This province is located in the Southwest of the country, having an 80-kilometer coastal strip with the Gulf of Thailand. The provincial capital is named Kampot and sits near the base of the abundant green Elephant Mountains and the famous Bokor Hill Station. Compete to crowded Sihanouk Ville in the North of the province you may find quietness and almost no tourists around here. Most visitors come here to have a look at the old French colonial architecture, which is one still in charming condition, to have a vantage point for visiting the near beaches or the small islands of Kep. Kampot province is also renowned for the quality of its fruits (durian, coconut, mango, etc.), its sea salt and of course the famous Kampot Pepper. The special fresh climate and soil type of Kampot as well as the experience from several generations of pepper farmers make this pepper unique and much sought-after by gourmets’ worldwide. The small town of Kampot on the Tuek Chhou River is 5km inland from the sea. Fishing and farming are the main activities; durians and melons grow in abundance. To the south end of the town is a large dusty traffic circle with three hotels arrayed around it – Phnom Kieu, Phnom Kamchay, and Tuek Chhou.
Each has its own restaurants; Tuek Chhou offers a seedy nightclub. Also on the circle is the Prachum Mith Restaurant, which is close by is the Amar Restaurant. To the south near the river is the GPO and telecommunications building. At the north end of town, about 1.5 km away, lays the Central Market, with quite a lot of food stalls. All Kampot transportation is concentrated within the range of the market - cycle, motors, taxis, trucks, and buses. The railway station lies further north, but isn’t used anymore. There’s almost no interest in Kampot, except to walk around the town and look at crumbling French-built blue-shuttered shop fronts. You can reach Kampot by irregular plane service from Phnom Penh. It’s not the best and more comfortable way to get there by car. It takes about 5 hours to cover the 150 km from Phnom Penh to Kampot on a bumpy road, which but goes through a scenic changing nature.
Kampot province is 4.873 square kilometres big. It’s located in the Southwest of the country and is bordering to the North with Kampong Speu, in the East with Takeo, in the West with Sihanouk Ville and Koh Kong and to the South with the Gulf of Thailand. The East of the province consists of the typical plain area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The Western part of the province shows up with the well-known Bokor National Park, being a part of the grant Elephant Mountains, which is rich in lush forests and a huge range of wildlife. The two highest points in the province are the Bokor Hill Station with 1,027m altitude and further north another hilltop with 1,050m altitude. Some people consider the countryside similar to the sharp Vietnamese limestone rocks shooting up of flat plains – an impressive aspect.
The current population in this province is about 619,088 people or 4.31% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 people in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 299,814 males and 319,274 females. The population density is therefore 127 people per square kilometre.
The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms. Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April. Kampot itself is one of the cooler regions of the country, due to its situation next to the sea and high rainy mountains – its cooler and fresher. General information about the provincial climate: - Cool season starts from November to March with the temperature of 20ºc-26 ºc - Hot season starts from March to May with the temperature of 29ºc-34 ºc
- Rainy season starts from May to October with the temperature of 22ºc-30ºc and with humidity up to 90%.
Various actors, according to the needs of the most important target groups, implement rural development measures effectively and efficiently. Above all, the rural population should be able to sustainably better satisfy their basic needs.
Beside the profitable fruit cropping such as durian, mango or coconut Kampot Pepper has been renowned for decades as one of the best peppers in the world. This pepper has a very distinct flavor and smell, especially when it’s fresh harvested. It develops an enthralling aroma, strong, delicate and aromatic. Therefore it is famous in the world and exported to many countries.
How to get there:
Kampot may easily be approached directly from Phnom Penh, Sihanouk Ville and also from Vietnam via the Prek Chak (‘Ha Tien’) and Phnom Den international border crossings. Bus: buses to or from Phnom Penh are in comparative good condition via paved and National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot. This road is more recommendable than the alternative National Highway No 2 to leading to National Highway No 3 via Takeo province. The buses to Kampot depart each day at 7:30am and midday around 1:15pm from the central bus station near the central market (Sorya Bus Company; No 168). The prices with a usual old air-con bus are around US$4 per a person and trip. The trip usually takes approx. 4-5h. To/From Sihanouville: Taking a bus from Sihanouk Ville it’ll take you North on the National Highway No 4 to Veal Renh (about 40km), than you’ll turn east on National Highway No 3 in direction to Kampot. Both highways are paved and in comparative good condition. The trip from Sihanouk Ville to Kampot usually takes approximately 1-2 hours (110km). Shared Taxis: If you wish to go from Sihanouk Ville to Kampot by shared taxi you can found one opposite the market (Phsar Leu) and at the downtown bus and taxi station in Sihanouk Ville center. In Kampot, taxis can be found at the taxi stand or you just tell your guesthouse or hotel that you wish one taxi, as they’ll be friendly enough to help you organizing one ASAP. The prices are around 12,000 - 14,000Riel per person or $20 for a private taxi ($25 with a proper air-con). Going from Phnom Penh with a share taxi you can find one at Phsar Deumkor in Phnom Penh or opposite of central bus station. The prices are 13,000 -15,000Riel/person or $22-$30 for a private taxi. The 3 hours ride is shorter as with the slowly bus. Motorbike Information: The National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot is definitely not in the best condition as you might wish to hit the road as fast as possible, but it’s a scenic trip while you enjoy the countryside (approximately 155km). It’s worth it!
Coming from Sihanouk Ville, you have to ride on the National Highway No 4 for about 40km turning at the junction East and heading the NH No 3 for another 75km to Kampot. To/From Vietnam: The border to Vietnam (Ha Tien) is around 60km far from Kampot. The easiest mean to go there is by hiring a motorbike-taxi or Tuktuk (prices are around US$5 for a motorbike-taxi and US$1014 for a Tuktuk; 1.5 hour trip). The border was long closet for international travellers but has recently opened (beginning of 2007). The borders full name for both sites is Prek Chak/Xaxia. Going to the border you’ll have to take Road No 33 east from Kampot to the intersection of Road 31 at Kampong Trach town. Turn south on Road 31. The roads are all paved except the last few kilometres to the border, which are sealed. Both, Sok Lim Tours (Tel: 012 801 348) and Marco Polo Adventure Tours (Tel: 012 883 429) offer regular transport from Kampot to the border. If you’re coming from Vietnam, motorbike-taxi usually waits at the border crossing to take approaching travellers to Kep or Kampot.