Kampot: An Eco Outdoor Trip

 

Starting the day to Kampot before dawn

This would have been my second trip to Kampot, except that it was with a different group of friends. We were connected with Adam, a Cambodian-Muslim, through work and he had invited us to try out the trip offered by a local company called T&O Travels.

We woke up very early and took the bus provided by the tour company, at 5:30am. The journey to Kampot, a province outside of Phnom Penh, took 3 hours by road. Both of us were the only foreigners on this bus and we didn’t mind it at all. Adam had invited another friend, Asri to join us and he, too is a Cambodian-Muslim.

Since it was too early and the sky was still dark when we moved from the T&O office, we decided to shut our eyes for a quick nap. We skipped the view from Phnom Penh all the way to Kampot and instead dreamt of coconuts and palm trees.

Our bus ride to Kampot departed at 5:30am

 

The first breakfast stop

Midway to Kampot, our bus stopped at a Restaurant for an hour toilet break plus breakfast. We ordered ice coffee with milk and plain fried rice. Lucky for us Adam was there to help us place the order since the staff did not speak any English. He introduced us to the rest of the passengers as his Malaysian friends who has been living in the city. They were very friendly and hoped that we would be enjoying this trip to Kampot with them.

Iced coffee with milk and plain fried rice was on the breakfast menu.

 

Arriving at an Eco Resort

We finally reached Kampot to visit an Eco Resort located along the river. Since we would not be staying for the night, we were allowed to view the huts which was made with bamboo. Each came with a balcony facing the slow blue water beyond it. The owners allowed us to experience a sampan ride on this river and so we did. We took two sampans and covered ourselves from the burning sun, with our caps. It was noon and I turned my focus instead on the smooth river which we were floating on, instead of the heat on my face.

My new travel mates starting taking out their selfie sticks to take photos of themselves and then with everyone else. They invited us to be part of the photos too since we were riding in the sampan together. As I was looking out, a girl next to me asked if I wanted some sunblock, which I gladly took and slathered myself with. After 30 minutes, we arrived back at the resort and into the bus for our next destination.

The Eco Resort seen from our sampan.

You can tell how happy I was to be included in that selfie.

 

Enjoying a picnic lunch by the waterfall

Our bus driver and guide took us to a waterfall for lunch and a cool dip. They ordered a lot of local food as we sat in the wooden pavilions, looking out at families swimming nearby. Some took a nap on the hammocks while a few sat on big rocks with their feet dipped in the cool water. When the food came, everyone gathered and sat in a circle, passing on rice, plates as well as utensils.

We had steamed fish, vegetable soup, and a few seafood dishes laid out in front of us. I’ve learned that Cambodians would take each dish little by little each time, instead of piling all the dishes in one plate. After they ate the vegetables, they would take the fish, and after that the seafood dish. It’s a humbling custom that I’ve learned to adapt since I came to Cambodia.

The guys went on to splash in the river while the girls stayed put under the pavilion. After a few minutes I decided to go down with them, sitting on a rock with my legs dangled in the cooling water. It was indeed refreshing and very relaxing.

Such a big lunch for a big group.

Locals taking a dip in the River to cool off.

Hammocks for those who need a nap after lunch.

 

On to the River Safari Park

Now here’s where the fun begins. Upon reaching this particular spot along the Kampot river, I saw a glimpsed of an aerial wire dangling from one side to the other. A group of enthusiasts were already making their way up this tall tower, climbing the steps carefully until they reached the top. We gathered at the bottom, looking above as staff place a harness around the participants.

Squeals and screams of excitement pierced the air as they were released from the tower, zip-lining to the other side of the river. “Man, that’s really high” I thought to myself and it must be about half a kilometer or more across to the other side. We could only choose one activity from this park and so I chose the safest one, which was the river kayak. Three of us got into one kayak while Adam decided to go solo.

I sat in the middle while the two guys rowed us out to the water. The river was long and wide, giving us more than enough room to move about, without bumping to one another. We heard more screams of excitement from below, and watched another person zip line across the Kampot River. After an hour, we heard our guide calling out to us and we started to row back to the pier.

All of us got on the bus, tired but happy. It was time to head back to Phnom Penh, with the loud sounds of Karaoke singing from the locals.

The high zip line tower which goes across the river.

Looking out into the horizon

Adam with his solo kayak on the river.

 

What I thought about the day trip

  • The round trip cost $25 per person which included breakfast & lunch. This was convenient since we didn’t need to search for food during our stop at the river. Adam had informed the travel agent beforehand that we could eat vegetarian or halal food during the trip.
  • The bus ride was safe as the the driver and guide kept each other awake the whole time. Even though the information was delivered in Khmer, Adam was kind enough to be our translator for the day.
  • The other passengers were a friendly bunch and didn’t mind our presence throughout the journey. I truly loved the vibe we got from everyone.
  • Since we’re traveling with locals, we’re bound to hear a lot of chatter and singing on the bus. They love to karaoke and this could be a disturbance for those who prefer some quiet time. I chose to close my eyes and sleep throughout the whole thing.
  • Overall, I didn’t have high expectations for the trip and just went with the flow!

Our group for this entire trip consist of this friendly bunch.

*Trip was taken in April 2016

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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