Kampot nice and not so nice.

Kampot Travel Blog

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We arrived to Kampot by mini bus, it was a nice 2 hour ride and the bus only picked up 4 other people and 2 live ducks. Oh and not to mention 3 stops for police bribes! We checked in to a place called Moons Guesthouse. This place is owned by a young American guy from California but upon arriving discovered he had just left to go back to the states the day before. It turns out he has a side business of importing Toyota camerys and Lexus SUV's, the guest house doesn't make much money for him. He has a Cambodian wife, but she was nowhere to be seen, from what I understood she was in the capitol Phnom Penh doing a little bit of partying for the very popular dragon boat water festival. I'll tell you about that later. Ok so Kampot is a lovely, sleepy little town in the countryside. Our first day we hired a Tuk Tuk to take us to some caves and when we got there we were greeted by 6 children eagerly wanting to be our cave guides. We let them tag along and we walked up 108 steps to the entrance to the cave which has rock formations that look like the shape of a elephant an alligator and a cow. Also inside is a very old Buddhist temple where the villagers come and give offerings of incense and fruit. Because of the fruit inside the cave there were many bats hanging around inside. Then our guides said that before there were any steps people had to climb up through the cave, so they asked if we wanted to climb down so we did in the on the wet rocks in the pitch black of a very steep cave, it wasn't very safe but these kids knew every nook and cranny of this cave jumping from rock to rock and swinging from vines which I could only see by flashlight! These kids definitely knew their way around and I am pretty sure one kid saved my life when i got stuck high up on a rock and  dropped my flashlight. While spelunking I think I sweat out about 2 liters of water I was soaked! After the cave we took the kids to the nearest market and we bought them all pens, pencils and paper. They were all very happy. Our ride back was through picture perfect rice paddies with coconut and sugar palm trees scattered about the land with small rocky outcrops covered in jungle behind them. Absolutely gorgeous!!

   Later that night we went to a place called Bohdi Villa which is owned by an Australian couple, the husband plays live guitar music every weekend. We had a few beers and met a couple of other travelers and listened to good music, what a great first day in Kampot!

   Next morning we signed on for the over night Bokor mountain tour. We started off by land rover filled with 9 of us making the trip. We drove for about 30 minutes then we are told to get out and hike for 15 minutes then the car will pick us up again our guide said it would be so fast we won't need to bring water. Hiking in a crazy hot, unfamiliar jungle with no water I DON'T THINK SO!! So I grabbed a few waters for Chalain and I. Good thing too, because our guide for some reason forgot the way and said we must wait and be quiet because the Chinese patrol guards might find us!!! WHAT? The Chinese are building a resort and casino on top of the mountain and they seem to own the road all the way up the mountain which means we are trespassing. Well after an hour and a half in the heat, good thing for the water. Our old vehicle never shows up, but a big huge construction truck does and we are told to get in the back. My guess is they high jacked the truck from the construction site!
   After 3 hours of almost getting tossed out and bounced around the back of this truck we arrive at the top of this mountain which has a ranger station with bunk beds and no electricity. Bokor Hill Station is an old french resort and casino from the 1920's which over looks the whole south coast of Cambodia. The buildings have all been shot up and stripped of everything valuable. What remains is the skeletons and concrete structures of these old buildings.There is also a church so old that its completely covered in orange moss. We had full range walking and exploring this very creepy place( in 2002 Matt Dillion filmed a movie up there not sure the name though). Did I tell you we are the only ones staying up there? We did have guide but he said go have fun and do you have any questions, so I asked do we need to worry about land mines up here? His answer as he is walking away is "not really" Oh great that makes us feel safer! Our plan was to watch the sunset from the edge of the cliff but I started not feeling well and knew something was brewing inside me, 20 minutes later  uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea hit me like a ton of bricks! I couldn't move, barely walking to the disgusting one bathroom that was working. Also it was Halloween night so it turned into a nightmare for me, Chalain had to help take care of me so we missed the famous sunset on Bokor Mountain. I didn't sleep all night. The next mourning I was still sick and needed to get off this mountain. The only way was to pay a park ranger $50 to drive us all the way down and to a doctor, otherwise I would have to wait there all day for the next group of people to arrive with a tour and go with them so we paid the money! It turned out from sweating so much the day before I never got rehydrated and ended up with extreme dehydration. The next 2 days consisted of bed rest, and during that time Chalain ended up eating something bad and she also got extremely sick, so she was in bed also!
So what we have is two very sick people that can't get out of bed. The next day we made the decision to hire a taxi to Phnom Penh to go to the hospital! We got there and I was feeling much better but Chalain had to get 4 IV drips in her arm and a bag full of medicine and antibiotics. We then checked in to the Royal Inn to re cooperate. It was the last day of the water festival so we watched it from the TV in the hospital room. We didn't get to enjoy Kampot as much as we would have liked,but the time when we were healthy was great!!
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photo by: asturjimmy