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Kampot Location Profile

Kampot Location Profile

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Kampot is a city in southern Cambodia. Unlike most Cambodian provincial capitals, the centre of Kampot composed of 19th century French colonial architecture. Kampot also regarded as the most important seaport of Cambodia. The province has a coastline of around 94 km and its capital is Kampot Town, it is located in the far south of Cambodia in front of the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc.  The region is famous for producing high quality pepper, which is exported worldwide. It is also known for its Kampot fish sauce and durian, which are believed to the best in the world.

Kampot is a quiet town that definitely poses as a good escape from larger cities in Cambodia. Its riverside scene captivates visitors with a pleasant environment to wander around and admire the old colonial French architecture and markets.  Sunset boat cruises are a popular activity to gaze across the river. Kampot is quiet and chic, the French and Chinese architecture add a touch of lightness to the bustle. If you would like have some quiet time, Kampot is definitely your best choice.

Kampot has long been one of the most fascinating places to visit in the Kingdom. This sleepy river town is known for its relaxed vibe. Some people speculate that it will soon attract more and more international property developers, similar to Sihanoukville.

Key Information

At one time, Kampot was one of Cambodia most important ports. The legacy of French colonial administration is stronger there than in most other provincial towns. The riverside is lined with turn of the century buildings languishing in stately decay. At one time, their strong, simple geometrical forms, high ceilings, hardwood floors, and mustard yellow walls symbolized both the simple orderliness and foreign grandeur of French administration. One of the most distinguished examples is the old market that sits chained, padlocked, and abandoned but for the few noodle stalls that set up on its edges in the evenings.

The most prominent symbol of Kampots history, however, is more than a thousand meters above the town on the top of Bokor Mountain. The site for this renowned community was first assessed in 1916. In the years that followed, the French constructed a luxurious hill station there in order to have place to escape the brutal heat and oppressive humidity of the tropics and partake of the cool, fresh, and supposedly healthful air of higher altitudes. For many homesick colonials, the hilltop's climate was a reminder of European summers.

Kampot, southern Cambodia. Kampot is located near the mouth of the Koh Sla River. Kampot was home to an early seaport in the mid 1800s, and under Cambodian rule it opened its doors to welcome European sailors and merchants from over the oceans to trade in pepper and other goods. Although in the 19th century it was the country’s chief port, but this function was taken over in the 1950s by Sihanoukville. It is connected to Phnom Penh, the national capital, and to Sihanoukville by a national highway route and a rail line.

The major agricultural products of the surrounding area include rice, pepper, bananas, coconuts, and durians. Mountainous areas in the region have a dense forest cover, including such first-quality woods as rosewood and teak, and berry, bean, and rubber trees. The area also supplies most of Cambodia’s salt needs from state-owned salt marshes along the Gulf of Thailand coast.

Kampot Province is rich in plainland that are optimal for agriculture activities on the eastern segment of the province as well as a corresponding abundance of mountains and forests with a vast variety of wild animals in the western segment of the province. The southwest of the province is covered by 94 kilometres coastline, which is rich in natural resources, fisheries, agricultural farms and salt farms. Kampot is rich in rice, pepper, fruit, sugar palm and tobacco. Industry has wood processing, textile, brewing, salt and other departments.There are phosphorus and limestone mines in the mining industry,as well as major cement plants of the country in Kampot. Kep and Bokor by the Gulf of Thailand are famous places to relax and visit.

Kampot is a perfect business location for access to both domestic and export markets. Given its natural beauty, it has been attracting more local and international tourists in recent year and the provincial government is very optimistic about tourism industry growth into the near future.

The provincial authority has consistently strengthened the investment environment in an effort to diversify the province's economic base as well as achieve a good reputation in terms of investment support. As a result, IFC and Asia fund have named Kampot as the best investment environment in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The provincial government is committed to improving all relevant sectors in order to attract more investors, and further support existing entrepreneurs and business.

Nowadays, with the general contracting project of Kampot design and construction undertaken by China Railway Construction, Port and Navigation Bureau Group Co., LTD., Kampot will regain its glory and become an important import and export port of Cambodia. The operation of Kampot port will bring more employment opportunities and greater welfare to the local people, and bring greater economic benefits to Cambodia as a whole. At that time, kampot's water depth was higher than the country's other three existing international ports. Kampot will once again be the largest port in Cambodia, with a water depth of 13.5 meters and shipping capacity of up to 50,000 tons.

According population census data in 1998, the total population of Kampot was 36,036 persons. By 2008, the totoal population of Kampot increased to 38,819 persons.

The current population in this province is about 642,818 persons or 4.31% of the country's total population in Cambodia (provincial government data), with 388,871 persons population age over 18years (Men:186,112, Women:202,759). The population density is therefore 132 persons per square kilometre. Which showed significantly increased during this period of time. And the final results of the 2019 general population census will be publicized in the second quarter of 2020.

Things To Do in Kampot

Kampot's main market is located at the north end of town which is a traditional style market catering primarily to the locals and carrying the usual products: vegetables, fruits, meats, bulk rice, motor parts, moneychangers, etc. Phsar Kronat (‘Old Market’) on the boulevard off the riverfront reopened a couple of years ago and now includes souvenir and clothing shops, several little cafés, al fresco restaurants at both ends, a convenience store, several touroperators and real estate agents.

Two or three convenience stores are located on Durian Monument traffic circle, offering a pretty good selection of imported goods, canned foods, snacks, beer, spirits, wines, water and sundries. One of the stores also has a pharmacy. Some guesthouses and hotels offer small selections of souvenirs, usually focused on local products such as Kampot pepper, Cambodian coffee, locally made bags, handicrafts, clothes and cards.

There are lots of  must-go shopping places in Kampot such as Bokor Night Market, Dorsu, Kepler’s Kampot books, Kampot Head, Kampot souvenirs and handcraft, Epic Artis café and so on. For example, Kampot Head is a great place for bric-a-brac and other bits and pieces. Just an unusual collection of clothes, crockery, paraphernalia, apparels, provisions, spices and curiosities.  Night Market is a little more on the generic side of shopping, with items geared towards tourists. A lot of the items can be quite cheap, but aren’t really built to last. Dorsu combines responsible sourcing with ethical production, with pieces designed and produced on location. It is the antithesis of fast fashion. Epic Arts Café. A part of the social enterprise connected to this cafe is a place to purchase items such as scarves, cushions and other pieces. Definitely worth a look after your coffee and/or meal. So many options for both local and tourists.

In Kampot, apart from the easiest recognised landmarks of the Durian Roundabout, there is much to see. For example, the Bokor Hill is a French colonial relic on the Elephant Mountains, which is Kampot's most popular tourist attraction in Kampot. There are a series of French colonial buildings on top of the hill, the Catholic Church, the Bokor hotel and casino, the post office and royal residences. Bokor Hill is 42 kilometres away from the provincial capital. Bokor Hill is 1,075 meters high, with a pleasant climate and magnificent scenery. Trees that cast shadows over the water and rocks shaped like animals are of particular interest to visitors. The mountain overlooks the town of Kampot, Kep Beach, Berasi Hanouk province and the blue waters. 

Take Kampot River Park, which sits along the picturesque Kampot River and is one of Cambodia's best places for boating, kayaking and zip-lining. It’s also a good place for a picnic. The park is mainly visited by local tourists, but is also becoming more and more popular with foreigners. 

Caving adventure is another exciting and fun thing to try. Kampot is considered Cambodia's best place to explore caves. You can also visit the Secret Lake, known locally as Tomnop Tek Krolar. Between the rice paddies and the mountains, this is actually an irrigation dam built during the Khmer Rouge era. However, it has been transformed into a recreational area where people can picnic and ride water safari.

You can also visit Kep Themy, kampot's largest wildlife park. Many visitors marvel at the wildlife in their natural habitat, which contains a variety of wildlife, including wild boars, deer, birds and monkeys. And anlu Bird Sanctuary: The Anlu Bird Sanctuary has more than 90 species of birds, including red-crowned cranes, which flock to the area from December to April.

Everything in Kampot makes you feel that living here is a kind of enjoyment and relaxation.

Kampot is one of Cambodia’s culinary hot spot with a surprising range of options for such a small town. Most popular ones are list as below:

Local breakfast is one of the best places in Cambodia to have breakfast. Local grilled pork, on rice, with a fried egg and some pickled veg. It’s delicious and it’s $1.50. Think a Khmer version of bacon and eggs. 

Eat at the Crab Market, which could be a not-to-be-missed Kep experience. Kep is well known amongst locals for its fresh crab, and towards sunset, the market becomes a hub of activity, with stalls bustling, barbecues smoking and local fishermen pulling crab pots from the ocean. It's lined with ramshackle and totally charming restaurants: each one offers Kep’s trademark seafood dish - fried crab with Kampot pepper.

Rikitikitavi is great fun place with a balcony that overlooks the river. Food is pretty good, happy hour on cocktails and people are inevitably drawn here for a drink at some stage during their visit to Kampot.

Fish Market is known for its great setting and atmosphere. Nice if you want some time away with your partner, just to soak up the sunset. The food is good, but it won’t blow you away. 

Café Espresso. The Best coffee in Kampot, hands down. Also roast their own beans on site. Probably the best Western food in town also. Breakfast and lunch only. Of course, Kampot still have more places deserved to try.

Kampot’s nightlife differs from the other major Cambodian cities due to its smaller size and the laid-back nature of the town. Thus, people intents to think that the normal night activities generally care more about chilling out along the riverside or chatting with people in the numerous bars, rather than getting their party on.

However, Kampot is one of the popular backpacker destinations of Cambodia. At night, this place transforms itself into one of Cambodia’s hottest Kampot nightlife hotspots as the sun sets on the Praek Taek Chhu river, with whiskey and cocktail bars, nightclubs and discos opening their doors to locals and tourists alike. While you explore the natural sights around the town during the day, you can really afford to get wasted here at night as Kampot is one of the safer places in Cambodia, and there are so many popular and irresistible places you can spend your night such as:

  • Ecran Movie House
  • Mad Monkey Hostel Rooftop Jungle Bar
  • Tantrei
  • O’Neill’s Irish Bar
  • Greenhouse
  • Banyan Tree
  • Naga House

There is no air service to or from Kampot. Kampot can be approached by road directly from Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Kep and from Vietnam via the Prek Chak and the Phnom Den border crossings. Most inter-city travel is done by bus, van or taxi.

Since Kampot has no airport of its own, people especially international visitor will have to first fly into either Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville and then get to Kampot by land. You can also hop on the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and get off at Kampot’s station. Tickets are $4 for the 2.5 hours trip. There are several bus companies run daily trips from Phnom Penh to Kampot and vice versa. From Phnom Penh, you can hire taxis (usually Toyota Camrys) for between $35 and $50. Prices go up during public holidays, however, and if you need more luggage space an SUV for the same trip will cost around $60. The drive usually takes around three hours.

And for those people who what to travel from Kampot to Kep for the delicious crab dish. Motodups, Tuk-tuks and boat will be the most commonly used. Motodups from Kampot start at about $5 one way and $8-$10 round trip. Tuk-tuks run about $8-$12 one-way and $12-$18 for a round trip depending how long you spend in Kep and number of passengers. The Crab Shuttle offers a daily 2.5 hours boat shuttle between Kampot and Kep via Rabbit Island, running both directions. Kampot-Kep tickets are $9.50 one way and $13.50 return.

Kampot is among the most popular cities for expats living in Cambodia after Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Battambang. The expat community has steadily grown over the past decade in-line with the accompanying increase in tourist numbers and modernization of local infrastructure.

Quiet Kampot is slowly gaining traction with foreign expats, because of their beautiful scenery, available land, and gradually improving infrastructure. The city attracts a wide variety of people from all backgrounds, mainly retirees, tourists and all manner of entrepreneurs, especially those who have opened businesses related to the tourism and hospitality industry. Many of the hotels and guesthouses are situated on the Kampot River, expats are also quickly discovering its charms. Its small-town feel and cheap housing make the town ripe for an influx of foreigners.

Explore the Area

Kampot province is 4.873 square kilometres big. It's located in the Southwest of the country and is bordering to the North with Kampong Speu, in the East with Takeo, in the West with Sihanoukville and Koh Kong and to the South with the Gulf of Thailand.

Kampot province is located in southern Cambodia, 148 kilometres away from Phnom Penh, facing the Gulf of Thailand, only 110 kilometres away from Sihanoukville. The East of the province consists of the typical plain area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations.

The Western part of the province shows up with the well-known Bokor National Park, being a part of the grant Elephant Mountains, which is rich in lush forests and a huge range of wildlife. The two highest points in the province are the Bokor Hill Station with 1,027 m altitude and further north another hilltop with 1,050 m altitude. Some people consider the countryside similar to the sharp Vietnamese limestone rocks shooting up of flat plainlands which is an impressive aspect.


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