Live With No Excuses and Travel With No Regrets
Cambodia is often a key spot on a backpackers South East Asia itinerary with its awe-inspiring ancient temple of Angkor Wat and its luxurious white sandy beaches. However Cambodia holds many a hidden secret that I for one didn’t initially seek to explore. Yet on discovering the gems of Southern Cambodia my heart has been stolen and it has quite easily become one of my favourite travelling destinations.
Kampot, a small sleepy town situated on the Praek Tuek Chhu River boosts much history, conservation and beauty. Known for its pepper plantations and salt fields, it’s a typical Cambodian town and visitors really get the feel of true Cambodian life. Only a stone’s throw away nestled in the rolling hills is the beauty of Bokor National Park. Spend hours exploring around the windy roads taking in the many ancient temples, ruins, waterfalls and spectacular views over Kampot. Gibbons roam freely and if you are lucky you may even see a clouded Leopard or Sun Bear. Be sure to try the fresh sugar-cane on offer for a quick energy boost especially if you plan a hike around the many trails.
If for anything however Kampot is worth a visit just for the food itself. My top picks include Ecran Noodles that together with the most spectacular view over the river and mountains serves without question the best dumplings I have ever tasted. I still dream of them regularly! That alongside visiting the Epic Arts Cafe in the centre square, a social enterprise setup to increase work opportunities for disabilities in Kampot you are truly set. Try the Corn Fritters and trust me you will thank me.
Luxurious white beaches are a must see whilst in Cambodia, however to see the real beauty you need to stay off the typical expat trail. Only a bus and boat ride away from Kampot, Ko Rong’s sister island Ko Rong Sanloem is a quieter more rustic island which still boosts the same clear waters and white sands. M-Pai Bay is a small fishing town to the north of the island and holds so many hidden gems for those wishing to explore it. A rustic hike through the forest leads you to Clear Water Bay where those clear white beaches are yours alone. Another hike up to the Cliff Hostel for sunset gives you breathtaking views while you relax with a beer after a snorkel in the waters below. Once darkness hits, take those snorkels back down into M-Pai Bay and walk as far east of the beaches as possible. This is where you will see the famous bioluminescent plankton. You will soon become mesmerised by this incredible natural light display that is only seen this far away from light pollution.
If you have the time and sense of adventure southern Cambodia is truly one to explore. It captured my heart and I dare it not to capture yours. As Oscar Wilde says “Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets.” Southern Cambodia will give you just that.