15 Best Things to Do in Kampot (Cambodia)

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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The sleepy town of Kampot isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. Naturally beautiful and effortlessly enchanting, you’ll slip right into a balance of laid back days on the river, and scenic drives over red dirt roads. Relatively untouched by tourism, its natural beauty puts you on the fast-track to getting back in touch with Mother Earth with rock climbing, river tours, and expeditions into the jungle.

Kampot also has a rich history as it served as the capitol city under French rule. Today, travelers can hop on a motorbike and explore handfuls of abandoned French colonial mansions and churches reminiscent of Indiana Jones-style voyages. All in all, Kampot is unlike any other Cambodian city you’ll find. If you like natural adventure and historical discoveries, don’t skip over this hidden gem of a city.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Kampot:

1. Have an ATV or Dirt Bike Adventure

ATV, CambodiaSource: ChadwickWrites / shutterstock

The jungles of Kampot are lined with a maze of red dirt roads just waiting to be explored. The best way to do so is with some serious off road vehicles.

Drive through the rice fields with made-for-mud Land Rovers, motorbike up steep mountain inclines to find sprawling views of the city, and thrash about in the jungle with ATVs that will get your heart pounding.

All of Off-Road Kampot’s tours come with a local tour guide that is knowledgeable about the area and keen on safety. Custom plan a trip with the pros at Adventure Rider Asia where you can partake in day trips or go crazy with 1-2 week explorations.

2. Kite Boarding

Kite BoardingSource: CatwalkPhotos / shutterstock
Kite Boarding

The first and only IKO (International Kite Boarding Organization) licensed kite boarding school is right here in the town of Kampot. Villa Vedici is the place to go if you want to get some serious air on the Kampot River.

Villa Vedici offers kite boarding classes for beginners, excursions for adventurers, and gear to rent for advanced boarders who just want to get out and explore on their own.

Come solo, go on a kite boarding excursion as a group, and don’t be afraid to sign your kids up for professional lessons with trustworthy instructors.

3. La Plantation Pepper Farm

La Plantation Pepper FarmSource: Mikhail Yuryev / shutterstock
La Plantation Pepper Farm

Fun Fact: Kampot’s #1 export is black pepper. Foodies will love the opportunity to tour black pepper farms where guides walk you through various stages of black pepper forests, and let you sample the spicy products along the way. Best of all, the tours are free of charge without any pushy people trying to make a sale!

After the short tour, take a seat in the on-sire restaurant where you’ll have some extremely fresh dishes with black pepper right off the vine. Of course, there are bags of black pepper to purchase at local prices as souvenirs.

Bring your camera as the farms are spectacularly gorgeous.

4. Kampot River

Kampot RiverSource: Ferry Tomasowa / shutterstock
Kampot River

Kampot River is the epitome of beauty with winding turns through lush jungle and mangroves, is clean enough to swim in, and offers extremely gorgeous sunset views.

The most thrilling way to explore? Strap yourself into a high-speed water jet tour boat that speeds along the river getting some air as it reaches speeds up to 80 kilometers per hour, doing 360 degree donuts, and making you scream like a little girl.

Tours start as low as $15. Aside from the adrenaline filled speed session, you’ll get a chance to immerse yourself in the ecosystem of the Kampot river and get a glimpse into the life of local fisherman who are sure to flash a big toothless smile as you zip on by.

5. Bokor National Park

Popokvil Waterfall, Bokor National Park, CambodiaSource: DR Travel Photo and Video / shutterstock
Popokvil Waterfall, Bokor National Park, Cambodia

Bokor National Park offers more than just thick jungle, singing birds, and babbling brooks; it is also home to massive abandoned French Colonial houses and mysteriously abandoned churches giving this jungle an eerie, ghost town vibe.

Bring your camera, as you’ll want to capture the towering Buddha statue and insanely beautiful views of the winding valleys of Cambodia.

The drive itself into Bokor National Park is worth it in itself with well-maintained roads and scenery that will have you stopping to take photos every 10 minutes.

If you’re comfortable on a motorbike, this is the ideal way to explore; if not, hire a tuk tuk or ask your hotel about hiring a mini van.

6. Go Paddle Boarding

Paddle BoardingSource: NicoElNino / shutterstock
Paddle Boarding

The mellow surface of the Kampot River is the ideal place for a day of paddle boarding. No worries if you don’t have any experience as SUP Asia offers paddle boarding lessons in the most ideal environment for learning.

Take the board out for an hour or two where you’ll paddle down the river surrounded by birds and wildlife, and hop off the board into the water for a refreshing swim. If you’re up for a real adventure, SUP Asia offers 2-3 day excursions where you paddle into local fishing villages and get a real taste for Cambodian culture.

7. Taco Tuesday at Karma Traders Kampot

Karma Traders KampotSource: www.karmatraderskampot.com
Karma Traders Kampot

Serene sunsets from the rooftop bar back dropped with live music by artists from around the world and tasty tacos to hit the spot- Taco Tuesday at Karma Traders Kampot is the place to be. There is a swimming pool on site, guest rooms to rent, and a collection of furry animals to be cuddled. How can you pass this up?

Not around on Tuesdays? No worries. Enjoy happy hour everyday on the rooftop bar overlooking Bokor Mountain from 5-7pm. The friendly expat bartenders are wonderful sources of information if you’re looking to rent motorbikes or need some advice on where to travel to after Kampot.

8. Take a Scenic Drive to Kep

Kep, CambodiaSource: Galyna Andrushko / shutterstock

An easy ride along a paved highway beside the ocean isn’t a bad way to spend the day. The ride to Kep is a comfortable journey, even for beginners, as the traffic isn’t too overwhelming and the directions are literally straightforward.

When you reach Kep, park your bike and kick your feet up in one of the many hammock filled gazebos. Food hawkers will come to you selling the famous Kampot Pepper Crab and cold beverages. On a straw mat below your hammocks, you and your pals can have a local picnic with the soft ocean breeze and some much needed shade.

Have a walk around the small seaside market where fresh fish are grilling and dried squid are sold on a stick. Sink your feet into the manmade beach and just chill out.

9. Arcadia Water Park Guest House

Arcadia Water Park Guest HouseSource: Arcadia Backpackers and Water Park Kampot / Facebook
Arcadia Water Park Guest House

A guest house situated right on the river where you’ll wear your bathing suit all day, drink ice cold beers, jump straight from the deck into the fresh water, join in on beer pong tournaments and mingle with a collection of backpackers from around the world- what more can you ask for?

Oh, actually. What about a floating pontoon with a 3-meter diving off point, an inflatable blob that launches you into the air, a massive waterslide, rope swing, inner tubes and more? It’s always a wild time at Arcadia.

Stay the night or pop by for $7 a day to join in on the water park antics.

10. Kayak on the River

Kayaking at sunset, Kampot riverSource: Peter Choo / shutterstock
Kayaking at sunset, Kampot river

Depending on where you’re renting, you can become a pioneer of the 30-kilometer Kampot River on your very own kayak for as little as $2 an hour. There are tons of guesthouses and shops around Kampot that offer kayak tours and kayaks for your own explorations.

Visit Greenhouse Guest House who will help you map out the ideal kayaking route to include mangroves, rapids, bird watching and peaceful views. Samon Village Kampot rents their kayaks on competitive half day and full day rates and is located closer to town and many guesthouses.

Choosing between the two will be a matter of convenience.

11. Eat at the Night Market

Kampot Night MarketSource: Sofia Zambra Aramburu / shutterstock
Kampot Night Market

Head towards “The Big Durian” roundabout intersection where you’ll find stall after stall of street food to hit the spot. You can try grilled Khmer delicacies on a stick, comfort food in the form of noodle soup and beef sandwiches, and sweet treats such as mango sticky rice.

There are plastic tables and chairs where you can chill out with your crew, taking your time as you go and picking dishes at random to create the perfect spread.

You’ll also find plenty of stalls where you can find clothing, shoes, hammocks, souvenirs, and more. You could easily spend a couple hours just roaming around and practicing your haggling skills.

12. Rock Climbing at Climbodia

Rock ClimbingSource: Lolostock / shutterstock
Rock Climbing

If you like extreme sports that defy gravity, why not take a shot at rock climbing in Cambodia? The climbing pros at Climbodia will guide you as you embark on 35-meter top rope climb to reach a cliff side summit with amazing views of salt flats, Bokor Mountain, and on a clear day, as far as Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

Not wild enough? Climbodia also offers abseiling tours where you drop down 30 meters into a hole in the earth with only a head lamp to guide the way.

Tours are available all year round, run for approximately 4 hours and are a bargain at around $40.

13. Explore the Local Villages via Motorbike

Kampot Salt FieldsSource: Mikhail Yuryev / shutterstock
Kampot Salt Fields

Some of the most rewarding days spent in Kampot are the days where you just point yourself in a general direction and drive. Head towards Nut Hill (Phnom Dung), Fishing Island (Koh D’tray), or Kampot’s salt fields to immerse yourself in some incredible scenery.

You’ll drive past small shops offering bottles of petrol and cans of beer, as well as local restaurants serving authentic Cambodian dishes and friendly company from the locals. Drive slowly along the red clay roads as you pass rice fields with cheerful Cambodian farmers, lazy water buffalo and local kids who will be equally excited and surprised to see you.

The roads are a bit bumpy so it’s best you go one person per bike.

14. Epic Arts Café

Coconut PancakeSource: Gekko Gallery / shutterstock
Coconut Pancake

Get your coffee fix and contribute to a well-deserving cause at this NGO run café and art gallery. Epic Arts Café aims to increase work opportunities for disabled people in Kampot and generates revenue to put towards local art programs.

You’ll find that many of the staff here are deaf, so go ahead and order by ticking the boxes on your menu or take a shot at some basic Cambodian Sign Language.

Feed your stomach and your soul with some Banana & Coconut Pancakes, Mango Salad with Grilled Tuna, or Bacon Paninis among other tasty treats.

15. Spa Day at Banteay Srey

MassageSource: Shutterstock

Sorry guys, this is a women-only spa in Kampot. Banteay Srey trains Khmer women, most of whom come from difficult backgrounds, in spa services so that they can advance their quality of life.

Indulge in traditional Khmer massage, steam massage, facials, and other spa services that help “women connect with women”. You can also join in on the daily yoga classes and then enjoy some fresh fruit juice to replenish your system.

Empower your body while you empower local women and girls to take control of their lives! After rock climbing, motor biking, and river swimming, your body will certainly be in the need for a little TLC.

15 Best Things to Do in Kampot (Cambodia):

  • Have an ATV or Dirt Bike Adventure
  • Kite Boarding
  • La Plantation Pepper Farm
  • Kampot River
  • Bokor National Park
  • Go Paddle Boarding
  • Taco Tuesday at Karma Traders Kampot
  • Take a Scenic Drive to Kep
  • Arcadia Water Park Guest House
  • Kayak on the River
  • Eat at the Night Market
  • Rock Climbing at Climbodia
  • Explore the Local Villages via Motorbike
  • Epic Arts Café
  • Spa Day at Banteay Srey