Kampot


Kampot sits on the east bank of the Kampot River and enjoys spectacular views across to Bokor and Elephant Mountains, which make up the sizeable Bokor National Park. The town was once a trading centre and until the establishment of a deep sea port at Sihanoukville in the 1950s, Kampot was Cambodia’s primary port. A smattering of small fishing boats can still be seen unloading every morning a short walk south of the main town on the dirt road parallel to the river. Given Kampot’s proximity to the Vietnamese border, fish often isn’t the only catch being unloaded, with smuggling — particularly of cigarettes — a handy extra earner for the fishermen.

Kampot

Kampot River

Today, Kampot is best known for its pepper, which is truly excellent. Pepper plantations as well as a few low-key sites can be visited from town, which also forms an ideal base for trips up to jungle-clad Bokor (when possible), a highlight of any visit to the Cambodian coast. Atop Bokor are a church and a casino, remnants from Cambodia‘s French colonial period. Today they’re both in a seriously decrepit state — the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese spent a long stretch shooting at each other here, with one team in the casino and the other in the church.

Kampot is both somnolent and pretty, in a rundown kind of way. Plenty of villas and old shopfront trading houses, especially along the river road, make it a pleasan

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