lunedì 4 novembre 2013

Kampot, the city of pepper

Hello all, sorry I skipped blogging a couple days but they've been really busy...
At the Halloween party I obviously met a number of random people with whom I decided to spend the following days... There is a lot to do around Kampot, lots of places to visit and a fair choice of restaurants and bars to experiment. Like always money was short, but cutting corners here and there and joining forces (or better, wallets) we managed to do everything we wanted to. :-)
On the first day we went to some close by rapids; the dam was closed that day so the water level was higher than usual and allowed us to enjoy the fresh water without being pulled away too easily. This place isn't really on the classic tourist map so it was really nice to blend in with all the locals enjoying their weekend picnics and taking a bath along with the monks from the temple.
In the afternoon we decided to go visit Wat Sorsiia, 15km away from Kampot on a dirt road. The temple sits on top of a hill with a network of caves lying beneath it. This time the caves were actually deep, and we enjoyed descending in the "bat cave" while feeling fresher with every step we took.
The next day we rented motorbikes and decided to visit Bokor National Park. The park extends all around a huge mountain and at the top you can find waterfalls, an old French church, a run down casino and a meteorologic station... Along with a new ugly 5* resort that completely ruins the view.
The waterfalls and the road itself were without doubt the best parts of our visit.
The waterfalls reminded me a lot of those in Plitvice, although they were nowhere as numerous or clean, unfortunately. But that didn't stop is from jumping in.  ;-)
In the afternoon we were planning on visiting the pepper plantations but wet got lost on the way and ended up exploring a different set of caves (Phnom Chgnork), which ended up being even better! These caves were much bigger compared to the other ones I visited till now and way more intricate. Every corner was accessible and many parts required us to crawl, climb and find ingenious ways to not get stuck half way through. It was loads of fun!
I really enjoyed my stay in Kampot and I recommend it to anyone planning a vacation in Cambodia... It's fairly out of the main tourist route but it's prepared to accommodate and entertain the occasional ones. A chance to take a look at the real Cambodia, especially if you rent a bike/motorcycle and just start exploring the countryside on your own.