We spent our first afternoon in Kampot chilling out at the hostel and avoiding the rain. We stayed at Mad Monkey (a chain of hotels in Cambodia), the dorms are spacious and modern but the food and drink is overpriced. So instead, we wandered down the street for some cheaper Cambodian cuisine.
Once again we spent the night getting to know people over pints of beer and a game of pool.
The next day we got up bright and early to go on our own private tour of the area. We went to the salt fields but because it’s the rainy season they’re not currently in action. They normally work by sea water entering the fields in streams, the water evaporating and the remaining salt being collected. This is one of 3 salt fields in Cambodia and they supply all of Cambodia and some neighbouring countries.
We then went to the Kampot pepper plantation, Kampot is famous for its production of pepper. We saw the fields in which the pepper grows and our tour guide explained how the plant is turned into black pepper, white pepper or whole grain pepper.
We also saw the secret lake, that isn’t very secret- it’s huge. However, it got its name because it was owned by the Khmer Rouge when they were in power and all of the locals of the area had been sent away so the lake was deserted.
We visited the white elephant and bat cave, a local boy guided us through the cave with a cigarette lighter. They weren’t as big or impressive as the caves in Phong Nah but they were still pretty special.
We enjoyed lunch at Kep beach, about 50 minutes outside of Kampot. We saw the locals capturing squid and other fish, cleaning them, selling and cooking them at the seaside market. Crab and squid were so affordable; the seafood lovers dream!
The next part of the tour was disrupted by the rain. Unfortunately, because of the weather we couldn’t get across to Rabbit Island because there was no guarantee the boat would be able to get us back to land. A little disheartened, we headed back to the hostel where I argued with the reception about how much money we should be refunded. $2 richer than the reception wanted us to be, we bought a couple of beers and chilled for the rest of the afternoon.
We had every intention of going out to get cheap food for dinner but the torrential rain and awkward location of the hostel persuaded us to stay in and share a pizza, much to Liv’s delight and my seething over the cost. (Mad Monkey cheese and tomato Pizza: $5.50, Mad Monkey chips: $2.50, hearty bowl of Cambodian street food noodle soup $1 – the struggle was real.) I bitterly ate my overpriced, slightly over-done pizza, whilst sipping beer (that is staring to taste better…) and meeting new people.
We met yet more Americans (from Texas this time) who gave us a load of great information for when we hit up Indonesia. Overall, a really nice day despite the disruption of the rain. Cambodia please be nice to us now!
Our last morning in Kampot we spent wandering the little town and Liv enjoyed a slice of apple pie (home comforts at their best). We also completed our book of stamps in order to get us a free t-shirt. You get a stamp every time you buy a beer or cocktail in a Mad Monkey hostel. 20 beers = a free t-shirt and we managed to drink that between us during our stay. Really handy because we really need to do laundry – running out of clothes fast.
Kampot was a chilled vibe and a beautiful place, the hostel itself has so much potential but it was ruined a bit by pushy/rude staff and over priced food/drink.
Current status: lying on a king size bed, in a nice (still within budget) hotel, in Battambang, feeling very full after an amazing meal.