Kampot and Kep are perfect bedfellows: when paired together, they make the perfect weekend trip from Phnom Penh. Each has its own offerings: Kep boasts a lovely beach and seafood restaurants, while Kampot lays claim to iconic river views and Cambodia’s best cafe scene.
Here’s my version of a perfect day spent on Cambodia’s southern coast…
9am – Breakfast at Kep Coffee
Start your day at Kep Coffee, an unassuming cafe hidden in the brush close to Koh Tonsay jetty on the eastern side of Kep town. The omelettes, sandwiches and homemade cakes are all delicious; but you should save your caffeine fix for Kampot.
10am – Kep beach
Many visitors take the ferry to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), but if you’re planning to stay on the mainland, round the peninsular to Kep beach, passing the town’s famous crab statue on the way. Here you’ll find hammocks and beach chairs for hire, coconut vendors and a stretch of beautiful white sand.
11am – Kep Crab Market
Kep’s crab market is the city’s main draw. The best way to experience it is by first walking through the line of restaurants that crowd the road. When you hit the low-strung tarpaulins, you’ve entered the market. Head right to the back and the market backs onto the sea and a working jetty, where you can see the crab traps being hauled and set.
12pm – Lunch at the Sailing Club
Kep Sailing Club is a beautiful spot for lunch. It’s pricey (and definitely more expensive than eating at one of the crab shacks), but its worth it for the beautiful decor and ocean views.
1pm – Kep to Kampot
There are multiple ways to travel between Kep and Kampot. The easiest route is a 20 minute tuk-tuk ride, which will cost you between 7 and 10 USD. If you want to take the scenic route, board the Crab Trawler, a boat that also connects to Rabbit Island. The journey takes around three hours.
1.30pm – Shop at Dorsu
Dorsu, one of my favourite ethical fashion stores in Cambodia, has a new shop and studio conveniently located at the junction just as you enter Kampot town from Kep.
2pm – Afternoon tea at Cafe Espresso
A coffee at Cafe Espresso is an absolute must when in Kampot. The new cafe is right next door to Dorsu.
3pm – Bike ride to the salt flats
The Kampot salt flats are located on the outskirts of town and make a great bike ride. If it’s the right time of year, the rice fields also make a lovely trip and you can easily combine the two.
5pm – Old Market Street + sunset
Wander (or cycle) around the centre of Kampot, admire the architecture, and pop into some of the antique shops and boutiques.
6pm – Dinner at Ciao
Finish your day with dinner at Kampot’s best restaurant. Ciao is a very unassuming street-side shack that serves the best homemade pasta and meatballs I’ve ever eaten. Arrive early if you want a seat, especially on weekends, and be prepared to wait a while for your meal.
Looking for more things to do in Kampot? Read my Wanderer’s Guide to Kampot.