Kampot and Kep

Kampot is a charming riverside town, rich in French colonial-era architecture and a popular place for river trips. It is a good base to explore Bokor Hill Station and the atmospheric colonial seaside town of Kep-sur-Mer. There are also several cave pagodas in the area, including perfectly preserved brick temples from the pre-Angkorian period. Kep was Cambodia’s first seaside retreat, founded by the French elite in 1908 and a favoured haunt of Cambodian high-rollers during the 1960s. After many years in hibernation, it has once again taken off, with new boutique hotels and resorts offering comfortable, atmospheric accommodation and delicious food. Nearby islands such as Koh Tonsay are popular for day trips and local crab and fresh seafood is a popular lunchtime treat. Bokor is one of the most atmospheric places in Cambodia, a 1000m-high plateau of steaming jungle, shy wildlife and abandoned buildings. Built by the French as a hill station in the 1920s, it was redeveloped by Sihanouk in 1959 as a casino resort before being abandoned to the elements in 1970. Off limits until recent years, the empty buildings and majestic views give it a haunting, romantic quality. Nearby Popokvil Falls are impressive in the wet season. It is currently only accessible during public holidays, as the old hill station is currently under redevelopment.

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