Kampot is a magnetic little town in the south of Cambodia which pulls in the type of travellers who are looking to take things slowly. Not to worry though if you’re the active sort – there is plenty to keep you occupied in and around the town as well.
We stayed in Kampot for 2 weeks indulging in idleness some days and out exploring on others. We’ll put up posts soon about a couple of motorbike trips we took in the surrounding countryside and on where to lay your head. In the meantime though, here’s our top tips for things to do in Kampot town:
1. Eat some fresh noodles at Ecran
The best noodles we’ve had in Asia! We’ve made some pretty bold statements here on The Two Gallivants and this is one of them, but it’s well founded. Ecran is an unassuming little place opposite the Central Market, but that it’s regularly packed out is a tell tale sign of its yuminess. But not only does it satisfy the tastiness test, it’s a cool experience as you get to watch the noodle chef do some Kung Fu moves to pull the fresh noodles right before your eyes – great stuff!
2. Then head up the stairs to the comfy private cinema
Above Ecran there is a little cinema. You can pay for your own private room with a large screen TV or you can head into the main room which houses a medium size cinema screen and hippie mats, large cushions and easy chairs for around 20 people – bliss! Thankfully for you (bad for Hollywood!), Cambodia’s lack of IP protection and the wonder of torrents means the cinema shows great quality latest releases. It also has a massive back catalogue that you can choose from when you get a private booth. Check it out.
3. Buy a book in Central Market & read it by the river
There is a bookstore at the central market which has loads of cheap second hand and “new” books. We’ve used the bunny ears here because the new books are ones that the bookshop must have made themselves by photocopying originals. But they done a good job of the copying and so we got a few Orwell and Henry Miller books and there are lots lots more to choose from.
And where better to sit and read your illicit book than along the beautiful riverfront. It’s accessible for long stretches and has lots of places to park your bum and unwind and contemplate how Cambodia’s loose approach to protecting creative property is great for you!
4. Breakfast at the Epic Arts Cafe
Just try their Eggs Benedict – that’s all I need to say….well except for the fact that the cafe is part of the very worthy Epic Arts charity. Epic Arts is based out of the UK, China and Cambodia and it seeks to enable discussion around and action for disability related issues through art. The cafe in Kampot, which is near the central market, is staffed by local people with disabilities. So by going there you will be helping a wonderful cause and getting a hearty feed all in the same whack – not to be missed!
5. Watch a band at Madi House Bar
Madi Bar is conveniently located along the riverfront, so it’s easy to find and is the perfect place to chill out with a beer any night of the week. But the best nights to go are when they have a band playing and if you’re lucky, the Kampot Playboys will be showing off their Khmer style rock n’ roll. Emily’s two mates from back home, who’ve been living in Kampot for many years, play in the band along with a few locals and they can certainly get you dancing. Here’s a photo of them in action courtesy of leboost-cambodia.com
6. Carry on the party with a late night drink at Oh Neil’s Irish bar
If you’re dying of the thirst after all that dancing and it’s getting on after 12am, so everywhere is shutting down, then head a few doors up from Madi Bar to Oh Neil’s for a late night cap. We got talking to the Irish owner one night and stayed well into the wee hours having a good night’s craic!
Enjoy yourself whatever you do and let us know if you think there’s anything else worth doing (or not doing!) in sleepy Kampot.
The Two Gallivants