. Book here.

Sunny Hotel Kampot
This new, modern hotel has AC in all rooms, hot/cold water, en-suite bathrooms, flatscreen TVs, and breakfast included for US$48 a night, including breakfast. Check availability here.

The Columns
Boutique hotel in the center of Kampot, right by the old market, in a nicely restored French-colonial building. US$65 per night, breakfast included – book here

kampot french-colonial houses

Cozy Elephant
At the far end of the main park in Kampot, basic rooms, free wi-fi, free bicycle rental. On-site restaurant.  US$4 – $15 (rooms), or $2.50 (dorms)

Eden Eco Village
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

cambodia mango tree

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

Check out the most up-to-date list of the ever growing number of guesthouses and hotels in Kampot on!

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.

Countryside Tour
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).

cambodia pepperSunset River Cruise
The views over the Elephant Mountains from the river are superb, especially at sunset. Several boats go out for a sunset cruise every night for around $8.

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.

rabbit island beach cambodiaVisit 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.

Café Espresso
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.

kampot cafe espressoABC 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.

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.

Sisters II
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.

kampot travel guide

Pizza 36
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.

Café Espresso
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.

kampot cafe espresso coffee

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.

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!  


Melinda Roth

Thursday 11th of February 2016

Hi I first fell in love with Cambodia when I backpacked all around it for a few months. My favorite place was Kampot. Is there much work available for Expats? I teach English and I also work in mental health.


Sunday 8th of March 2015

Hi there! Great information! Must be great to travel around like that. Kampot (and Cambodia) sure is amazing!

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Thursday 6th of November 2014

[…] A comprehensive guide to Kampot, Cambodia […]


Sunday 25th of May 2014

Great guide. We are enjoying Kampot right now. Unfortunately, Café Espresso has closed for three months while the owner goes home. So many friends have bragged about the coffee there. Oh well, the life of a traveler. We are loving it here.

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