After the Cambodia’s seaside party capital we made our way along the coast to Kampot which is famous for its laid back vibe. We had booked into some hobbit huts at an eco retreat a little outside the town and were looking forward to a few days of touring and chilling.
The place we were staying was called Bohemiaz and we fell in love with it instantly. Run by a UK lady and her dad, Michelle and Brian, who have built a cool and relaxing retreat and put together a great team. The hobbit hut was only $7 a night so value wise it was also perfect.
On our first day there we arranged to go on a tour to take in some of the local sights. This included tours of the countryside, a secret lake, a pepper plantation, a temple cave, Kep and Rabbit Island. Michelle loves Rabbit Island so joined us for the day too.
The highlight of the trip were definitely the Pepper Plantation.
Kampot is famous for its pepper. The French industrialised the pepper industry here during colonial rule and high society meals in France weren’t complete without a sprinkle of Kampot pepper. However, the pepper industry was destroyed under the rule of the Khmer Rouge and it is only recently that the French have started it back up. The plantation we visited was La Plantation (very imaginative Frenchies) and got an insight into what makes Kampot pepper the best in the world. Ultimately it seems as though doing things by hand, using natural fertilisers, the Kampot climate, only selecting the best corns and natural drying processes create the infamous end product.
But the proof is in the tasting. Our verdict…delicious. You would not normally catch us purposefully eating whole pepper corns but these ones bursted with sweetness and spice simultaneously (it actually takes a little while for the taste to come through, apparently that’s how you know it’s an authentic Kampot pepper). They also gave us some salted nuts with the pepper corns mixed in – fantastic.
After a few days chilling at Bohemiaz we changed hotels to be closer to the town. This time we stayed at the Kampot Cabana, which is French owned, where we could cycle into town within 5 minutes.
There isn’t much to see in the town itself. However, due to the number of expats (and ones with ambition rather than the bums in Sihanoukville) there is a food revolution going on. Over the days we stayed there we ate our favourite food of the entire trip so far. Huge shout out goes to Espresso Cafe Roasterie whose breakfasts are out of this world.
We ended up staying a little longer than planned in Kampot as our Vietnam visa didn’t come through. We therefore headed back to Bohemiaz for another night and got a free upgrade! With a warm water shower (after weeks of cold showers this is a pure pleasure).
This brought our stay in Cambodia to an end. We had such an amazing time volunteering and traveling here mainly thanks to the friendly and genuine Cambodians. The harsh history here hasn’t ruined their spirit and that is definitely something to admire.
Pop back soon for our next blog on our hair-raising journey across the border to Vietnam.
- Bohemiaz: we loved it here. The Hobbit huts are cheap and the more expensive options are luxury. It’s a great place to chill, it has a pool and they serve awesome food. The only downside is it is a bit far from town ($4 tuktuk).
- Cafe Espresso Roastery: The best breakfast pancakes ever. You have to go.
- Captain Chim’s: Good food at a great price. Also free water refills.