Kampot mountain

Kampot, Cambodia – Travel Guide

Located in southern Cambodia, Kampot stands in sharp contrast with the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. With endless waterfalls and mountains, plus countless coffee shops and eateries, Krong Kampot is becoming a top destination for laidback travellers and expats in Cambodia. 

Situated along the Praek Tuek Chhu River (also known as Kampot River), Kampot was the former capital of Cambodia under French colonial rule. Today it is a sleepy provincial town, famous for its pepper production.

While most initially opt to spend a few nights in Kampot, it is easy to fall in love with this riverside town. Three to four nights is enough time for you to get a sense of the place but don’t be surprised if the Kampot vortex sucks you in and you struggle to leave!

Kampot, Cambodia – Backpacking Guide

Kampot Map & Resources

MORE INFO (Opens in new tab):

Best Time to Visit Kampot, Cambodia

The best time to visit Kampot is December through March. This is the dry season, meaning temperatures float between 23-32ºC. Be aware though, waterfalls can dry up during these months. 

That said, even in the wet season, Kampot is a great place to visit. It doesn’t usually rain for days on end, so you’ll still get dry windows in which to explore. Just be prepared for the increased heat and humidity that monsoon season brings!

Where to Stay in Kampot, Cambodia

This article contains affiliate links. Booking/buying through links you find on this site is a great way of supporting the work we do at no extra cost to you.

The sleepy town of Kampot has much to offer in the way of accommodation, and whilst the place isn’t too big, there are a couple of well-known areas you can stay when you visit. 

  • Main Town: Perfectly located close to all the cafés, markets, restaurants and shops, Main Town is suited to anyone who wants to stay in the central tourist area of Kampot. It’s not a busy place but offers everything visitors could want, including delicious local cuisine, charming architecture, trendy coffee spots and a growing expat community. 
Kampot Town
The centre of Kampot is crammed with shops, bars and restaurants!
  • Riverfront: This is a budget-friendly area popular with backpackers searching for a good deal. It’s located a little further out of the main town. Ride a bicycle and take in the views as you whizz past rice paddies, water buffalo, street food vendors and lots of smiling locals. 

Best Hostels in Kampot

1. Karma Traders Hostel 

For the social backpacker who also wants to unwind, book a stay at Karma Traders Hostel. With dorm rooms for as little as $5USD per night and weekly scheduled socials such as Taco Tuesdays, Burger and Quiz Fridays and 2-for-1 cocktail happy hours every day, this hostel is a budget-friendly option with a lively atmosphere. 

During the day, guests can enjoy the pool and play with the friendly hostel dogs before heading up to the rooftop bar for live music and socialising in the evenings. The hostel is also a clear favourite with local expats, so it’s a cool place to unwind and chat after a long day.

Karma Traders Bar Kampot
Karma Traders bar is a great place to drinking, eating and making friends!

2. Onederz Kampot

Just over a kilometre from the town centre and close to the night market, this is one of the newest additions to the Onederz chain. It offers everything these hostels are famous for; clean rooms, friendly staff, a great atmosphere and, of course, low prices! 

3. The Magic Sponge 

Located right in the heart of Kampot, The Magic Sponge offers a wonderful, relaxing escape for those wanting a little more privacy during their stay. All rooms are private, with en suite bathrooms and classy decor. The staff can help you with recommendations about Kampot but if you just want to stay in for a few days, the mini golf course and pool tables will keep you occupied – plus the amazing onsite restaurant will keep you fed!

4. Eden Eco Village

This special place offers riverfront jungle bungalows. Essentially, it’s a small slice of heaven! As well as being beautiful, Eden is an eco-friendly business that aims to take care of the environment. Here you will find solar hot water showers, eco-toilets, fresh home-grown produce and yoga sessions. This scenic retreat is ideal for solo travellers looking for solitude or couples in search of a private getaway.

Sunset in Kampot
Kampot is a great place to escape the bustle of Cambodia’s big cities!

5. Hideaway Kampot

Another riverside marvel, Hideaway Kampot offers an idyllic stay for all travellers. The staff and owners will bend over backwards to help with anything you might need and are well known for their cracking cocktails! With well-priced bungalows and budget-friendly dorms, who says the best views have to cost a bomb?! 

6. Champa Lodge Kampot 

Situated just a ten-minute tuk-tuk ride from Kampot town, Champa Lodge has a range of private bungalows to suit all travellers. Considering the quality of the rooms, the prices are excellent – you’ll get some of the best bang for your buck in Kampot at Champa Lodge! Surrounded by traditional Cham and Khmer villages, you can expect to find authentic Cambodia right on your doorstep! Don’t miss the vast range of Belgian beers in the bar! 

7. Monkey Republic 

The sleek, modern Monkey Republic is just a couple of minutes from Kampot town centre. With well-priced rooms and excellent value dorms, you won’t go wrong with a stay here. The onsite restaurant serves excellent local and Western food plus an array of craft beers. For those looking for an extra special touch, Monkey Republic host regular music events and almost daily yoga classes. They also have an onsite shop selling a range of eco-friendly health and wellness goods!

Things to Do in Kampot

1. Take a Riverboat Trip ⛵

Kampot is situated along the Preaek Tuek Chhu River, so there are plenty of water-based activities on offer – think boat trips and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as lazing on the banks and enjoying the view! 

👉 Book a Kampot SUP tour from $30USD

But there is so much more to do and see in Kampot than just enjoying the beautiful river setting…

2. Visit a Pepper Plantation ፨

Famous for pepper production, no trip to Kampot is complete without a visit to a local plantation. When it comes to geographical status, Kampot pepper is as linked to the region as Champagne or Scotch Whisky. With flavours ranging from super spicy to very sweet, a plantation visit will allow you to taste the pepper varieties as well as see how it is grown and processed.

The most popular pepper plantations for tourists to visit include Sothy’s Pepper Farm, La Plantation and The Vine Retreat. Surprisingly, most of these tours are free! All you’ll need to pay for is your transport to and from the plantation and all the pepper that you’ll be likely to bring back with you.

La Plantation can also organise cooking classes using local ingredients. Take home not only pepper but the knowledge of how to use it!

3. Explore Bokor National Park 🏍️

Rent a scooter or jump on a tour and head up to Bokor National Park. With a scenic route that rivals the Hai Van Pass in Vietnam, the journey finds you climbing up over 1,000 metres to the top of the national park. During the drive, you’ll pass countless monkeys at the side of the road and experience astounding views of the beautiful Kampot region. 

Road, Bokor National Park
The roads in Bokor are gorgeous!

The journey takes around an hour from town but this shouldn’t deter you as the road is well-paved and manageable for any vehicle. Renting a scooter in Kampot will cost approx. $5-10USD per day.  

Once you get to the top, explore the partially abandoned buildings and colonial hill station. This used to be the go-to holiday destination when Cambodia was under French rule. Over the years, the site gradually fell into disrepair and the area became a favourite among urban explorers. 

After the news broke that Sokha Hotels and Resorts were going to ‘rejuvenate’ the site and turn the old Bokor Hill Station into a luxury hotel, those with a love of exploring abandoned places united in their grief at losing one of their favourite urban playgrounds. 

Hill Station, Bokor National Park
You can’t get in and explore the Hill Station without booking a room these days!

These days, you can still find a few derelict buildings in Bokor National Park but many of them have been sealed up in an attempt to renovate the area. There is a lot of construction going on but very little of it is near completion. There’s a feeling among locals in Kampot that it will never be finished and is instead a way for foreign investors to launder ill-gotten gains… 

Bokor National Park provides a bizarre yet wonderful adventure that stands out among the usual travel memories!

Top Tip: 

Remember to pack a warm jacket! The drive up may be warm but once you’re at the top and 1,000m above sea level, it can get chilly!

4. Make a Splash at Arcadia Hostel 💦

Arcadia Backpacker Hostel is located just outside Kampot in a village called Snam Brampi and is home to Cambodia’s very own waterpark! There is a waterslide, rope swing, climbing wall and kayaks. Whilst guests of the hostel get to use all the facilities for free, you can turn up and pay to use the park for the day, spending your time both relaxing by the river and enjoying the slides.

If you fancy a bit of a party, stay late and join in with the usual revelry that takes place at Arcadia! 

5. Take a Day Trip to Kep 🦀

Just a 30-minute journey from Kampot is the sleepy fishing village of Kep. Famous for its crab market and tasty seafood restaurants, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind off the beaten track. No trip to Kep is complete without trying some local crab dishes. There are many restaurants along the seafront, so a hearty meal is very easy to find. 

Kep - Crab market
Kep is famous for its crab market.

Kep beach isn’t the nicest beach we’ve been to but if you’ve not yet made it over to Cambodia’s islands, it’s a nice place to enjoy the seaside. But be warned, it gets super busy at the weekends!

Buses to Kep cost around $5USD while taxis and tuk-tuks are approx. $10-15USD.

“For some of the top places to eat crab in Kep, check out Holy Crab or the neighbouring Kep Sur Mer. Both are delicious and while Holy Crab is the most popular, Kep Sur Mer is significantly cheaper!” 

Tim Ashdown – Writer at South East Asia Backpacker

6. Visit Wat Ey Sey 🛕 

This is a hidden and very isolated temple which gets hardly any visitors, so try not to disturb the monks! It’s worth the journey though, if only for the refreshing mountain stream en route, and the tiny bamboo jungles full of squirrels.

7. Cool Down in Veal Pouch Waterfall 💧

Whilst waterfalls are abundant around Kampot, Veal Pouch is a must-see. The road leading to the waterfall can be a bit tricky on a moped or motorbike but once you arrive, there are numerous natural pools to bathe in as well as cute little spots to rest and enjoy the flowing streams.

Try going on a Sunday as the locals are often there enjoying the sun, plus it’s a great opportunity to have a chat over a cold Cambodian beer!

Veal Pouch Waterfall
Veal Pouch Waterfall is one of the prettiest in the area.

8. Go Firefly Watching ✨

Head out on an evening boat and witness the sun melt behind the epic Bokor Mountain. If you get lucky, you can see fireflies over the water, dancing through the sky. Many of the guesthouses and tour companies in town offer these trips for budget-friendly prices! 

9. Explore Kampot’s Caves ⛰️

There are loads of caves outside the city just waiting to be explored. Although you may be disappointed with the size of these caves if you’ve already visited a few in Vietnam, they are a nice way to spend a day. 

10. Check Out the Night Market 🛒

Kampot has a bustling night market where you can try out all the local delicacies as well as stock up on trinkets and presents to take with you back home.

Situated next to the famous ‘Durain Roundabout’, this market is home to countless local food stalls which makes it the perfect place to try out multiple Cambodian dishes including Lok Lak and Amok curry

👉 Read more about Cambodian food here.

11. Jump on a Bicycle 🚲

Kampot is a wonderful place to explore on two wheels. Plenty of cycle tours are offered by the various tour companies around town which will take you around the more off-the-beaten-track locations, however, you don’t need a tour group to get peddling! Many of the guesthouses in Kampot rent bicycles to guests for just a couple of dollars a day.  

Kampot mountains
With scenery like this, why wouldn’t you visit Kampot?!

12. Kayak Through the Green Cathedral 🛶 

Also known as the Green Loop, this quiet, roughly three-kilometre creek loops away from the main Tuek Chhu River, offering a peaceful way to experience Cambodia’s waterways. Much of the route is well-shaded thanks to towering vegetation on either side. These plants arch up over the water, giving the impression you’re in a – drumroll please 🥁 – green cathedral! 

Kayaks can be rented from the hostels and guesthouses close to the mouth of the creek for $5-20USD depending on duration. It takes around 15 minutes via tuk-tuk to get there from Kampot town. 

Top Tip: 

The Green Loop takes you past some small rural villages. Refrain from kayaking topless or in a bikini. 

13. Try Your Hand at Rock Climbing With Climbodia 🧗

Whether you’re an experienced climber, have a couple of climbs under your harness or have always wanted to give it a go, Kampot has something for everyone. Climbodia offer a series of half-day experiences to get you on the rock face for $35-50USD.

The climbing tours also include caving for those looking for some subterranean adventure! 

14. Get to Know Kampot’s Yoga Scene 🧘 

For such a small town, Kampot offers a surprising array of yoga classes. From individual classes at Monkey Republic and Zenhouse Yoga to a full Cambodian yoga retreat at Yoga Barn Kampot, you’ll find an astounding variety of yoga disciplines, teachers and classes on offer!

Yoga Barn Kampot
Yoga Barn offers a place to recentre and relax while on the road!

“I spent six days at Yoga Barn Kampot and had a wonderful time. During the retreat, I was able to try my skills at hatha, vinyasa, yin and even aerial yoga! The retreat was exactly what I needed after an intense travel month and offered incredible value for money. I’d recommend to anyone looking to restore their zen.”

Sheree, Editor at South East Asia Backpacker

👉 Check Prices and Book Yoga Barn Now

Food and Drink in Kampot

With a bustling expat population due to its relaxing way of life and cheap prices, there’s a huge array of food, drink and cuisines on offer in Kampot. 

An abundance of cute Western cafés and multiple Cambodian joints means there is something for every kind of foodie! Here are just a few of our firm favourites: 

Café Espresso – The best breakfast in town!

This industrial-style café brews its own coffee and offers an extensive range of Western breakfasts with a subtle Cambodian twist. With a large open space and friendly staff, this is the perfect place to sit down with a coffee to work or plan your adventure! 

Epic Arts Café – Support an NGO!

This social enterprise café was opened in 2006 to increase work opportunities for people with disabilities in the Kampot area. 

The menu is full of Cambodian and Western dishes with a fabulous selection of cakes and milkshakes to wash down your meal. What’s better is that with every penny you spend, you’re helping to contribute to more inclusive arts projects across the country.

Ecran Noodles and Dumplings – Best dumplings in Kampot!

This local joint is situated slap bang on the river and visitors can enjoy the tastiest dumplings while watching the world go by. With vegetable, pork and shrimp dumplings to choose from, it’s the perfect dinner spot or lunchtime snack. The prices can’t be complained about either.

Ecran Restaurant - dumplings
The dumplings at Ecran Restaurant are to die for!

Bob Marley’s Pizza – Cheapest beer in Kampot!

Hands down, Bob Marley’s Pizza is home to the CHEAPEST beer in Kampot with local lager priced as little as 50 cents! A clear favourite with locals, expats and tourists alike, a Cambodian pint (served in an ice-cold glass) can be accompanied by a range of pizzas with extensive toppings. This is another great spot for dinner or the perfect place to line your stomach before a big night on the town.

Karma Traders

Better known by travellers as one of the best accommodation options in Kampot, Karma Traders is a staple food and watering hole for expats in the town. Their menu consists of mainly Western dishes but for the budget-conscious, their local fare should not be missed – especially if you’re looking for slightly bigger portions! They have special events like Taco Tuesdays and Burger Fridays – which also coincides with pub quiz night, an event two South East Asia Backpacker team members managed to win on their last trip to Kampot! Beat a score of 63 if you can! 

Bazaar Café

Just across the road from Karma Traders is the excellent Bazaar Café. With an eclectic collection of mismatched furniture in the beautiful garden, there’s no better setting to enjoy their delightful Western menu which includes plenty of vegetarian and vegan options! Inside, the café also has a few odds and ends on sale, so don’t miss the chance to peruse their stock! 

Bazaar Cafe Kampot
Bazaar Café offers a great range of vegan and veggie food!


Tucked away, down a dirt path, Ciao is genuine Italian cuisine in Kampot. If you’re looking for pizza or potentially the best homemade pasta in Cambodia, look no further than Ciao! 

Street Food 

As with most towns and cities in Cambodia, the cheapest way to eat is to eat local. Dive into the local street food scene by sampling tasty treats from the many vendors in either the night market or lined up along the river. Be aware, most sellers only come out in the evening!

Getting Around Kampot

The best part of a visit to Kampot is that there isn’t much traffic. Although bus is the primary method of travel out of town, Kampot is very walkable and you can also easily see the surrounding area by renting a bicycle or scooter. 

Bokor National Park
Renting a bike in Kampot is a popular way to explore the town!

Prices tend to start from $5USD a day, depending on where you rent from. There are plenty of tuk-tuks available too – use PassApp, the most popular Uber alternative in Cambodia, to secure the best prices! 

How to Get to Kampot

From Phnom Penh – Buses leave the city twice daily, at around 7.30 am and 1.15 pm. Some buses go via Kep, and this journey takes around five hours. Others go directly to Kampot, taking around three and a half hours.

From Sihanoukville – Buses leave Sihanoukville almost hourly throughout the day. You can also get the train which claims to be faster as well as smoother but to be honest, the bus journey is more pleasant. The train rocks around a lot – it’s potentially the least smooth train journey I’ve ever undertaken. Combine that with the fact it regularly leaves a couple of hours late and the journey is neither faster, nor more comfortable than the bus!

Train from Sihanoukville to Kampot
The train from Sihanoukville to Kampot gets pretty crowded!

Where To Go Next 

Kep: If you’re a seafood lover and didn’t get the chance to do a day trip to Kep, head here next. Just 25km east of Kampot, a tuk-tuk should cost you around $10USD. Buses cost a similar amount and make for a more comfortable journey. 

Sihanoukville: Cambodia’s biggest beach resort, Sihanoukville has gained a poor reputation in recent years. Don’t stay long but instead use the city as a launch point for Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Ta Kiev

Koh Tonsay: Also known as Rabbit Island, Koh Tonsay sits just off the coast of Kep and offers a rustic stay for those brave enough to go without WiFi or 24-hour electricity for a few days!


South East Asia Backpacker is a ‘travel diary for everyone’. This article has been written with the help of backpackers and local experts. We would like to thank…

🙏 Staff at Karma Traders Kampot 
🙏 Staff at Bong’s Koh Rong Samloem
🙏 Sheree Hooker | Editor at South East Asia Backpacker
🙏 Tim | Gear Expert at South East Asia Backpacker
🙏 Sarah | Yoga Barn Kampot

Charlotte Greenwood
Charlotte Greenwood

My name’s Charlotte and I’m currently on a six-month backpacking trip with my boyfriend Carl across Southeast Asia. So far we’ve travelled around Vietnam and Thailand and hope to visit Cambodia, the Philippines and Bali over the next few months. I’ve started a travel Instagram account as a way to record what we get up to so if you’re interested in travelling feel free to follow my account and drop me a message!

Find her on: Instagram | LinkedIn

Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top