Two hours from Sihanoukville lies the town of Kampot. It’s known for its French colonialist architecture and relaxed atmosphere, as well as the pepper being produced locally which is world famous. We liked the atmosphere straight away. The town is situated along the river, with a nice big riverfront and big open streets. There’s much less traffic here than in the other Cambodian towns we’ve been to, and there’s much less stress and hassle getting around here. There’s also lots of nice little restaurants and bakeries here serving French food…
We rented a scooter at the hotel, and it was really nice to be able to get around by ourselves – this is the first time we’ve felt comfortable doing that in Cambodia. We drove an hour out of town to Bokor National park, which is situated on a mountain, to check out the so called ‘ghost casino’ and a waterfall. It got quite cold as we drove up the mountain, and we had to drive through a lot of fog to get there.
As it’s dry season we didn’t see much of the waterfall, but the casino – twice abandoned, once during WW2 and during the Khmer Rouge regime – was pretty spooky in the fog. There was also a whole bunch of other absolutely massive buildings under construction on the mountain top – who knows why as there was almost no people there, and it’s quite far from anywhere. But it was a quite cool, if very Cambodian, experience.
On the way down through the park we spotted a couple of gigantic birds with massive beaks jumping around in the trees. Mike got very exited. We later found out that they’re called Hornbills. They are really enormous birds, and very spectacular to see up close.
Tonight we had some proper cheese and red wine for the first time in Asia. It was really nice. We both agree that Kampot is our favourite of all the places we’ve been in Cambodia – it’s just really relaxed and pleasant, with a nice atmosphere and pretty architecture.