After a multi-day trek through the Cambodian jungle, my friends and I spent four wonderful days resting and relaxing in Kampot. Kampot, the capital of Kampot Province in southern Cambodia, has a reputation as a sleepy, laid-back town. I planned to stay for only two days, imagining that I would quickly grow bored with the lack of activity. Instead, I doubled the length of my stay and spent several days eating terrific food, dining at cute cafes, watching movies at the cinema, chilling by the river, and exploring the 19th century French colonial architecture. Below are my accommodation, dining, and entertainment recommendations for Kampot.
Park overlooking the river
Samon’s Village may be the best place I’ve stayed so far on my travels through Southeast Asia. The ‘Village’ features adorable bungalows and a restaurant dock overlooking the river. We reclined in hammocks and did yoga on the dock, swam and kayaked in the river, and enjoyed a smorgasbord of foods from the restaurant. The kayak which we rented from the Village was old with wooden oars which were too short to render them truly useful, but which nonetheless led to an adventurous river excursion. The restaurant consistently served some of the best food I’ve eaten in Cambodia, although the service was terribly slow – 80 minutes for a salad, stir fry, and fried shrimp seems excessive, even in Asia! Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and highly recommend Samon’s Village.
Photos of Samon’s Village restaurant and bungalows
Stopping by Wonderland for a nightly treat became a tradition for my friends and I while we were in Kampot. Wonderland, operated by French expats, serves Belgian ice cream and homemade popsicles made with fresh fruit and sugar (perfect for vegans!). My friend adored the coconut popsicle with a hint of lime, while I relished the passion fruit popsicle and yogurt with Khmer fruits popsicle. I’m usually not a big popsicle fan, but Wonderland’s homemade popsicles are simply irresistible!
Photo of Wonderland courtesy of TripAdvisor
Epic Arts Café
My friend and I spent a lovely lazy afternoon reading, napping, and snacking at Epic Arts Café. The second floor made me feel at home with its variety of comfortable chairs and bright windows overlooking the street. We shared the carrot cake and a bagel with cream cheese and vegetables. The carrot cake was a tad dry, but the cream cheese frosting was nice. The bagel was not the best bagel I’ve ever eaten (I am a native New Yorker after all). Still, it was warm, fresh, and filled with tasty roasted vegetables, and a welcome New York staple in Asia. I did not have a chance to eat breakfast at Epic Arts Café, but the salads and the eggs florentine with spinach looked tasty. Another reason to visit the café is it employs underprivileged and disabled people. In fact, it gives you a sheet on which to mark your order since most of its cooks and servers are deaf.
Photo of bagel with cream cheese and roasted vegetables by Penny via Captain of the Back Seat
L’Epi D’or Bakery & Café
With fresh bread on sale for $1 and pastries available for only $0.35, L’Epi D’or Bakery & Café is cheap and delicious! I tried the olive bread and a chocolate croissant, and was wowed by the croissant’s flaky crust and chocolate filling which reminded me of French bakeries back home.
Vegans, vegetarians, and raw food lovers, rejoice! Deva Café, the small eatery attached to Banteay Srey Women’s Spa, serves fresh juices, smoothies, lassis (Indian yogurt-based drinks), and Mediterranean tapas with local and nutritious ingredients, such as moringa, kale, jicama, morning glory, mango, and papaya. We tried the Hummus Wrap with Morning Glory Flatbread, the Zucchini Noodles with Raw Pesto, the Smoked Eggplant Crostini, and the Chilled Creamy Avocado Soup among other dishes. Each dish was bursting with flavor. The Sweet Basil Lassi likewise was outstanding. Because the portions are small your meal may land up being on the more expensive side (for Cambodia that is), but you can rest easy knowing that the proceeds from your food purchases go towards the Banteay Srey Project, a social enterprise which provides young Cambodian women with vocational training and a safe space.
Photos of juices and tapas via TripAdvisor (1)
Ecran Noodle and Dumpling House (Hand-Pulled Noodles and Vegetable Dumplings)
My friend and I relished the hand-pulled noodles and homemade vegetable dumplings at Ecran Noodle and Dumpling House. In true Chinese-Cambodian fashion, a vinegar and soy sauce accompanied the dumplings while the noodles had a slightly sweet taste. Hand-pulled noodles and homemade vegetable dumplings for only $2 each? Sounds like a perfect meal!
Photos of hand-pulled noodles and vegetable dumplings via Kampot, Cambodia
Ecran Movie House
For the traveler missing watching movies at home, Ecran also operates a cinema with comfortable wicker chairs, couches, and beds with pillows. For $2.50 you can watch one of the three movies the theater shows daily or for $3 you can buy a day pass to watch all three movies. If you’re interested in learning more about Cambodian history, Ecran screens The Killing Fields at least once a week. When I was in Kampot, the theater was celebrating the Oscars fever by playing all of the Oscar-nominated films. Ecran also has private movie room rentals for $3.50 per person where you can choose a film from a selection more than 1,000 movies and watch it on a large plasma TV with a small group of friends.
Photos of Ecran Cinema & Movie House and Ecran Noodle Shop via Kampot, Cambodia
I hope you have a restful and relaxing stay in Kampot, my favorite place to visit in Cambodia!
Fishing boats returning at the end of the day
Sunset over the river
(1) Photo credit (clockwise): photo of watermelon and carrot juices via TripAdvisor, photo of smoked eggplant crostinis via TripAdvisor, photo of chilled creamy avocado soup via TripAdvisor, photo of raw pesto pasta via TripAdvisor, and photo of baba ghanoush and tzatziki dips via TripAdvisor