Once an important trading centre, the town of Kampot has now been eclipsed by other ports nearby, leaving a sleepy feel to this Cambodian community. Situated on the banks of the Kampot River and enjoying views of both the Bokor and Elephant Mountains, the town is a pleasant place to pass some time.

The term 'faded grandeur' may have been coined with Kampot in mind, but its combination of crumbling French colonial architecture, villas and old shopfront trading houses offer a certain amount of charm.

From Kampot it is possible to explore Bokor, where Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese shot at each other during the overthrow of the region. At the top of the mountain there are two buildings - an old church and a casino - which they used as a refuge.

Despite a colourful history, Kampot still has a thriving present and its pepper is widely regarded as some of the best around. The plantations can be seen around the town and it is possible to visit them to find out more about the growing and processing of the spice.

 

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