How long has it been since you last traveled?
It hasn’t actually been that long for me as I was just in Siem Reap in September, but my itchy feet couldn’t just stay still. I’ve actually had one particular place in mind, but I couldn’t go there yet (weather problem) and until then, I knew had to be somewhere else.
My boyfriend and I had recently spent 2.5 days and 2 nights in Kampot and below is our full itinerary.
There are 3 options to get from Phnom Penh to Kampot; bus, minivan and train.
Train operates only 3 times a week (Friday – Sunday) and 1 trip a day, while bus and minivan make several trips a day every day. To book your bus/minivan ticket, click here.
We first tried the local train (same route) in 2018 and the experience was awful, so we decided to give it another go to make up for the last time.
Such a disappointment— we can say that nothing improved since they first operated.
Train system here in Cambodia works horribly different. One way ticket costs you 7USD/Person. There is a cabin and seat number on the ticket you purchase, but you can sit in whatever cabin or seat you like as long as you get to the train first.
Tip? Train leaves at 7:00AM, but get your ass there by 6:00AM, check which cabin and seat you like, leave your bag there and you’re good to go. They don’t check your ticket at the entrance but do so when the train leaves.
Though this may sound fun, I wouldn’t recommend you take the train. I think it’s safer, better and more convenient to go with bus/minivan for now until Royal Railway finds a better way to operate.
We recommend Kimseng Express. We like how thoughtful they are during this pandemic. Every passenger is required to wash their hands and go under the alcohol mist shower before boarding.
Despite all the flaws, there are also some good things about the train here.
- They leave on time.
- You can find trash bins at every seat.
- The toilet isn’t too bad.
- There’s a food carriage on the train. You can buy some snacks and beverages.
- The view along the way is amazing.
The whole journey took us 5h30mn. We left Phnom Penh at 7:00AM and finally got to Kampot at 12:30PM.
We stayed at Montagne Guest House for 2 nights in a Double Room. Our 2-night stay cost us 36.02USD.
Here’s the mountain view from our room.
DAY 1 (From 2:30PM)
We rested for a while before we headed out for lunch.
1. Rusty Keyhole Boathouse
Hello old friend, we’re back again.
Rusty Keyhole is our all time favorite restaurant. I don’t want to rewrite my first time experience at Rusty, so you can click here to read more.
We ordered Full Rack, Banger and Mashed Potato and fresh Watermelon Juice. The whole meal cost both of us 17USD.
We always love this perfect view from Rusty Keyhole Boathouse.
Location: Krong Kampot, 13205
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 22:30 Daily
2. Nibi Spa
I’ve been finding a massage place in Kampot for so long and I finally found the most interesting one, Nibi Spa.
Nibi Spa offers a very different vibe as it is quite far from Kampot town. We had to drive from our first stop for more than 10km to get to the spa.
How I wish I had checked the “How to Get Here” before we left Rusty. We followed google map and it led us to the “Red Road” or to “The Adventurous Way” as quoted by Nibi. It was super bumpy, dusty and muddy. Just look at our sneakers as an evidence. Yes, very adventurous that I almost cried.
We finally got to Nibi after an hour ride.
Look how peaceful the spa is.
My boyfriend and I chose a 60mn Nibi Classic and it cost us 23USD a person.
The massage was great and the service in general is very accommodating.
Location: Komchai, Kampot 07000
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday)
Note: They’re open for reservation on other days of the week for private group of 8 people or above. Opening days and hours might change. Make sure to call or contact them through their Facebook Page before you go. It is recommended to book for your treatment in advance.
Our second day started very early as we had to go to Kep.
1. Bay Bi Kampot
We stopped by at Bay Bi Kampot for a quick breakfast. We found this place while searching for where to eat in Kampot and decided to give it a try.
I’m not sure how much it actually costs per dish, probably 2USD each. Both dishes with a glass of iced tea cost us 4.12USD. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it wasn’t bad either.
Location: 716, Krong Kampot
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 15:00 Daily
2. Lotus Cafe
We’ve never missed Lotus Cafe every time we visit Kampot.
We grabbed an Iced Cappuccino to go for 2USD. Their coffee is good and very reasonable.
Location: Sangkat Kampong Bay, Krong Kampot
Opening Hours: 06:30 – 20:00 Daily
3. Kep National Park
Kep is only around 27km away from Kampot. You can easily get there in 40 minutes or less by motorbike.
The view along the way from Kampot to Kep is breathtaking. I regret not having a quick stop for photos.
We finally got to Kep at 9:15AM and Kep National Park was our first stop.
My boyfriend and I wanted to see the viewpoint from Kep National Park, so we spent 2 hours (including photo sessions) hiking back and forth.
We came across this hotel at the beginning of the hiking trail.
The round-way hiking trail is around 9km. You can actually ride the motorbike here if you’re not up for a hike, but we recommend hiking for a more authentic experience at the park. Believe me, it’s a very easy long walk.
Here’s the famous little Led Zep Cafe along the hiking trail. The cafe is open at 10:00AM, but people are already lining up for a table at 9:00AM.
The viewpoint is only around 15 minutes away from Led Zep if you’re a fast-walker.
We got to the viewpoint too fast that we didn’t really think it was the viewpoint. Plus, we couldn’t really see the view that we wish to see from here as it was already covered by all these tall trees.
After a quick stop, we decided to continue our hike. Our mind tricked us there must be another viewpoint from here but nope, nothing found besides this remarkable tree.
We kept going until we reached the end of the hiking trail. We could easily take tuk-tuk back to the side where we started, but we decided to choose the hard way and do a little exercise by hiking back.
Location: Krong Kep
- Local: Free
- Tourist: 1USD
4. Kep Sur Mer Restaurant
Finally lunchtime after a 2-hour-hike!
Kep is best known for its cheap seafood at Crab Market, but we decided to eat at the restaurant instead. We had lunch at Kep Sur Mer.
We ordered Steamed Crab, Stir Fried Squid and Water Melon Juice. Yes, we’re watermelon juice-lovers! The whole lunch cost us 21.5USD.
The food was good and the place is nice.
Location: Around Crab Market, Kep
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:30 Daily
5. Crab Market (Psar Kdarm)
Crab Market is a very famous market for us Cambodians who wish to bring seafood back home.
I’ve never bought anything here, but I’ve heard seafood here is very fresh and of relatively good price if you know how to bargain.
6. Beoung Brateak Krola (The Secret Lake) View from Champs D’Amour
Beoung Brateak Krola, aka The Secret Lake was our next stop after returning from Kep.
Here’s the view en route to Beoung Brateak Krola.
These people looked like they’re really having a lot fun at the dam.
Google map led us to nowhere near the lake, so we decided to turn back and stop by the place we came across earlier.
Here we are at Champs D’Amour.
We ordered lemon tea here for the view and it cost us only 0.75USD. What surprised us is that the place is real wonderful, yet very underrated.
With such view, they sell very cheap food and drinks.
They also have several bungalows and campsite here at Champs D’Amour. Their AC Bungalow is only 20USD/Night, Fan Bungalow is 15USD/Night and Tent is 10USD/Night.
Location: Kon Sat Commune, Teok Chhou District
7. Phnom Chgok
Phnom Chgok wasn’t originally in our plan for the day as we didn’t think we could cram it up. All thanks to my boyfriend for trying to navigate the road from Champs D’Amour to Phnom Chgok and found out it wasn’t really that far.
We once again took the less travelled road to Phnom Chgok and it led us to this view.
Phnom Chgok is a very interesting site and it is recommended to go with a local guide. Don’t you worry about finding local guides, they’ll find you once you’re there.
Ours were these 3 seven-graders in the photo who talked us into the cave tour. We wanted to bring just one of them, but they insisted to go together.
We didn’t think we’d be needed a local guide at first, let alone 3, but we sure as hell do after what they showed us.
Everyone knows the main attraction of the cave is the ancient temple inside, but there’s actually more to that!
You’ll find some interesting nature carvings and I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to spot those if you don’t bring the local guide.
For a more authentic experience, come back outside through one of the caves. Trust your guide, they know their way.
But if you didn’t go prepared like we did, you can also come back through the same 203 stairs you climbed to see the temple. Here’s the view from the stairs.
Besides this one cave with the ancient temple, we were told that there are other interesting caves needed our attention. You’ll need to spend at least 2 hours to visit all those caves.
Location: Teok Chhou District
8. A Firefly Boat Trip
I once used to say “If there is one thing you shouldn’t miss doing in Kampot, it’s a firefly boat trip”.
Nope, not anymore. You can definitely cross this one off your list in 2020.
I’ve actually never intended to see those magical little fireflies as I know how little of them I’m going to see. What I really intended to see is always the view along they way. I first tried this boat trip in 2015 and the view was “Moana’s Restoring the Heart of Te Fiti” scene kind of pretty.
My boyfriend has never tried this before and I wanted him to have the best experience as I did. But all gone wrong.
If you want to see the view along the way like we do, I don’t think it’s a good idea for a boat trip during this time of the year. The sky gets dark faster in November than other months and you wouldn’t be able see a thing.
Our boat was scheduled to leave at 6:00PM but they left at around 6:20PM. Basically, we really went for the few fireflies this time.
You have to be in a pitch-black and very quiet setting in order to see fireflies. But people on this boat are real weird, even the boat people themselves.
They played bad music loudly and kept using flashlight from their phone to find fireflies. I mean how stupid can you be?
The whole trip was for 1 hour but it felt like years being on the same boat with those people. Great that it only cost us 2.5USD (which explained the experience) or we would have been real mad.
9. Ecran Noodle
Ecran Noodle is our saving grace after the super boring boat trip. At least we got to stuff ourselves with good food and left with very happy bellies.
We ordered Pork Noodle and Fried Pork Dumplings and it cost us both 8.5USD.
Their soup here is very different from the famous Chinese Mee Teanh place we usually have in Phnom Penh. Hey don’t get me wrong, they’re both great.
Pork dumpling here at Ecran is filled with a lot of pork that it already turned it into “pork nuggets” in our definition. We love it!
It’s cheap, it’s good, it’s located in a great location and we’re happy!
Here’s the view from Ecran Noodle in the morning.
Location: Street 735, Krong Kampot
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00 Daily
Here comes the last half day of our trip before heading back to Phnom Penh.
1. Glass Noodle at Pka Romyoul
We had breakfast at this famous little street side food stall called Mee Sur Pka Romyoul.
Their specialty is All Meat Type Glass Noodle. It’s a good portion of 2USD. Their glass noodle tastes differently good and we like it!
The place gets crowded after 8:00AM. To avoid the crowd, come eat at 7:00AM or 7:15AM.
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 16:00 Daily
Note: They may close as early as 13:00 depends on their soup.
2. Old Buildings
Hunting old French-styled buildings is one of our favorite things to do in Kampot.
These buildings are all located around Kampot Old Market block. You may start from the iconic Kampot Fish Market building.
Location: Riverside Road, Kampot
That’s all for now, until next time. Bye.