Kampot is our next destination in Cambodia. Famous for its worldwide known and appreciated pepper. The minivan ride from Sihanoukville to Kampot costs $5 and takes two hours to the peaceful town. After reading many blogs on where to stay in Kampot, we decided on The Magic Sponge for $12 a night. The hostel is located on a little street filled with other hostels (you can find a PDF map of Kampot here). The hostel is owned and managed by a very nice American. Facilities include a mini golf, pool table, DVD/TV room, $0.50 beer from 12-4pm (hottest time of the day) and motorbike rental. We spent two nights at the Magic Sponge and really enjoyed the mini golf!
Kampot is another quaint little town where tourists can wander around, sit back and relax at the cafés near the river. The sunset view from the river was quite breathtaking when we were there.
Our activities planned in Kampot was to go to Kep, stop by one of the salt mines and one of the pepper farm. We did not go to the Bokor National Park due to time constraint, plus the reviews did not seem that enticing. We rented a motorbike for $5 for 24hrs, put in some gasoline and we were ready for some Kep crab! What we were not ready for was the dusty, uneven and filled-with-potholes road to Kep. We were riding next to huge trucks and what seemed like professional motorbike riders. After about an hour and a half of dirt riding, with no salt mines in sight, we finally saw the white horse statue and the fork on the road to reach Kep. Phew! We were a bit afraid that we had gotten lost.
Wooden boxes filled with small crabs are floating in the ocean, we made it to the market! A row of pots filled with hot water and what appeared to be customers were waiting in front of them. We put two and two together and figured that we had to order the crabs from the sea ladies and they would cook it for us in the pots. We were sold, let the negotiations begin! $1 per crab is the norm, we were able to get 4 small crabs for $2 and 3,500 riel ($0.75) for fried bananas. We waited less than ten minutes and voilà! Lunch was served. There is also an array of restaurants offering grilled seafood along the beach next to the market.
After this wonderful treat and experience, we got back on our motorbike and started riding along the coast.
En route to the pepper farm, and we arrived at a farm owned by a German and his Cambodian wife. The farm seemed deserted and we were the only ones there. We wandered around the tall pepper plants and encountered a young 17 years old man who works on the farm with his parents. He spoke really good English and shared interesting facts about pepper, we even were able to taste a raw one from the branch ( surprisingly delicious and full of flavor).
Back on the dirt road and back to Kampot. Our clothes were covered by a layer of dirt. Wearing clothes that you do not mind getting dirty might be a good idea if you intend to do the same thing we did.
The next morning, we booked our ticket back to Phnom Penh before heading to Kampung Cham (towards the east side of the country). We paid $8 per person for a luxury liner mini van which had WiFi and a movie playing – a bit more than what we usually pay for a bus ride though we enjoyed the amenities – cheaper options are definitely available. Off we were to the next destination on our journey.