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Kampot and Kep are two charming little villages, if not already on your list of to-do’s in Cambodia, certainly should be.

Kampot is about a 3 hour drive from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Phen. This sleepy little village is perfect for a relaxing weekend and in fact, serves as a countryside retreat for those living in Phnom Phen.

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The best way to get to Kampot is to hire a driver for the 3 hour trip through the countryside to the village of Kampot. In our trip, all manner of Cambodian life were observed on the drive – from emaciated cattle crossing the road to landmine restricted areas to people carrying slaughtered livestock home on the back of motorbikes, no kidding….dangling heads and hoofs and all. The drive in itself is a visual adventure.

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Upon arriving in Kampot, we checked in at the Rikitikitavi Boutique Hotel where we were quickly won over by the friendly Dutch owner who took very good care of us. Rikitikitavi is housed in a converted rice barn, but features chic, updated and amenities for the modern traveller. This is by far the nicest hotel in Kampot, with the most sophisticated restaurant in town – all in a quiet spot by the calming Tek Chou river. Paul wants me to be sure to tell you he recommends the juicy burger topped with pineapple at Rikitikitavi Hotel. While dinner was indeed satisfying, I thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast menu with fresh homemade goodies and jams – breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.

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In our time in Kampot we totally relaxed – read books, rode bikes, ate leisurely meals and walked along the river during sunset. Things to do in Kampot are few – it really is a place to chill. But if you are feeling adventurous, head to Bokor Hill, an abandoned 1920’s French resort town complete with casino, post office and more. What we enjoyed most was renting bikes and exploring Cambodian life amongst rice fields, by the river and in-and-around town.

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On our last day we took a side trip to the seaside village of Kep. Our innkeeper in Kampot told us they were famous for their pepper crab – this area of Cambodia is widely known for their pepper farms. Inspired by a new culinary mission we set off!  We chose Veranda Resort (look for this sign at the front door) in Kep for our pepper crab, but were also told by locals that most any restaurant along the ocean does a mean pepper crab. What lured us to Veranda Resort though was the spectacular view from the cliff looking out onto the ocean. They also have their own bakery on site and offer up homemade gelato – yum. 2 crabs and a whole fish later….we got back in the car for our final leg back to Phnom Phen.

While Phnom Phen is certainly a Cambodian must see, we think it would be well worth your time to take a side trip to Kampot and Kep – a stop in these villages will add a bit of texture and real-life Cambodia in your SE Asian adventure.

In Kampot….

Rikitikitavi Boutique Hotel
$25 – 40USD a night
Telephone: +855 12 235 102
http://www.rikitikitavi-kampot.com/

In Kep…

Veranda Resort
+855(0)33 399 035
Mountain Hillside Road
http://www.veranda-resort.com/

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