Our best picks
Cambodia’s worst-kept secret, Kampot is a quietly captivating town with a habit of creeping up on travellers until you realise you’ve stayed longer than intended. For those kidnapped by the sleepy charm, here’s our suggested list of places to wake up with a smile on your face.
Rikitikitavi has been the darling of the town’s riverside for several years, offering just seven beautifully decorated ground floor rooms to suit flashpackers, couples and families. Proximity to the Old Market area and the riverside promenade means you can pop out for a stroll or dinner without getting lost, or settle in the upstairs restaurant for sunset cocktails.
A firm expat favourite, The Greenhouse is an out of town tranquil spot designed for relaxation and contemplation right on the river. The bar closes at 23:00, but as all bungalows have their own decks, it’s no hardship to change to a hammock and listen to the wind in the trees. Also across the bridge but closer to town, Naga House‘s clean budget accommodation and welcoming deck suit the budget-minded who have a will to chill.
Away from it all
A few kilometres out of town, Ganesha is a knit-your-own-yoghurt kind of place, for those who like to commune with nature, stay in unique yurts and tribal huts, do sun salutations on the lawn and eat Kampot pepper-flavoured ice-cream. More ‘oooh’ than ohm, Villa Vedici‘s swimming pool, mini beach, speedboat and DVD collection make for a flashier, fun stay with beautiful river views.
Perfect for couples and boutiqueniks, La Java Bleue has individually themed rooms in a beautiful colonial style building, with one of Kampot’s best eateries right underneath. Around the corner, The Columns is a refurbishment success story in a converted row of shop houses, accessorising well-stocked rooms with baby-blue shutters and hand-painted tiles.
Just need somewhere to rest your head after a busy day on the river or down the caves? Kampot stalwart Blissful Guesthouse has $3 dorm beds and ensuites at $6, or buzz next door to the bumblebee paintjob of the Magic Sponge with airy $3 dorm beds and large ensuite rooms from $10. Opposite, the equally bright Ny Ny Guesthouse provides the best of Khmer hospitality, including WiFi and TV, from $6 for a single traveller.
Other than the family room at Rikitikitavi, anklebiters will also get a warm welcome out of town at Les Manguiers and Villa Vedici, with the added bonus of activities such as games, kayaks and boat trips to tire the little darlings out. Book rooms away from the main house and pool at Villa Vedici if early bedtimes are important.
Wherever you choose to stay, it’s worth checking if you’ll be in Kampot during a Cambodian public holiday. As a popular destination for Phnom Penh expats, you might need to book ahead to be sure of bagging a bed.
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 17th February, 2014.