Peppercorns and a scooter ride in beautiful Kampot

Kampot has been a wonderful stop on a journey through Cambodia which was far too quick. Our brief tour around the peppercorn plantation and the mountains in the area were just what we were looking for on this trip.

We arrived in Kampot after an easy minibus journey from Phnom Penh with Giant Ibis. Out of all the bus companies we’ve tried they’re definitely our favourite, giving us water and pastries for the journey and driving us safely to where we needed to go without surprises. Once again we hadn’t booked anywhere to stay before we arrived but made our way to a potential stop from the drop off location. The first place we found seemed friendly, cheap and reasonable so we checked in and enjoyed our complimentary drink at the bar.

While we were at the bar we started chatting to a guy who had been in the area for a few days but hadn’t seen the peppercorn plantation yet. As is the case with most backpacking hostels if someone is thinking of doing something you’re interested in, chances are you’ll spend the afternoon with them and splitting the fare. That’s exactly what we did and after a quick lunch we got in a rickshaw and were on the way to learn how peppercorns grow at La Plantation. Mark’s pretty obsessed with putting loads of pepper on everything, so it’s surprising he’s never wondered how the stuff grows. When we got to the plantation it was really interesting learning about the plants and tasting the differences between the green, black and red peppercorns.

On the way we stopped briefly at the ‘Secret Lake’, although I have no idea why it’s called that when it clearly marked on maps and even has a restaurant for tourists. It was a nice spot to take photos though.

When we returned to the hostel we were told that our beds had been booked online by someone else so we were going to have to move to a bigger dorm. Rather than stay another night in a loud room right above the bar, we decided to try our luck elsewhere.

We spent the next morning finding the post office and sending home the items we’d picked up in both Sri Lanka and Cambodia. After that we walked to a place not far from the first hostel and asked about early check-in. When we were told we’d have to wait a few hours to be let in I spotted a poster on the wall listing the night buses you could book from the hotel so instead we decided to skip the stay and move on that evening. That’s the last time I’ll be booking a bus based on a poster by the way, but I’ll tell you more about that in another post.

The hotel let us leave our bags, book a bus and hire a scooter for $5 for the day. We had 10 hours to kill before the bus so we wanted to head out and see some of Kampot’s beautiful scenery. Over the next few hours Mark drove us around and we saw some stunning scenery as we went. I’m so glad we made the trip down to Kampot and being on the bike and being able to stop wherever for photos was great. We stopped near a waterfall for lunch and saw some old buildings near the old casino which felt like they were something out of a post-apocalyptic story.

That evening before dinner Mark finally got a haircut and we killed some time with dinner before our journey east into Vietnam. It was a lovely end to a perfect day which has firmly planted Cambodia as a destination I want to revisit over a longer period of time in the future.

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