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.
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
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
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. Jungle Jet on 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.
Jungle Jet Boat 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
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
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.