Town peppered with charm

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
Kampot Guesthouse

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

We really liked Kampot.  It is a charming town on the Mekong River in the south of Cambodia.  We picked it over going to the nearby Kep, which is on the sea, and we didn't regret it.  The positioning is beautiful on the River with Bokor National Park hills in the distance.  On our first night we spent 5 hours sat in one of the restaurants drinking beer and watching the sun go down and the activity of the locals.  We got talking to one of the restaurant owners who is from Birmingham.  He first went to Kampot 3 years ago on a rtw trip with the intention to stay for a couple of days.  4 months later he left.  It didn't have such an extreme effect on us but the place definitely has something.

The main reason that we chose to come to Kampot instead of one of the seaside places on the south coast was to go to Bokor Hill Station.  There is a dilapidated old hotel built by the French during the time they were in charge for the French people to go to when it got too hot down in the town.  The last time it was used was as a base for the Khmer Rouge, and it was one of the last places the Vietnamese took charge of when they successfully overthrew the Khmer Rouge in 1979.  Now it is an eerie looking empty building.  All the wiring has been pulled out, presumably so someone could sell the material, the bathrooms are rubble and some of the old floor tiles are missing.  The once grand ballroom would be a great location for a murder mystery dinner!  Down the road from the hotel is a small church which again was used by the Khmer Rouge as a base. 

Kampot is famous for its pepper so we went to the small factory based in the town to see how it is dried and sorted for distribution, most of which is international.  We of course picked some up as I'm a bit of a pepper lover, although not too sure when we'll get to sample it.
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