With excellent links to Phnom Penh, a brand-new super seaport and bordering the Bokor National Park, Krong Kampot is fast becoming a hot spot for foreign investment. With the significant leap in foreign visitors set to rise steadily again, the once sleepy riverside town is looking to be on course for an economic boom and is seen by many as the next big thing in Cambodian tourism.
Kampot’s new seaport, based in the southern economic corridor, is to become the gateway to the region connecting Kampot to the rest of the world. Boasting facilities that match international standards it will accommodate up to one million travellers and be a key part of the Kingdoms infrastructure and transport links.
Sitting between the gulf and the mountains on the Preaek Tuek Chhu river, Kampot’s cultural richness and historical French architecture provide endless adventures for visitors in for a vacation or backpackers simply passing through. Its dreamy lure attracted close to half a million visitors in the first 3 months of 2019, with boutique style resorts and backpacker retreats it’s easy to lose a week just settling onto life before heading off to explore the Bokor National Park or the cave-temples and country-side in the surrounding area.
Food and Drink
From Khmer cafes, to French fusion restaurants or superb street eateries Kampot has plenty cooking for the hungry traveller. Here’s our top 5 spots for enjoying Kampot cuisine at its best:
Kampot Seafood & Pepper
A refurbished merchants house plays host to Kampot’s finest contemporary fusion dining. From sautéed squid to homemade roasted ham there’s a splendidly varied menu, all with lashings of pepper, as the name suggests. For $20 you can even try your own with a three-hour cooking class.
Inventive tapas taking influence from Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, this colourful and cosy spot has a wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, an excellent drinks menu and a must for fans of small plate feasting.
La Java Bleue
Tucked away in one of Kampot’s most prestigious corners, this luxurious guesthouse and restaurant boasts some of the best fresh fish dishes you’re likely to find. A mix of Khmer and European food brings a colonial twist to some of the region’s traditional tastes.
Khmer Roots Café
As the name suggests, Khmer cuisine fills the menu from banana flower salads to chicken and beef curries, everything is made to order and if you fancy having a go yourself, cooking classes are available. All served up at the edge of Tomnop Tek Krolar aka, the Secret Lake.
If you think the names a mouthful, wait until you try the food. Sat looking out to Elephant mountain, Rikitikitavi (named after Rudyard Kipling’s mongoose in The Jungle Book) offers only the freshest market delights, or fish straight from the boat. Famous for Kampot pepper chicken, burritos and slow-cooked curry, this riverfront café provides the absolute perfect ambience for evening dining.
Top 5 Tourist Spots
When you’ve had your fill and feel a little more adventurous, Kampot is filled with history and culture that’s free to explore. Falling well short on everything it has to offer, here’s our top 5 must sees when investigating the region.
Kampot is known for its pepper plantations and salt fields. La Plantation provides guided tours in English, French and Khmer taking you through the what’s involved with the growing, harvesting and processing of the several varieties of pepper grown on the farm. Fruits, chilis, herbs and peanuts are also grown on the farm which has a shop and a restaurant if you’d like to sample the produce.
Home to several natural caves, Phnom Sorsia is a Buddhist Hill complex. Travelling up a stairway to the modern temple further steps lead you on a circuit around the White Elephant Cave (Rung Damrey Saa) and through to the Bat Cave, where countless bats fly overhead out into the forest and back through a narrow natural chimney in the caves roof. Local children are often on hand to serve as guides for a dollar or two.
Bokor National ParkA place of natural beauty, exotic wildlife, waterfalls and exquisite landscapes and scenery, Bokor National Park is one of the Kingdoms treasures. With visitors from far and wide attracted by the beautiful scenes and wildlife on offer, this is one of the main reasons people visit Kampot, and the reason investors are keen to seek opportunities in the area. Covering 1500km² of rainforest, grassland and dense forest you can expect to bump into Indian elephants, Asiatic black bears, leopards and hundreds of species of birds.
Bokor National Park
Built in the 1930’s in downtown Kampot on the Boulevard off the riverfront, the old market sports an art-deco concrete façade with various shops, travel agencies and cafes around both sides of the building. After being abandoned for many moons, an investor recently restored it to its former glory and now the hustle and bustle is the centre of town for tourists in Kampot.
Just a shot boat ride away is the untapped Rabbit Island. Clear waters, coconut palms and beach shack restaurants provide the perfect secluded day trip away from the noise of the town. Boats are almost always available for the trip over, and once there you can extend your day trip and stay the night in one of the islands bungalows for as little as $10. Clear and warm water offers snorkelling opportunities, and although coral is scarce there are many colourful fish to be seen.
With the addition of the Seaport, Kampot is gearing itself for the tourism boom experienced throughout much of Cambodia over the last ten years. With this steady rise already bringing in investment from China and Korea, the additional boost to the economy that the Seaport brings is sure to bring many real estate opportunities, with extremely promising results for foreign investors. With half a million tourists expected to pass through by the end of 2020, Kampot is worth serious consideration for your overseas ventures.