Kampot & Kep: Our highlights and tips for Cambodia's coast

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Kampot and Kep, two sleepy places on the coast of Cambodia, inspired us from the start. Because Kampot and Kep are only well 20 kilometers apart away, they can be ideally combined with each other.

In Kampot you can look forward to French colonial architecture, and the pleasantly calm Kep is the perfect place for everyone who wants to relax for a few days. If you are looking for action or party, you are completely wrong here. However, if you want to immerse yourself in local life, you will love it in Kampot and Kep.

When traveling through Cambodia, we highly recommend that you also stop in Kampot and Kep to insert In this blog article we show you what to expect and reveal our personal tips for Kampot and Kep.

1. Worth knowing information about Kampot & Kep at a glance What you in Kampot & Kep expects Enough of the chaos and hustle and bustle in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh? Then off to the coast with you! In the two neighboring provinces of Kampot and Kep, things are still very quiet and tranquil.

The town of Kampot is clearly the busier of the two . It is situated on the Teuk Chhou river and is known for its remains of French colonial architecture. Unfortunately, you soon realize that there is not enough money for the renovation: the plaster is crumbling on every corner and comparatively few buildings have been renovated. Nevertheless (or maybe because of that) we really liked the unique flair in Kampot.

Kep, on the other hand, was once one of the most important seaside resorts in Cambodia. However, the beach is not a real highlight – we would definitely not recommend Kep for a classic beach holiday. The main attraction in Kep is the Crab Market: A huge selection of seafood is offered here. In the restaurants next door you can dine with a view of the sea.

There is something else that makes the region special: one of the best types of pepper in the world, the Kampot pepper, is grown here. You can visit some pepper plantations and get an insight into the extraction of the precious pepper. The best thing, however, is clearly the fresh pepper, which is often served in the region’s restaurants. Once you’ve tried really fresh pepper, you never want to be without it again – simply delicious!

Another tip: In the provinces Reports of stray, barking dogs are increasing in Kampot and Kep. It’s best to try to avoid night walks away from the center. We personally haven’t had any negative experiences, but still wanted to add a little warning.

How many days should I plan for Kampot & Kep? We ourselves decided to stop in both places: We spent three nights in Kampot, in Kep two nights – a total of five nights. So we could really take it easy and had enough time for a day trip to the offshore island of Koh Tonsay (more on that in a moment).

Because Kampot and Kep are very close to each other (30 away from each other by car), you can easily visit the other place as a day trip. In this case, we would rather recommend to stay in Kampot. Firstly, in our opinion, Kampot is the more attractive place and on the other hand, the hotel offer is just better there.

We ourselves stayed in Kampot at the highly recommended Hotel The Columns, which we will tell you about in more detail at the end of this blog article.

Travel Guide Cambodia: Our tip In Southeast Asia we almost exclusively use the travel guides by Stefan Loose. They are really well researched and have great tips ready – this also applies to the Stefan Loose travel guide Cambodia. We really like the layout and structure of the Loose travel guides. Incidentally, they are primarily aimed at individual travelers – perfect if you want to travel Cambodia on your own.

You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Cambodia

2. Kampot: Sights & Tips In 50.000 resident town of Kampot is very quiet and tranquil. Kampot is the capital of the province of the same name and is known for the more or less well-preserved buildings from the French colonial era.

First of all: You shouldn’t expect classic tourist sights in Kampot. Rather, it is the cozy flair that makes this town a worthwhile stopover.

Colonial Center of Kampot Let’s start in the heart of Kampot’s old town, the French Quarter near the riverbank. Cambodia was under French colonial rule for almost a hundred years. The architectural remnants of the colonial era are still present – although the plaster is crumbling in many corners.

It’s best to take a little time and Also explore the side streets – you will discover some exciting photo motifs. You really shouldn’t expect a spruced up town with Kampot, but the center has a lot of flair, that’s for sure.

Teuk Chhou: Sunset at the river bank A river meanders through Kampot, the Teuk Chhou. You can experience beautiful sunsets on its east bank (right next to the French Quarter). The atmosphere is very cozy and relaxed.

There are a few cafes and bars – many also advertise a “happy hour” at sunset. One institution is the Rikitikitavi. The food here is very good and you have a nice view of the river from some places.

Kampot Pepper: Visit a pepper plantation Kampot and Kep provinces are known worldwide as pepper-growing regions. The so-called Kampot pepper is considered one of the best and most expensive in the world. You can visit some of the pepper plantations. So if you’re already in the region, we’d recommend paying a visit to a plantation to get a little insight into pepper production. The following two companies are particularly well-known:

La Plantation: A huge organic plantation run by a Franco-Belgian couple. La Plantation is a good half hour’s drive east of Kampot. There are regular free tours during opening hours.

Farm Link: Farm Link is an easy walk from the center of Kampot in about minutes. The focus here is not on pepper cultivation, rather Farm Link works with local pepper farmers. You can watch the peppercorns being sorted. If you want to see the plantations, you are better off at La Plantation.

Explore the region & the salt fields by bike What we loved most in Kampot? These were definitely not the classic sights, but the immersion in local life. It’s best to rent a bike (in this case it doesn’t have to be a scooter) and explore the area in a leisurely manner.

We ourselves went to Farm Link (Kampot Pepper) and the Salt Fields by bike. On the way there we made a spontaneous stopover and had a water fight with the children in the photo. (It had rained recently, so there was plenty of water.)

Just walking a few kilometers outside of central Kampot, you realize just how rural life is here. Many people live in unbelievably poor conditions – sad to look at and yet we were once again amazed at the hospitality with which one is received here.

Food & Drink in Kampot: Our restaurant tips Good news: In Kampot there are comparatively many nice cafes and restaurants where you can eat really well. Some of them are surprisingly stylish and there are even enough options for vegans. We can especially recommend the following places:

Sabay Beach Restaurant and Cocktail Bar: This little jewel is located on the river bank, unfortunately about 25 drive from the center of Kampot. Here you can dine excellently with a view of the water. Highly recommended – especially at sunset!

Rikitikitavi: Very well-known restaurant located on the waterfront. Perfect for a sundowner or dinner – they eat really well here.

Atelier Kampot: A beautiful, surprisingly stylish and French-inspired restaurant on the Kampot waterfront promenade. The prices are rather high.

Deva Cafe: If you are looking for a vegan restaurant, then you should definitely try the Deva Cafe Pay a visit. This cozy restaurant is located just outside the center (reachable in 5 minutes by scooter). You can get delicious food here for very little money.

3. Kep: Highlights & Tips Thought Kampot had few sights to offer? Then you haven’t been to Kep yet. That the local crab market is the tourist highlight says it all, doesn’t it?

Kep was one of the country’s most important seaside resorts until the Cambodian civil war. In the meantime, however, there is unfortunately not much evidence of this anymore. Kep does have a beach, but to be honest: We would definitely not recommend Kep for a classic beach holiday. Kep is a great place to get an authentic insight into Cambodian life. Because Kep as said is only 20 minutes away from Kampot , you can easily visit it as a day trip.

Crab Market The crab market (Crab Market) takes place daily during the day (from about 9 a.m. to evening). Seafood fans will love it here: mussels, shrimp, crabs and co – there really is everything here. You can choose your own food and have it prepared right there – street food as you would imagine it.

The Crab Market also includes a number of classic restaurants. Here you eat a little more comfortably with a view of the water. Especially at sunset it is really nice and recommendable.

Food & Drink in Kep Khmer Roots CafĂ©: This small, authentic restaurant is idyllically situated between Kep and Kampot on a small lake. It’s worth stopping by here after visiting the La Plantation pepper plantation.

Kep Coffee: Nice little cafe where you can have a good breakfast or can eat lunch. The coffee is also said to be very good here.

Kep Sur Mer Restaurant: If you want to dine at one of the restaurants near the crab market, then we can recommend this one. It is particularly nice to sit at the front tables with a view of the sea.

4. Trip to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) Fancy a few relaxing hours on the beach ? The most beautiful beach in the region is not on the mainland, but on an offshore island – Koh Tonsay, also called Rabbit Island. Koh Tonsay is about half an hour boat ride from Kep.

On Koh To nsay you are literally forced to do nothing: apart from a few bars and simple bungalows, there is no infrastructure on Koh Tonsay. So if you want to have a leisurely day at the beach, then you’ve come to the right place. Some travelers stay on Koh Tonsay for several days. But that would be too monotonous and isolated for us personally.

Many people therefore decide on a day trip. Collective boats from Kep leave at 9 am and at 05 o’clock. A ticket costs $8 per person. The best thing to do is to check the times on site again.

You can also walk around Koh Tonsay: The hike takes about three hours and should be very worthwhile. We fear that you will unfortunately also witness washed-up rubbish on the circular route. However, the main beach was pretty clean when we visited.

5. Our Hotel Tip for Kampot We spent our time in Kampot at the beautiful Hotel The Columns, which we can highly recommend to you. The hotel is housed in several colonial houses that have been beautifully renovated with great attention to detail.

You stay here in the middle of Center of Kampot (in a very quiet alley) and you can explore the town perfectly on foot from the hotel. Due to the architecture of the house, some rooms are a bit dark, but they are very comfortably furnished. In any case, the price-performance ratio is great.

We really liked the breakfast. It is served in the beautiful lobby and is the perfect start to the day. Our conclusion: If you want to stay in the center of Kampot (which we would recommend), then this hotel is a great choice.

You can book the hotel here: The Columns

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Kampot or Kep? How did you like it? Are there any other highlights that you think shouldn’t be missed? We look forward to your additional tips!