Top 7 things to do in Kampot, Cambodia

Kampot is a beautiful province located in southern Cambodia. About 150 km (93 miles) from the capital Phnom Penh, it takes almost 3 hours to get to its beach city that is relatively quiet compared to other tourist destinations of this South-East Asian nation.

Although the country is known for its rich culture and history, Kampot offers travelers with adventures that make you feel closer to nature. Rock climbing, museum tours and eating seafood at the night-market are some of the things that await you at Kampot. Because of its slow and sleepy nature, this province is a great place to relax and take a break from all your worries. Enjoy different spectacles of Kampot from amazing beaches to mountain views deep in the clouds which are great places to explore.

1. Kampot provincial museum

During the French colonial period from late 19th to early 20th century, Kampot was the most important seaport of Cambodia and used as an administrative center[1]. Although modern day Kampot does not belong to the French anymore, the ghost of French influence in Cambodia remains in the form of architecture. The architectural style of Kampot’s provincial museum reflects this period of Khmer history.

Located on Sala Khet Street 735 in Kampot city, the contents of the museum include the milestones of the province, archaeological artifacts, and a collection of photos depicting the history of Kampot. The provincial museum has a $2 entrance fee.

2. Kampot night market

If there’s anything you need to look out for when visiting a coastal city, it would be fresh seafood and Kampot has an abundance of, but not limited to, such delicacies. There are many stalls that sell Khmer food, some on sticks, others on plates, but all are definitely worth a try.  You will also find a variety of dried food and noodles as well as dessert there.

In addition to food, the night market offers many choices of local clothes and souvenirs you can grab to remember your trip to Kampot.

You can find Kampot night market near the Durian roundabout.

3. La Plantation pepper farm

La Plantation produces Kampot’s finest pepper which is regarded in the international culinary world as the best pepper in the world. Take this opportunity to learn why that is the case with free guided tour available in English, Khmer, and French. Although the farm is known for its pepper, La Plantation also plants and sells a variety of spices and local fruits.

Visit La Plantation Agritourism Center to book your tour to their farm on street 729 in Kampot city.

4. Salt farm

Despite being known internationally for their pepper, Kampot is known to Cambodians as the producer of salt. Ocean water is let into the field and then closed off. After the water has been evaporated, crystals of salt can be seen on the field. This process occurs during the dry season mostly from December to April as it does not rain.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself into the slow life of local villagers, head down south to an island known as Koh Trey right across the river from downtown.

5. Kampot river

Sunset at Kampot River Cambodia by IntoCambodia
Sunset at Kampot River Cambodia by IntoCambodia

A part of a collection of rivers, the beautiful Kampot river flows right through the province’s city. A dozen boats docked along the river downtown ready to take you on a tour while others serve as restaurants with multiple floors and are permanently docked on the beach. The best time to enjoy the feel of Kampot river is during sunset while you can enjoy the view with a few beers along with some company.

6. Bokor Hill Station

Located on top of Bokor mountain, this national park is home to a collection of abandoned French houses, churches and a casino (now a hotel) that is a great place to explore and take photos of. At over 1,000 meters high, many photographic opportunities await you as not only are the views mesmerizing, the run-down French buildings give off a ghostly vibe.

Sakada, P (2021) Yeay Mao Status at Bokor Mountain, Kampot Cambodia
Sakada, P (2021) Yeay Mao Status at Bokor Mountain, Kampot Cambodia

The gateway of Bokor is not even 10km from Kampot city. From there, you need to travel around 30km until you reach the top of the mountain through a well-maintained road surrounded by thick jungle.

Bonus: Kep beach

Technically Kep is not part of Kampot province, but this city filled with remnants of French colonial period geographically sits within the province. Kep beach is the city’s most popular beach spanning one kilometer long. The clean white sand is the reason why this beach is the most popular. Decorated with dining huts and seafood vendors, this beach has a lovely atmosphere where families can enjoy fresh seafood and breathe in the cool ocean air.

The coastal city is around 160km (100 miles) from Phnom Penh and about 22km (13 miles) from Kampot’s city. Be sure to look through the window as the road leading to Kep beach is one that runs along the coastline.

[1] Kitagawa, Takako (March 2005). “Kampot of the Belle Époque: From the Outlet of Cambodia to a Colonial Resort” (PDF). Southeast Asian Studies. Kyoto. 42 (4): 394–417.