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Untouched nature, adrenaline-pumping water sports, authentic cuisine and enchanting history are all captured in the small town of Kampot, Cambodia. Here are the top 10 activities and sights.
A great way to admire the picturesque scenery of the unspoiled coastline of Cambodia is to ride the Crab Shuttle that runs regularly between Kampot and Kep. After getting on the boat in the early morning, travelers can bathe themselves under the sun and enjoy the soothing sea breezes of the Thai Gulf. Occasionally, they may eve spot schools of flying fish as they glide across the waters. A wide range of authentic Cambodian lunch options are available to satisfy foodies’ tastebuds. Meanwhile, a stint on a local beach is a fine way to finish the journey.
The 140,000 hectares that make up this national park feature breathtaking natural vistas and an amazing array of wildlife. The wildlife ranges from foxes to tigers, snakes and one of the biggest herds of elephant in Cambodia. There are also waterfalls, exotic flora and hiking trails to explore between the jungles. These are all interspersed with some curious remnants of French colonialism.
Cambodia is a Buddhist country packed with temples with distinctive features. In Kampot, the Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple, the only cave temple in Cambodia, is a real must-see. Built in the the Funan style, this complex hidden in a cave has a history of more than 1,300 years. Visitors are greeted by elephant-shaped stalactites, not to mention breathtaking views of the hills around Kampot.
After spending days exploring the city and climbing the surrounding mountains, travelers should be sure to hit a traditional Cambodian spa to unwind. Treatments offered across the city include pedicures, steam facials, back massages, hand and foot massages and manicures. Cambodian therapists are known for their ability to relieve muscle aches and pains.
This energetic water sport originated in Hawaii but quickly crossed to the waterways around Kampot, where it’s now a popular pastime. Amiable and professional guides offer travelers an introduction to the sport. It is said to be one of the best ways to explore the rural side of Cambodia and the floating villages on the riversides around town.
The old Catholic church perched on the top of Bokor Mountain records the history of Cambodia. Built by the French in the mid 1970s, the church accommodated Khmer Rouge soldiers. The best way to see the curious site is to hire a guide or join a tour, which will plunge travelers into stories of Cambodia’s ancient days and reveal the wonderful viewpoints that pepper the mountain tracks.
A visit to Popokvil Waterfall is a precious opportunity to regain connection with nature and interact with local Cambodians. The spectacular waterfall dropping from the top of the Bokor Mountain inspires travelers to relax. It’s also popular with meditating monks and picnicking folk outside Kampot. Apart from the magnificent waterfall, another reason to visit the attraction is the delicious authentic Khmer food on offer from the huts.
Kite surfing offers a way to view the untouched nature and pristine coastline of Cambodia. Adrenaline-pumping and fun in the extreme, this activity is perfect for action junkies. It’s also great for casual sightseers on account of the relatively calm waters and tranquil spots around Kampot town.
There are a vast number of shops offering a wide selection of local handicrafts on the streets that line the waterways of Kampot. Each tout interesting trinkets and curious jewelry. Most of the goods are handmade with raw materials collected at the beach, like seashells and coral. Tourists can also get bamboo-knitted containers, which are common in Cambodian households.
The best of Khmer food in Kampot is hidden in the shabby hut of Khmer Root Café. Surrounded by the untouched countryside of Kampot, this family-run restaurant offers traditional dishes and flavors. The open kitchen allows curious diners to take a glimpse at the chefs at work. Meanwhile, regular cooking classes are perhaps a better introduction to the techniques of the regional kitchen.