What to See and Do
The Anlong Pring (not ‘’Anlong Prayng’’, this is a better-known district in Kampong Trach but no Crane birds here) bird sanctuary is located in Kampong Trach district, Kampot province.
This sanctuary is an official IBA (Important Bird Area), along with over 12,000 IBA’s in 200 countries. Birdlife International (www.birdlife.org) is the driving force behind this program. Anlong Pring’s IBA is Cambodia’s 2nd Sarus Crane reserve since 6 January 2011. The 1st reserve was established in Takeo province in 2007.
The Anlong Pring reserve covers 217ha of seasonally inundated grassland. In March 2010, the site held nearly 300 Sarus Cranes, more than 30% of the global population! Still, they can be difficult to spot for visitors.
The Cranes usually arrive around mid-November, to use the wetlands as a feeding ground, and remain until early May when they begin their migration to the wetlands in the northern and eastern plains of Cambodia where they breed. The Sarus Crane (subspecies sharpii) is a large crane found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. The tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 1.8 m, they are conspicuous and iconic species of open wetlands. The Sarus Crane is considered globally Vulnerable.
An entrance booth is being set up to collect a fee (max$5) that will go to the preservation of the reserve and the people living in the surrounding villages.
We recommend your own transportation for this trip. Tuk tuks might take you out to Anlong Pring but be aware that it is a long trip and that this is a new destination, most drivers are still unaware of its existence / location.
If you get lost, ask local people ‘Sat Kreal’, this means ‘Crane Bird’.
From White Horse Kep, drive east on #33. After 29km, #33 takes a sharp left turn. You continue straight onto #31 (gravel road) for 700m. Turn right under an archway, drive through great countryside for 9km until you arrive at a T-crossing. Turn left here, drive past the pagoda and turn right again. Continue 3km and turn left (there is a crane bird sign board here) (if you go straight instead, you complete the loop to the Kampong Trach metal bridge after 15km). After 200m turn left again, continue 1.5km and you arrive at the makeshift Birdlife Centre watch post. The last 500m is not accessible by tuk tuk.
The Bokor hilltop community was built in the early 1900s, as the thousand metre elevation provided a pleasant climate for a French colonial hill station. The 34 km road to the top was built by prisoners, many of which died during construction.
A hotel opened in 1925, named the Bokor Palace Hotel and a casino, church, school, post office, royal residence and houses were al supported by a 200 strong population. On the whole, the wealthy French would hold lavish parties and the Chinese would gamble, some of whom would jump off the casino garden terrace at the edge of the cliff after having lost their loot.
Bokor mountain is now part of the Preah Monivong National Park, and the former buildings are ghostly ruins. In recent years the go ahead has been given to a long term project to re-establish Bokor as a major tourist destination. This already includes the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort & Casino. Further developments should include a theme park of some kind, and even a cable car ride covering a short part of the rise.
The road to the top of Bokor mountain has now opened up to public again and the normal $5 entrance fee to enter the National Park does no longer apply! You can drive your bicycle, bike or car up to the top at your own pace. Throughout the year, it is possible to arrange a trekking tour to the top with the Bokor rangers, and guesthouses and travel agencies can arrange this.
Once at the summit, guests are able to rent rooms in the splendid new Thansur Resort. They won’t come too cheap.
The national park is home to a great deal of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, gibbons and rare birds. You are still able to walk freely around the various former ruins, some of them are under ‘renovation’, which present an eerie experience, especially when the low cloud is swirling around. On a clear day, and best in the early morning, a spectacular view of the Gulf of Thailand awaits; a grand panorama.
Treks into the surrounding jungle can also be arranged with the rangers
There are a number of caves surrounding Kep. The most popular of which is what was a large circular cavern now open to the sky, with its roof having collapsed over a million years ago. Access is through a tunnel at the side of the limestone formation. This cave is next to Kiriseila Pagoda in Kampong Trach, 30km from Kep Beach. 4km on the left before KT is Phnom Salei, and 326 steps take you to the top for a spectacular view of the countryside.
Phnom Sorsir has several caves to explore, the path winding its way up the hill to a stupa atop, with stunning views of the Bokor mountain escarpment. This complex is also known as White Elephant Cave, a reference to the shape of a limestone formation at the base of the main cave. It’s 10km from Kep Beach, turn west of the White Horse Statue, signposted Wat archway after 1.5km
Phnom Ch’nork has Pre-Angkorian ruins set within a limestone cave, its brick structures dating back to the 6th century ancient state of Funan. It’s located 24km from Kep Beach. Turn right 8km west of White Horse Statue.
Good footwear and a flashlight are a must when exploring all of the caves, and be aware of broken stairways, low ceilings and slippery rocks.
Well-maintained motorcycle rental, daily and long-term. We also sell all kinds of meat, cheeses, sausages, groceries and eggs. Very friendly service. Find our shop at the Old Market, opposite Divino restaurant, st.724.
Situated on the corner opposite from Acleda Bank, adjacent to the park between the Old Market and the bus station. Occasional concerts are held which are open to tourists. Check out their notice board outside the building for date and time of concerts. Usually they have musical rehearsals from Monday to Friday which are equally open to the public.
KCDI has a variety of programs for achieving its two goals of preserving traditional Khmer arts and assisting disadvantaged children.
This huge area of hills, vegetable and fruit plantations was one of the last Khmer Rouge strongholds until 1998. Today it is the poorest area of Kampot province and home to 3 companies holding farming concessions on around 35,000 hectares.
Koh Sla Dyke was a forced labour project under the Pol Pot regime. In 2003 the dyke breached and caused extensive floodings. Today it is still known as ‘the broken dyke’ (Tomnop Daich).
The Koh Sla area provides an adventurous exploration trip for motors (125cc/250cc). Road conditions can vary between good and bumpy/muddy. Tuk tuks won’t take you here.
From Kampot Durian, head north on Nat Road #3 for 18km. Turn left under an archway, off the main road. From here directions are rather vague. If you stick to the main trail, you should arrive at a T-crossing after 22km, turn left and after 11km is Wat Koh Sla (nothing special there). Another T-crossing there, turn right and 32km straight to get back to #3.
In case you would get lost, ask a local ‘’Phlaw Thom, Lake Bai?’’ this means ‘’National Road, Number 3?’’
It is possible to do loops of over 100km in this area or to connect up to National Road #4, close to Kirirom National Park! Safe ride …
Kampot Market (Phsar Kampot) is a typical provincial town market where you can find anything from oranges to pig heads, flowers to wedding dresses and gold necklaces to floor carpets. Take your time to explore this market which is bustling in the mornings and throughout the day.
There is an area with very basic food stalls serving up delicious soups, deep-fried treats and a variety of sweets.
The market can get muddy and less appealing during rainy days so best to be visited when it is sunny and dry.
Kampot’s only air-con movie theatre.
Scheduled movies on 4m screen on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm.
Movie schedule available in restaurants and guesthouses in Kampot.
Or check out the complete movie schedule by clicking on the Facebook link below.
Cambodian pepper production is documented as far back as the 13th century. The climate and soil found in Kampot Province provides an ideal combination for pepper plants, and many fruits.
There are numerous pepper plantations around the Kep/Kampot area, and its distinct aromatic flavor has made it a world renowned product, much sought after by gourmet chefs.
More than a million pepper poles were producing thousands of tons for export up until the mid 70s. Local farmers using traditional and modern techniques have been able to revive, in recent years, a sustainable harvest of this world famous pepper. Kampot Pepper received the GI-label (Geographical Indication) in 2010 which pushed its revival on the international market.
The peppercorns go through several maturing stages whilst on the vine, but the best is surely the young green berries that grow in long bunches and are eaten fresh, great with any kind of stir-fry; season Sept – Feb.
Harvesting is March / April, and the peppercorns are then dried in the sun. A few large pepper plantations are located in Phnom Voar, on the way to the caves at Kampong Trach. In Kampot you can find plantations in Chumkriel area. A great opportunity to view the vines and buy some of this superior pepper ($20/kilo). (In the markets it might be mixed with lower quality pepper).
To Phnom Voar: from Kampot Durian Statue, head east towards KT on road #33. Continue another 5km after the Kep White Horse statue and turn left at the Vine Retreat sign through the durian archway just after the school. Continue straight, over the railway lines and up the road for a few km until you arrive at the plantations. Altitude 56m
For those who want to be quiet and peaceful in a 100% natural environment, this hill provides it all through great views over the ocean with Phu Quoc Island and Bokor Hill in a backdrop.
A visit to Phnom Sor (White Mountain) is an advisable option if you are looking into spending a quiet afternoon, outside Kampot town.
Conveniently located just 8.5km north from Kampot, Phnom Sor can easily be reached by bicycle, motor, tuk tuk, …
Try to get there in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the burning midday heat. Even though there is shade from the many trees, it is still a bit of a hike up to the top.
Just 30km West of Kampot, at the foot of Bokor Mountain, lays Prek Tnaut, where since 2002 a local community is trying to establish a 176ha eco-tourism site and to raise environmental awareness for locals and villagers.
Supported by the WWF from 2003 until October 2010, the community is now self-sustainable and welcomes tourists & local visitors alike to come and enjoy the natural beauty of this mainly fishing community. Beside still being fisherman, the community is split up into 3 groups: traditional medicine makers, rattan producers & construction, and maintenance workers for the eco-project.
Kampot’s river, which is actually an estuary, in combination with the Bokor mountains in the backdrop create the magic of Kampot town and riverfront.
Watch the fishermen driving their boats out into the open sea around 5pm from any establishment’s terrace or mix in with the locals on the side of the river and enjoy the temperature slowly lowering into the night.
Tek Chhou Rapids are a couple of kilometers past the zoo, and are a popular place to picnic and have a dip in the river.
Food vendors and gazebo structures provide the amenities for a kick back and soak it up lazy afternoon.
Since the construction of the Kamchay hydro dam further upstream there is less water in the rapids but still worth the trip.
Times were a-changing at Teuk Chhou Zoo, with Footprints, a Cambodian-based Organisation taking over the operation & development of the site.
But due to disagreements between all involved parties, the zoo’s owner reclaimed his property ans so it is now on its way back to becoming what it used to be …
You can still support Teuk Chhou zoo’s animals by visiting them. Your entrance fee is used to buy food for the animals.
Find the zoo 7kn upstream on the west side of Kampot river. Entrance fee $4.
Learn to cook Cambodian food by yourself.
1/2 day and full day classes available.
Book in advance.
It is not the easiest road to get to this hidden temple but the charming farmers, their settlements, the refreshing mountain stream, the small valleys and tiny bamboo jungles full of squirrels make it worth the effort and sweat.
Most guesthouses (especially those along the river) and travel agencies in Kampot know how to arrange a kayak or kano so you can explore Kampot river, mangroves, … without the noise of a thundering engine. The perfect way to get the most out of the river’s wildlife. Lots of great birds, butterflies, … to spot.
Contact any guesthouse for a trip on the river or ring the original Kampot Boatman, Bart on (+855) 092 174 280)
Villa Vedici, a garden resort along Kampot river offers kite surf and wake board classes or if you are already experienced you can arrange here to take you out to the sea.
Well maintained equipment and a Western guide at your disposal.
Olly’s Place has paddle boards, a great way to explore Kampot River and its estuaries in a quiet and relaxed fashion and to get the most out of the river’s wildlife. Lots of great birds, butterflies, … to spot.
For tailored day-trips in Kep/Kampot or longer excursions on the Mekong, Tonle Sap, … contact Paddle Board Cambodia – SUP Kampot.
Due to its proximity to the sea there is enough breeze on Kampot river to undertake easy-going windsurfing.
Best season is October to March. Olly’s Place can provide this fun activity that does not need any more explanation.