Located nearby one another, it’s no surprise that Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville in Cambodia each exude the epitome of “hippie backpacker” vibes. However, embracing the “hippie” lifestyle isn’t the only thing to do as there are sights to experience so let’s get to it!
Kampot Pepper Plantation
Kampot is known for its pepper, and salt, so visiting either is an insightful experience as most people forget the farm to table concept in our fast-paced world. There are more pepper plantations than salt, though, and choosing one may be headache inducing so to make it easy for you: choose La Plantation; there are free guided tours around the complex daily, available in English or French – with pepper sampling included. The main reason to visit La Plantation, though, is due to the view as it faces the “secret lake” in Kampot.
Kep Crab Market
Although the crab market is officially closed after 4pm, you can still find vendors selling all types of items – but most importantly, crab, of course. If you’re into saving then don’t just tour the market, eat there, too; along the waterfront are women selling crabs and half a kilo costs just 4$, the perfect size, and price, for a solo female backpacker on a budget. However, to have it fried with fresh Kampot pepper costs an extra 5,000 Cambodian Riels and a portion of rice costs 1,000 Cambodian Riels so altogether 5.50$. What a bargain!
Happy fact: in Cambodia it is legal to serve items on a menu with an extra ingredient – cannabis. Man’Groove Guesthouse, in between Kampot and Kep, has various happy items, ranging from happy chocolate to happy popcorn to happy chicken curry to happy tea and more; so if you want to live the hippie backpacker stereotype there isn’t a safer country to do it in legally.
Ortres Beach, and Village
Situated in Sihanoukville, Otres is an area less littered than the city – figuratively and literally, as Cambodia has a garbage problem. Most people use Otres, or the city, as a base for day-trips, or overnight-trips, to Koh Rong Samloem but if you’re on a budget and can’t spare the 22$ roundtrip, Otres is the perfect substitute; on a sunny day the ocean is clear and the visibility around 80-90%. The village, also known as the market, has many resorts and cafes based around sustainably for the environment – think solar powered guesthouses and vegan restaurants. Plus, weekend markets and make-shift disco shacks – with an occasional circus show or workshop added in to the mix.
If you’ve been travelling solo, you might have become a little paranoid with your belongings so use your time at the beach as an opportunity to trust again. Mainly frequented by local families and other tourists, trust when I say that your belongings are safe – I accidentally brought 100$ to the beach and swam, on and off, for probably 1.5-2 hours or more and nothing happened at all (but stay vigilant, of course).