Countryside, beach and fresh local food; what more do you need for a day trip in Kampot?! This post shares a day trip from Kampot to Kep including where to rent a motorbike, things to see and a route for exploring.
During the 1950s and 60s, Kep was the place to be in Cambodia; home to opulent colonial mansions, and beach clubs for the elite to relax. While the glitz and the glamour of this era was abandoned during the civil war, Kep is growing in popularity again. With a dreamy white sand beach and an iconic fresh crab market, a day trip from Kampot to Kep is a great way to explore the laid back side of Cambodia.
Planning a trip to Kampot
Kampot is a tranquil riverside town, about 4 hours south Phnom Penh, and 2 hours north of Sihanoukville. Kampot’s location between these two popular destinations makes it a great place to visit en route from the capital to the islands.
How to get to Kampot
The best way to get to Kampot is via bus from Phnom Penh. We booked our bus to Kampot via our hostel in Phnom Penh, but you can also book it online with Baolau*, a search engine that compares all travel options.
Where to stay in Kampot
Kampot is one of the cheaper places to find accommodation in Cambodia, however, many of the accommodation options* don’t have air conditioning so it’s something to look out for when booking. Check out these spots:
➡️ Karma Traders* is a great hostel for backpackers, with a rooftop bar, pool, AC and social vibe.
➡️ For budget-friendly private rooms with AC, I recommend KampongBay Makeng II Guesthouse*.
➡️ For a unique stay, check out Eden Ecovillage just outside Kampot town (no AC).
Getting from Kampot to Kep
For this day trip to Kep, you will need some form of transport either a motorbike or a tuk-tuk driver.
Renting a Motorbike in Kampot
Motorbike rentals in Kampot start from $5 a day. Most hotels/hostels offer rentals but if yours doesn’t, check out these motorbike rental shops in Kampot:
📍 T-DA Motorbikes Rental
📍 Tree Travel Tours Motorcycle and Bicycle Rentals
Renting a Tuk-Tuk in Kampot
If you don’t know how to drive a motorbike, you can always do this tour with a tuk-tuk driver! Mr Lim comes highly recommend; send him a message to find out the prices!
A Day Trip from Kampot to Kep
Despite being only 30 minutes away, there are lots of things you can add to make your day trip to Kep exciting. We chose to hang out at the secret lake, visit one of the pepper plantations that Kampot is famous for, swim in the ocean and eat at the iconic Kep crab market.
There is also a hike to a viewpoint in Kep National Park that is meant to be a great sunset viewpoint, but we chose to go back to Kampot for sunset after our busy day. The full hike takes over 4 hours, so I would suggest skipping the pepper plantation if you chose to go hiking.
Relax at the secret lake
The first stop on our day trip to Kep, was the infamous secret lake. Though admittedly not so secret as it once might have been, the lake offers complete tranquillity and you’ll likely be the only visitors hanging out at the lake. The drive to the secret lake took us along dusty dirt tracks, and through local villages before turning the bend to this serene lake.
Where to eat at the secret lake
In the past, there were numerous cafes overlooking the lake but it looks like they were causalities of COVID. There is a local restaurant with hammocks right by the water’s edge, perfect to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The menu is all in Khmer, so it’ll be a fun game of picking the picture to order – we played it safe and picked fried rice which filled us nicely ahead of our trip to Kep.
អាហារដ្ឋានប្រទ័ក្សក្រឡា 📍 Find the local restaurant here on Google Maps
Tour a Kampot Pepper Plantation
Kampot is renowned worldwide for pepper and with many pepper plantations in the area offering free tours and tastings, we thought it would make a great addition to our day trip. We chose to join the free tour and tasting at La Plantation, which was highly recommended by friends.
Perfect for foodies, the free tour took us around the plantation learning how the famous Kampot pepper is created from seed to shelf. The plantation is beautiful and it was great to hear about the social and sustainable agriculture that they are fostering in Cambodia. At the end of the tour, we gathered in the traditional restaurant to sample some of the pepper.
La Plantation 📍 Bosjheng village, Cambodia
💰 While free, you are encouraged to buy something from the shop or restaurant (we bought some drinks).
Swim at Kep Beach
By this point, we were all fading under the sweltering Cambodian sun so it was time to beeline to the ocean. Kep beach is a powdery white bay, with warm tropical waters that scream for you to run into them.
Along the beachfront are loungers you can pay to use, just behind are cafes with hammocks to swing in, or if you’re budget travelling like us you can just grab a drink from one of the kiosks and set up your towels on the sand.
Eat Fresh Crab at Kep Crab Market
After cooling off in the ocean, you have to check out the iconic Kep crab market. The market is quite a vibe, dark and moody with everything from fresh produce to restaurant vendors.
Kep is famous for its fresh-caught crab, so it would be rude not to try it! The coolest part of this market is watching the crab crate come out the ocean, getting to pick the crabs yourself and watching it be cooked right in front of you!
We bought 1kg of fresh crab from a fisherman and had it cooked in a Kampot pepper sauce for only $10! The crab is soft-shell so easy to eat, and the sauce was sweet and spiced.
💰 $8/kg + $2 to cook
Watch Sunset from Led Zep Café
If you’re not yet ready to head back to Kampot, check out Led Zep Café. Nestled in the mountainside of Kep National Park, here you can get a cheap drink and watch the sunset unfold from a lazy hammock. As the cafe is inside the national park, you’ll have to pay $1 entrance to access it.
Route for a Day Trip Kampot to Kep
This route for a day trip from Kampot to Kep shows all the places included in this itinerary, as well as directions for travelling between them. You can save the map to your GoogleDrive for later by clicking the star next to the map title.
⏰ We left Kampot at 8:30am and returned from our day of exploring Kep just before sunset, so I recommend setting aside a full day for this daytrip.