Kampot Travel Blog› entry 44 of 94 › view all entries
Our minivan crossed the Kampong Bay River on the new bridge into Kampot and stopped at one of the guesthouses. It just happened to be the Long Villa which was the one that I had randomly chosen from the Sihanoukville Visitors Guide. That free guidebook includes maps and information on Kampot and Kep as well. My $5 room had cold water, a floor fan, and was newer than room 105 back at the Freedom.
Robin, a middle-aged avid hunter, fisherman, boater, and scuba diver from the North Island of New Zealand had also been on the mini-van and decided to stay at the Long Villa.
We angled back toward the guesthouse through town. Wide streets seemed well planned. The classic French colonial and Chinese architecture made it easy to imagine the booming days when this provincial capitol thrived - before Sihanoukville came into existence and before the destructive Khmer Rouge Regime.
By the Central Traffic Circle, we paused to study the red sign in front of Cheang Try Tours. It listed bus, motorbike, and taxi routes throughout Cambodia, to the Thai border, and into Vietnam. The owner halted work on a dusty Honda Dream to answer a barrage of questions in perfect English. I bought a ticket to Vietnam for $10. A motorbike would take me across the border and right into Ha Tien in less than two hours time. The three-hour ticket offered at the Long Villa would have cost $12 and dropped me at the border where it would have been another $3 motorbike ride into Ha Tien. Cheang Try told me that a 6:00 a.m. pick-up from my guesthouse could put me into Ha Tien in time for the 8 o'clock boat to Phu Quoc Island but I opted for a 10:00 a.m. pick-up which would give me an entire afternoon and a night in Ha Tien. Robin bought a ticket to Kep with a 7:30 pick-up.
At day's end, we walked to a waterside restaurant near the New Bridge and had a spicy bite to eat and a few more beers. We heard the drone of a dozen rumbling engines. It was an impressive sight to see the Kampot fishing fleet idle under the bridge as they paraded out to sea. The wooden boats had the same hulls but their cabins were much lower profiled than the fleets in Thailand or western Cambodia.