Over the last two decades or so, Cambodia has lost its dark, dangerous reputation and memories of Khmer atrocities have faded enough to let the beauty of the country and its people shine through. The Khmer culture fascinates its visitors with enticing street food, white sand beaches offering salty sea air, and the steamy, emerald jungle is filled with outdoor endeavors. Cambodians are peaceful and receptive, the history is unlike anywhere else on earth, and the vistas are backed by kaleidoscopic sunsets. Lacking travelers en masse like in Thailand, Cambodia is still unmistakably authentic.
Travelers are captivated by Kampot, an endearing, sleepy waterfront village with a magnetic, laid-back feel and one of the country’s most impressive examples of French colonial architecture. Anyone hoping to explore the beautiful Elephant Mountains and Bokor National Park will find Kampot not only advantageous, but an interesting and fun base from which to enjoy outdoor adventures. Nearby, the seaside town of Kep, with its magnificent caves and lush, eastern coast, is just another reason to stay. This old trading hub saw its heyday until the 1950s when Sihanoukville gained a favorable position and took over. Kampot is for those looking to enjoy a varied backdrop that’s interesting to explore and perfect to relax in. The Old Market, an aging landmark, has recently seen some gentrification and now features many interesting restaurants and shops—they themselves are attractions, filled with interesting families who begin as strangers but end up good friends.