It's not hard to see why travellers become entranced with Kampot (កំពត). This riverside town, with streets rimmed by dilapidated shophouse architecture, has a dreamy quality; as if someone pressed the snooze button a few years back and the entire town forgot to wake up. The Kompong Bay River – more accurately an estuary – rises and falls with the moons, serving as both attractive backdrop and water-sports playground for those staying in the boutique resorts and backpacker retreats that line its banks upstream from the town proper.
Eclipsed as a port when Sihanoukville was founded in 1959, Kampot also makes an excellent base for exploring Bokor National Park, the neighbouring seaside town of Kep, and the superb cave-temples and verdant countryside of the surrounding area. A growing expat community is contributing to new cultural developments and more culinary variety.