After some really interesting days in Phnom Penh, I headed down to the south coast of Cambodia to a small town called Kampot. The south coast is where Cambodians go for vacation, and I’d heard good things.
Where the minibus dropped me off, I realized that I was just around the corner from my hostel. When the tuk-tuk drivers all clamored to give me a ride, I decided to mess with them. “How much for a ride to the Birds Nest hostel?” Whatever price they gave me, I knew that I was going to walk, but I wanted to see how honest they’d be about how close we were. It was fun times for me.
Apparently, “bird’s nest soup” is a delicacy in China, and locals in Kampot allow birds to nest in some of the buildings, collect the nests, and sell them for a bunch of money. Hard to see, but here’s a ton of birds coming out at dusk.
The most interesting part of my first night in Kampot was running into J, the Belgian girl I’d run into in several cities in Cambodia. Saw her while just walking down the street. We made plans to link up the next morning to go to Bokor National Park on scooters.
I had booked a hammock on the roof for my sleeping arrangements at the hostel, and there was only 1 girl up there with me the first night, so we had fun times shuffling our hammocks back under the overhang when the rain started. We talked and hung out a bunch, and she decided to join J and I the next morning.
Bokor Hill was a ritzy summer getaway for the French colonists in the time before Air Conditioning, where they could go to beat the summer heat. The nature is super beautiful, and the drive out there on our scooters was really fun and pretty. I rode as the passenger, so I got to take pictures and look around, while the girls actually had to pay attention and drive.
First up: the abandoned church, surrounded by spooky fog.
As soon as we turned around to get back on the scooters, the fog cleared up, and we got some nice views of what was ahead of us.
Next up: Bokor Hill Station, the posh hotel.
We drove to the end of the road to some more abandoned buildings.
At this point, we had to turn around and head back.
We had turned left at the main road. This time, we went right, heading toward the waterfall. Along the way, we encountered this abandoned construction project.
Then, we arrived at the waterfall, which was a great spot. We found a path through the trees to get out to some rocks in front of the falls, which made for a better view.
After this, we drove back into town, linked up with some new arrivals at the hostel, and went out for a group dinner. We also hung out at a sidewalk coffee shop across from the hostel for a few hours, which was nice (plus cheap! $1 iced coffee)
This night, there were 4 people on the roof, and each person individually made a joke about having a campfire in the middle of the ring, without knowing others had already done so.
Morning of day 3, we got up early for a group breakfast at a nearby social project called the Epic Arts Cafe. The cafe is part of a business that teaches job skills and arts to people with disabilities, with a large portion of them being deaf people. The food was great, I must say!
I took a lazy day that day and walked around Kampot a bit, checked out the local stuff, explored the ex-pat community (lots of Canadians & Australians), and just enjoyed a slow pace for the day.
I also took this picture at the market, which is not staged. This is just a random shelf. ALL body products (lotion, sun block, body wash, etc.) contain skin-bleaching agents in eastern Asia, because “white is beautiful.” Yes, it seems messed up, but think about how much money western/white people spend on spray tan, tanning booths, and tanning products, so we can look darker. Weird dichotomy.
Kampot is awesome. I really enjoyed the little town, had some good times, and it may be my favorite spot in Cambodia.
At this point, I was looking to go to Laos, and I’d learned that the journey to get to the northern part of Laos was much more complicated than it seemed. It became simpler, quicker, and faster to go east, to Bangkok, Thailand, and then up to Laos from there. To do this, I needed to head back up to Phnom Penh.
Next post: from Kampot to Phnom Penh to Bangkok to Vientiane.
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