CAMBODIA 2024: DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT

Exploring the Kampot Province in Cambodia

ABOUT: Kampot is a coastal province located approximately 150 km southwest of Phnom Penh. Due to the over-development of nearby Sihanoukville, it’s becoming more popular with foreign tourists (and residing expats) looking for a quieter location to spend some time on the southern coast of Cambodia. The main attractions are the riverfront area and the nearby BOKOR NATIONAL PARK. There’s also some interesting cave sites to the east of the city, for anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The Big Durian. A landmark at Kampot town centre.

Travelling In Cambodia – How To Get To Kampot from Phnom Penh

Bus travel:  The primary method of getting to Kampot, from PHNOM PENH, is by bus. In this regard, GIANT IBIS is one of the best bus companies in Cambodia. They provide comfortable transportation to most locations around the country. The trip to Kampot takes 3.5 hours and includes a ten minute stop at the mid-point. There is WIFI onboard the bus, but the connection is poor.

Transportation Tips Travelling Around Kampot, Cambodia

Getting around: The majority of tourists/travelers coming to Kampot generally go with one (or both) transportation options. The first is the DIY approach: rent a motorbike (scooter) to get around independently. Most guesthouses will have motorbikes for rent, or can get one for you at short notice. The normal rental rate is USD 8 – 10 per day. The second popular option is to employ the services of local tuk-tuk for your sightseeing trips. Depending on where you’re going (the distance) tuk-tuk hires can be USD 15 – 30 per day.

The Best Places To Eat And Drink In Kampot, Cambodia

The River Front Area: There’s plenty of bars, restaurants, and café’s lining the edge of the riverfront road (south of ETANOU BRIDGE). There are also two parallel streets which run back from the riverfront road (opposite STARBUCKS FISHMARKET) which have developed into an adult entertainment strip (girly bars). These are probably hangout locations for the resident expats who fled Sihanoukville when the Chinese developers moved in there. Whatever the case, the riverfront strip is a good spot for some decent food (western & French) and a cold beer.

The picturesque Kampot river front at sunset. DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The picturesque Kampot river front at sunset

The Best Sightseeing Areas In Kampot

National Parks & Caves: There are several interesting sightseeing attractions in and around Kampot. The most popular destination is the old French Colonial Hill Station, 15 km west of Kampot, called BOKOR NATIONAL PARK. The options for getting up there to rent a motorbike for the day or go on a guided tour. Guided tours are more expensive but they have the benefit of having local knowledge imparted at each sightseeing attraction. Other interesting attractions nearby to the east of Kampot PHNOM CHHNGOK CAVE and KAMPONG TRACH CAVE.

Exploring The Bokor Monivong National Park in Cambodia

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The old French Colonial Hotel at Bokor Hill Station.

The Best Way To Travel To Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia

It takes approximately one hour to reach the hill station area (1034 meters above sea level). Your best options for getting there are by renting a motorbike and DIY or pay for a guided tour. NOTE: Using a local tuk-tuk isn’t possible as the roads are too steep (the tuk-tuk doesn’t have the power to get up there).

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

An overview of the original Bokor Hill Station area.

Vietnam Tourist Attractions – The Lok Yeay Mao Monument

If you’re on a guided tour, this location is normally the first stop on the way to the hill station. It’s a large imposing statue and a site of religious significance for the locals (there’s some kind of connection with Buddhism). Directly across the road is some derelict buildings which, according to my tour guide, were built for the reigning king back in the 1930’s. The closest building to the road (known as the Blue Temple) was the king’s summer retreat and further down the track is the remains of what was a restaurant. An interesting aspect of both buildings is the artwork/graffiti which is on them.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The Lok Yeay Mao Buddhist monument, located in Bokor National Park.

Exploring The Mountain Top at Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia

This area, at the top of the national park, has several sightseeing attractions and is where you’ll spend the greater part of your tour. On the way you’ll pass a significant amount of new development in the area (apparently paid for by Chinese companies) but most of it stands empty and is quite ugly. A lot of the historical buildings are near the cliff line, so an added bonus is the excellent views over the landscape, and ocean, far below.

Note: The dry season (November – May) is the best time to visit for clear views. The rainy season is fogged in most of the time.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

Top of the Mountain, at Bokor Hill Station.

Vietnam Temple Exploration – Stopping At Wat Sampov Pram

After the new hotel, this is the first stop on the way to the top. There’s a nice Buddhist Temple complex, at the edge of the cliff, built from the sandstone rock in the area. The Temple has an unusual name. When translated to English, its name is the FIVE BOATS PAGODA. The reason for this odd name is the five aligned rocks, nearby the temple which have the appearance of the bow of a ship. This site is quite extensive and a walk along the cliff line provides nice, elevated views over the temple headland.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The Buddhist temple at Sampov Pram Pagoda.

Exciting Places To See And Explore Kampot in Cambodia

This is another historical structure at the top of the mountain. It was built by the French during the colonial era but is now largely abandoned and not used as a place of worship. The building is constructed from sandstone, gathered from the surrounding terrain. There’s a trail behind the structure which takes you up to an excellent viewpoint, at the edge of the cliff line.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The old Catholic Church at Bokor Hill Station.

Staying At The Le Bokor Palace Hotel, Vietnam

This FRENCH HOTEL is the primary attraction of a hill station tour.  There are several other structures in the surrounding area, but this is the main attraction. It looks a bit dilapidated on the outside but, apparently, the rooms within are still luxurious. Unfortunately, the room rates for a night’s stay are ridiculous – USD 2000 per night. Most of the structures in the surrounding area are near the edge of a cliff line, which offers fantastic views of the plains and ocean below.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The French Colonial Hotel, Le Bokor Palace.

Cave Exploration At The Kampot Cave Sites

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cave exploration at Kampot and these are some of the unmissable places to visit and explore.

Exploring Phnom Chhngok Cave

This is a small but interesting cave site, located 19 km to the northeast of Kampot City. To get there you’ll need to rent a motorbike, or hire a tuk-tuk, for the outing. Note: at least half the distance is over bumpy, dirt roads. If you go in a local tuk-tuk, be prepared for a bit of an uncomfortable ride.

On-site: The site is being developed by the locals for tourism. There’s some restroom facilities at the parking area. The cave is situated inside a limestone peak and, as with most caves in this part of the world, there’s a stairway up to the entrance.

Note: There’s an entry fee of 20,000 Riels (US 5).

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

Deep inside Phnom Chhngok Cave

The cave tour: From the top of the stairway up the limestone peak, there’s another short stairway down into the entrance of the cave. As with most other caves in Cambodia, this one is another religious site. There’s a large cave room with a small shrine on the cave floor. Compared with other larger caves in the region, this one is hardly remarkable. However, for the adventurous, there’s a passageway which branches off this main cave room which takes you through a labyrinth of small tunnels, and eventually leads to another exit point at ground level. There’s a couple of small cave rooms along the way with some resident bats. NOTE: this is adventure caving. You will need your own lights, and using solid footwear is definitely recommended (not flip flops).

PHNOM CHNNGOK CAVE VIDEO

Deep Exploration Of The Kampong Trach Cave

This is another interesting CAVE SITE which is located approximately 40 km east of Kampong City. Once again, the best options for getting there are either on a rented motorbike or by local tuk-tuk. The road is sealed most of the way, but some sections are still being developed. If you go in the dry season expect lots of dust. The travel time from Kampot is approximately one hour. This is another Buddhist Religious site within a cave system.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

Kampong Trach Cave site with Buddhist temple

Onsite: There’s a large Buddhist Temple in front of the cave entrance. The site is also well developed for visitors and had restroom facilities and drink stalls around the parking area. There’s no entry fee for this site but donations for the upkeep of the temple are greatly appreciated.

Doing the cave tour: From the parking a pathway takes you under the limestone peak, for a few meters, then emerges into a central hollow which is open to the sky. Within this area there are Buddhist Religious monuments and statues. From the central hollow, pathways lead into more caverns within the limestone peak. There are elevated walkways which take you across pools of water within the caverns. Note: during the dry season these pools will probably have no water. The caverns have illumination to provide a safe and enjoyable sightseeing experience.

View the KAMPONG TRACH CAVE VIDEO on youtube, or visit our main youtube channel HERE for all of our free video tours. Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Kampong Trach Water Cave

This is a smaller, and less visited CAVE SITE at the rear of the limestone peak. To get to it, follow a small roadway around to the left from the kampong Trach Cave parking area. There’s a small cave, with a water filled pool, at the base of the limestone peak.

Note: in the dry season there’s still water within it. There’s also an upper cave which is accessed by a stairway up the cliff face. The stairway levels out to a pathway which takes you into a series of caverns at the top. There’s some nice views over the landscape from the rear of the limestone peak.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF KAMPOT ON CAMBODIA'S SOUTHERN COAST

The less visited higher caves at Kampong Trach.

To see more about Cambodia, the best tourist sites and the most exciting caves to visit, check out or tour of BATTAMBANG.

Safe travels,

Mega.

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