How to Spend 48 hours in Kampot, Cambodia
Peace, quiet and relaxation are what this riverside town in the south of Cambodia is all about. It’s a wonderful respite from the slightly manic world of Phnom Penh for a few days or a great detour on the way to Sihanoukville, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloen. I definitely could have stayed a lot longer than 2 days in Kampot, but still managed to see quite a lot in the time I had. So here’s my guide on the best way to spend 48 hours in Kampot.
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Paddleboarding, kayaking or tubing
One of the top ways to spend 48 hours in Kampot is to enjoy the peace and quiet of the river. Grab a tube and relax or go out exploring on a paddleboard or kayak. Quite a lot of hotels and hostels have their own you can use, usually for a small fee or even for free. If yours doesn’t though, Champa Lodge rents out all of the above, and it is a great starting point for visiting the Green Cathedral, an impressive tunnel of overhanging trees on the water.
Cafe Espresso is a place you must try during your 48 hours in Kampot. This brunch cafe come evening bar serves up amazing, tasty food throughout the day. It’s got a slightly upmarket hipster feel to it, with rough around the edges interiors and a focus on wholesome nutritious dishes. Not forgetting quality coffee and decent WiFi on tap of course. Really, Cafe Espresso wouldn’t look out of place in an edgy London or Berlin suburb, yet without the inflated prices. The average dish sets you back around $4 – $6 here.
Go get a massage or spa treatment
After a morning of outdoor activities, head back into town and to one of its spas for a relaxing massage or spa treatment. We visited something Golden Hands Massage & Spa, where I had a very good oil back, shoulder and neck massage. It’s not the fanciest of places but offers a comfy environment and very reasonable treatments from around $5. As another option, Banteay Srey Women’s Spa, Yoga & Massage also has some great offers and excellent reviews. But as the name says, girls only allowed, so wasn’t an option for mixed-sex couples like ourselves.
Yoga at Simple Things – alternative thing to do
If yoga is your thing, then you don’t want to miss a yoga session at Simple Things. They run classes every day at 9 am and 5 pm in their bright and breezy studio. All abilities are welcome, so even if you’re a yoga newbie, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a go. Each class is only $5 a pop and afterwards you can recharge in their vegetarian restaurant next door.
Epic Arts Cafe
As you only have 48 hours in Kampot, there’s one more cafe you should definitely check out – Epic Arts Cafe. The food here is really tasty, with a selection of amazing cakes and drinks too. Better yet, the cafe is a social enterprise that provides work opportunities for local people with disabilities, so by visiting you’ll be helping a fantastic cause. There’s also an art and craft shop upstairs where artists with disabilities sell their work.
Spend the rest of your 48 hours in Kampot exploring its beautiful and varied countryside. There’s a lot to see, but fortunately, there are also lots of tuk-tuk drivers around town who offer a 1-day countryside tour that visits most places of interest. We paid $23 for a full day tour which included the following attractions:
Situated just outside of Kampot town, the Salt Fields weren’t really all that interesting. There was none working on the fields when we went, so we couldn’t really see first hand how the salt was collected. This might have turned it into more of an experience. Here you’ll also be able to taste Kampot’s different types of salt and buy some if you wish, which some people might like.
Next, we drove to one of Kampot’s most famous pepper plantations, La Plantation. Your trip to the farm will include a free talk on pepper by one of the guides followed by a tour of the plantation (also free). In the plantation grounds, there’s also some very pretty gardens here to wander around, as well as a restaurant and shop where you can try some unique Kampot recipes and buy pepper to take home with you.
The Secret Lake
On the way back from the pepper plantation, you’ll come across the secret lake. Like the Salt Fields, there’s not loads to see here, but it’s a very pleasant spot to stop off at for a few moments and take in the surrounding countryside.
Next on the tour was the Crab Market. This lies sprawled out on the seafront and is actually closer to Kep than Kampot. The stalls here mostly sell freshly caught fish and crabs, yet there’s more interesting food to look out for that you can buy there and then. Grilled octopus and squid anyone? And even if you’re not a fan of seafood, the market is a very interesting place to photograph, so make sure to throw your camera in your bag that day.
The final stop on the tour before heading back to Kampot is Kep Beach. If I’m honest, compared to beaches in neighbouring Thailand, this beach was rather average. It’s quite small and the scenery isn’t remotely tropical. Despite this, it’s still a good place to unwind and relax for a while. I would recommend doing the walk along the waterfront from the Crab monument to the observation tower on the other side.
Kampot is a wonderful town to visit for some real rest and relaxation and hopefully, this guide has given you some tips on how to best spend your time there.
Got more than 48 hours in Kampot? Here are some other places you could visit: