Set in Kampot’s old Royal Theater, complete with original floor tiles and imposing concrete facade, Kampothead is a window onto Cambodia’s past. The petite knickknack shop peddles an oddball edit of vintage and antique wares sourced from the Kingdom and from all over Asia. In a backpacker and expat-heavy town where a strong ‘hippy’ aesthetic has taken root – set in a country where there’s seemingly little regard for anything that’s not new and shiny – Khmer-owned Kampothead couldn’t be more perfect.
Twirling around the shop floor in a 1960s sundress, owner Sutee curates Kampothead’s crowded shelves, but it was her husband – an artist and designer – who first sourced the knickknacks. Overwhelmed by the collection he had accrued through years of travel, the couple opened Kampothead to try and lighten their load.
The store’s centrepiece, an ancient electrical switchboard from Hong Kong, frames the front counter, where relics of Cambodia’s dancehall days intermingle with other Asian curiosities. Some items are decaying and in need of repair – just like Kampot itself – while other collectables are in remarkably good shape. Among them are dainty Japanese ceramics, winged creatures set in resin, Indian woodblocks, balm tins etched with curvy Khmer script, family photographs from old Saigon, French linen shirts, cigar boxes, old hand-painted shop signage… The list goes on. Items are well priced and Sutee will always cut you a good deal.
Kampothead doesn’t have a website, but you can find it on Tuek Chhu Road between Old Market Street and the durian roundabout.