This travel guide shares everything you need to know for visiting Kampot, Cambodia. Includes how to get to Kampot, where to stay, when to visit, what to eat and things to do.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Cambodia, Kampot is a great place to go! Surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, Kampot embraces the slow pace of river life. The town has a rustic charm, with old colonial buildings lining its streets, and jungle resorts lining the river. Water sports and nature are abundant here, making for a relaxing break during your travels in Cambodia.
The Praek Tuek Chhu River runs through the heart of Kampot, supporting lush jungles and fertile plains. Just outside of town are the world-class pepper plantations that Kampot is renowned for, as well as salt flats and fishing villages.
While Kampot has been a popular destination in Cambodia for many years, it has retained its charm with colonial buildings, rustic riverside bungalows and nature a stones-throw-away.
I recommend 2 full days in Kampot; one day for exploring the town and joining watersport activities, and another day for a day trip to the nearby beachside town of Kep, or to Bokor National Park.
Kampot is hot all year, with dry season from October to May, and monsoon season during the summer months. Dry season is often favoured as it’s more reliable but we visited in monsoon season and only encountered one rainstorm.
Visiting in the monsoon season comes with the occasional rainstorm, but the jungles are vibrant and the river full of life.
Kampot is nature-oriented with many of the best things to do centring around the river; activities such as SUP, kayaking and playing at the waterparks are favourite ways to spend time in Kampot.
✍ For more on what to see and do in Kampot, check out my Top 10 Things to do in Kampot.
One of the best ways to experience river life is to get out in a kayak. Some of the riverside resorts offer free kayaks to guests, or if you’re staying in town you can rent them for $5/hour (Retro Kampot Guesthouse* is a great location to rent a kayak from).
Taking a day trip to Kep, a nearby beach town, is a great way to cool off from the heat and see more of the countryside. Nearby is the iconic crab market where you can buy crab fresh from the ocean and have it cooked for lunch!
Jump on a motorbike and venture into the mountains of Bokor National Park. Winding roads, monkeys and beautiful viewpoints; what more do you need? The national park includes some abandoned buildings, remnants from the French colonial town built in the 1920s.
💰 $0.50 entrance
✍️ Read more about Bokor National Park
The Secret Lake is one of the most serene spots in Kampot to unwind, grab some local food and take in the view. Grab a scooter and head through local villages to hang out in the lake-side hammocks of Kampot’s secret lake.
Secret Lake 📍 find the Secret Lake on Google maps here
Kampot is best reached from the capital of Phnom Penh, or from the southern hub of Sihanoukville (where you get boats to the islands). The nearest airport is Sihanoukville, so if coming from further afield, this is where you want to fly into.
The bus is the easiest way to get from Phnom Penh to Kampot.
We booked our buses to Kampot via our hostel in Phnom Penh, which included pick up making it cheaper than had we booked online and made our own way to the bus station. If your accommodation doesn’t provide transport assistance then Baolau*, a search engine that compares all travel options, is a great place to book tickets online.
⏰ 3-4 hours
If travelling from Sihanoukville, it might be easier to take the train as the route is not currently serviced by the major bus companies due to heavy construction on the route (summer 2022).
To travel this route, you will need to book a private car. We travelled this route to get to Sihanoukville after Kampot and our accommodation was able to organize a private car for us. It cost $45 for the car which we shared with others. Be prepared for a bumpy ride due to the construction!
Kampot is located along the southern Royal Railways line, making the train an option for travelling to Kampot. Post-covid, the trains only operate on weekends so taking the train might not always be possible.
Like with buses, Baolau* is the easiest way to book the train in advance. Prices vary depending on the seating option.
⏰ 4 hrs
⏰ 2 hrs
To truly explore Kampot you will need to get some wheels, as most of the things to see are outside of the city.
If you’re staying in the city center then walking or cycling is possible, but if you opt to stay further out of the town then you will need to either rent a motorbike or take tuk-tuks.
You can find ultra-budget-friendly meals at the night market, or venture to the streets between the Durian roundabout and the river for lots of restaurants and local food. In the evening market stalls pop up for street food in this area.
Cafe Espresso Roastery 📍 A quirky cafe, perfect for a slow brunch and fresh brew
Epic Arts Café 📍 A social enterprise cafe funding education programs and providing jobs for locals with disabilities.
Lemongrass Bistro 📍 Tasty and cheap Cambodian dishes
Monkey Republic 📍 Chilled spot for dinner and a beer in the evening
Kampot is one of the cheaper places to find accommodation in Cambodia, with private rooms for as little as $5 a night. 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 for accommodation in Kampot with air conditioning:
➡️ Karma Traders* is a great hostel for backpackers, with a rooftop bar, pool and great social vibe.
➡️ For private rooms, I recommend KampongBay Makeng II Guesthouse*, where we stayed for a couple of nights.
We spent a blissful night in the riverfront bungalows at Eden Ecovillage*. It’s a little outside of town, but the free kayaks and amazing food make it the perfect place to unwind.
The other option we considered for a riverside stay was Retro Kampot Guesthouse*, which was highly recommended to us by other travellers.
Kampot is a very budget-friendly destination, with lots of cheap and free things to do, and cheap accommodation and food options. Here is an estimated budget for planning your trip.
The cheapest way to get to Kampot is from Phnom Penh via bus, averaging $9. Book travel transport here* Be prepared to pay more for your onward travel to Sihanoukville if you are heading to the islands after Kampot.
Street food from vendors can be found for $2, and restaurant meals start at $3.50. I would budget around $15 for food per day.
Most of the things to do in Kampot are free or cheap assuming you can rent a motorbike to explore on your own.
Motorbike rental 💰 $5 a day
Bokor National Park 💰 $0.50
Kayak rental 💰 Free or $5
Arcadia waterpark 💰 $5