Coming Home To Kampot

Kampot Tea

Cover Shot

This blog has been going since last October, when it’ll come to it’s end who knows? The story started in the middle of that month but the blog wasn’t created until two weeks later. What followed was a sharp learning curve along with teething problems before settling on it’s current format. Where it at least looks the part, that’s my belief anyways. So from the start it’s always been a case of playing catch up to hopefully achieve real time blogging. It occurred once here in Phnom Penh but since then right up until now, we’ve always been behind. The difference in time has varied, usually the blog is somewhere between three to five weeks behind. So readers I’d like to welcome you once more to real time blogging!

Well that’s a bit of a lie, a big fat one some might say, as we are still behind by quite a bit! However I am now blogging about the same location as we currently reside, Kampot in the south of Cambodia. We’ve been here a while coz we like it, the place is perfect actually :-).

River Island

Proof it’s a nice spot

You can’t travel for ever, though, it would be nice to try :-). Respect to those that do so, working as they move from place to place. Like most people I prefer fun to work, but I’m a firm believer of work hard, play harder. You can’t have one without the other, unless your fortunate enough to have a job that is also your favourite hobby. Well we’ve been playing quite hard now for 5 months and not worked for a single minute, hopefully we’ll get to re-address the balance shortly in the name of karma. Until work does commence we’ve at least agreed to stop moving, set up base and get comfortable. So for that we’re back in our favourite little spot, one we’ve also chosen for the wedding, just yet to set the date.

Plenty to see and do

There’s plenty to see and do

We arrive from the capital by mini bus, a tourist one, so you actually get to sit in your seat as intended. It’s a three hour journey so the $8 fare is very fair, but there’s plenty of backpackers that would disagree with that statement, be assured! As usual we’ve booked something in advance, one night in town alongside the river, next to the new bridge. The idea is to hopefully find an apartment within a week or so, so we can cook and chill more. We are familiar with the town so a gander is not required, we take a stroll along the river front to discover the old bridge is now closed. Either further damage has occurred or there’s been a few more fatalities, thankfully we’ve already done it, both ways, on foot and motorbike and managed to survive!

The Old Bridge

The old bridge, currently closed

A shot taken on the bridge can be found in the blog from when we was last here. We try a few of the bars we like before ending up at BlueBarRed, which in my opinion has the best draft beer in town. Quite a few of the expats congregate here and it’s nice to see everyone, plus the joint proprietor who is a main contributor to the very informative Kampot Survival Guide which is now also online here check it out as it’s a great read. His parents are also currently in town, over for their annual Cambodian break, their presence makes the bar more homely. It’s Thursday, which means it’s backgammon night, having recently learnt how to play on the island, it’s a great discovery. There are a few boards and each one is unique as they’ve been handmade. Thursday also means that we enjoy the live music at Madi’s bar just next door, we picked a good day to come back :-).

backgammon

Backgammon & Beer – A great match

In the morning we need to decide to stay or check out. Our room is spacious, comfortable and modern with a good bathroom, in a word – Ideal. However the internet is snail pace slow and trying to upload photos etc…. will eat up way too much free time & the blog is far enough behind as it is. The rate offered at reception is $20 and cheaper than Agoda, so we extend for one night to enable us to find something else. We check a few guesthouses and settle on the second one we see which is centrally located, surrounded by a selection of eateries. A fan room with hot water is $12 a night. We also look at two apartments, one of them at $120 a month is acceptable apart from the fact it’s part of a family home and even though it has a separate entrance, possibly not private enough. It’s one to bear in mind anyway if we don’t find something more suitable.

Next we need a bike, there’s a selection of outlets in town and scooters are generally $5 a day. 250cc dirt bikes are also available but my skills are not there yet, plus to be honest you look like a bit of a knob riding one about town. A scooter is sorted for two days from a place that also offers massage, and they speak English. If I’m happy with the bike and take it for a month they can do it for $3 a day, bargain!

Our latest set of wheels

Our latest set of wheels – Well worth $90 a month!

The accommodation search has eaten up most of the day and it’s now time for 2 for 1 cocktails at Rikitikitavi on the river front, it’s an upmarket joint compared to the rest of town, but the quality $4 cocktails are a bargain at this hour! However don’t make the mistake of ordering a Bloody Mary! Bizarrely they use freshly squeezed tomatoes (well they were at the time, I need to check if they followed my advice?). Now I’m no barman but this is something that should never be attempted, ever! Why? Coz it’s rank! Thankfully we didn’t get charged for them, which is a good sign of an establishment, one that enables us to re-visit occasionally.

As the end of the happy hour period arrives, we quickly cross the street for a boat trip up the river, and the fireflies that are supposedly active. For the trip we are joined on the boat by a mix of people –  A group of happy backpackers, a swiss guy with two locals all in their twenties who seem very friendly with each other ;-), another romantic couple plus a local family with an ex-pat husband who don’t seem happy at all. From where we are sitting the family seems like they are on a trip to hell, hopefully they cheered up later on.

firefly backpackers

Backpackers on their platform for the firefly trip

The boat is of ingenious design, two small hulls linked together by the deck. In addition there’s a diving platform which is more suitable for the sunset tours that are also offered. Drinks are available on board, beer is the usual dollar for a can. The trip is for two hours and we set out at dusk, heading up stream for the fireflies which are visible after dark. Fireflies are a type of beetle which produce light from their underbellies to attract mates or prey. We are told it’s not always possible to see them, but we get lucky as there are sections of the narrow river where the trees are brightly illuminated by the bugs. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos as the night display was spoilt by most of the boat playing on their phones, or using flash to take photos. The illumination on the boat stronger than the bugs, we enjoy the trip anyways.

zoom light effect

No firefly shots, so here’s a zoom effect I took at the time.

We’ve since been told that what we actually seen were xmas tree lights. I’ve not be able to confirm this scam, but we were convinced at the time and that’s all that matters. I shall do some investigative work tho’ to find out for sure ;-).

boat somersault

Another boat with a platform perfect for backward somersaults

So all in all it’s been a good few days start to what will be home for at least a month. We’re really not sure how long we’ll be sitting it out but Kampot just feels right, for a few reasons – The general cost of everything is as cheap as chips (when chips were actually still cheap), it’s a safe and friendly city with a perfect location on the river. Plus it’s just 3 hours from the capital, 90 mins from the beach, 3 hours from the tropical islands! On top of that there’s plenty in and around the city to keep us busy when we need something of interest to do every few days.

So the blog will continue with activities we partake in here. Some of the highlights may include climbing and or caving, the mountain range & possibly even tigers?! We hope to see you again soon, first things first we need to move hotels in the morning. Thanks for visiting it means a lot!

Ohhhh and quickly before I go, I want to tell you about my photography blog recently started which can be found here. Feel free to visit and follow if you so wish. Cheers from us both 🙂 !

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