Once an important port city on the banks of the Kampong Bay river, Kampot is an ideal destination for those looking to not only travel in distance but also in time. The streets of this riverside town are lined with colorful dilapidated shop-houses and some edifices dating back to the French colonial period that undoubtedly left its mark in this city. An excellent base for exploring the nearby Preah Monivong National Park, Kampot has become a popular stop for travelers as well as Western expats fleeing increasingly busy Sihanoukville. The area is also well-known for its fruit orchards and pepper plantations.
With an abundance of nature and wildlife, offers plenty of routes and attractions for avid hikers. The park’s verdant jungle is home to rare species such as elephants, leopards and tigers. The park is also popular with bird watchers who come here to admire the hundreds of species that inhabit it. A visit to the Povokvil Waterfalls makes a great hiking opportunity, which involves around a three-hour round trip on foot.
The Bokor Hill Station is a collection of French colonial buildings including a hotel and casino, a church, a royal residence and more, constructed as a temperate mountain luxury resort and retreat for colonial residents in the early 1920s atop Bokor mountain in Preah Monivong National Park, about 37 kilometres west of Kampot. Abandoned for a long period of time, a modern road has made the location easily accessible and the Kampot tourism authority has been restoring some of the buildings.
Also known as the “Old Casino” on Bokor Mountain, Le Bokor Palace has been recently renovated, retaining its features and recreating a colonial-style interior. The luxury resort was originally created as a cool summer retreat for colonial residents in the early 1920s. Perched on the Bokor Mountain in Preah Monivong National Park, the hotel was revived in the early 1960s to serve high-ranking government officials and wealthy business people, and became the favourite retreat of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, the King of Cambodia.
One of the most popular ruins in the Bokor Hill Station area is the Catholic church, which was constructed when the French colonists first arrived in the 1920s. Surrounded by verdant jungle scenery, this brick church is an unusual sight in an otherwise remote Cambodian region. As well as a remnant of times past, this spot also offers magnificent views over the national park.
When in Kampot you cannot miss the pepper plantations he province is world renowned for. The area’s fertile lands and proximity to the sea create an ideal environment for pepper plants. During French colonial rule Kampot pepper gained its fame in the foodie world. However, following the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s the industry was nearly destroyed. Today, pepper is one of the major economic activities in the region and it has positioned itself as sought after delicacy worldwide, even gaining special recognition from the WTO. La Plantation Kampot is one of our recommended plantations to explore. Created in 2013, La Plantation, a family-owned project, is committed to grow and deliver the best sustainable spices. Discover the century old art of pepper growing and get to taste some of the best pepper in the world. La Plantation also offers cooking classes, dining facilities and unique water buffalo excursions through its surroundings.