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Whether delving into city life in Phnom Penh, exploring the ancient temples of Siem Reap, wandering the idyllic beaches of the south coast or trekking in deep jungle, tap into the very best the Kingdom has to offer

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BEST OF GUIDE

THE COAST

Cambodia’s coast can be whatever you want it to be. Kep’s hillside resorts take relaxation to new levels, but Sihanoukville is the best choice for those with drinking and dancing in mind. The finest beaches can be found on islands offshore, while Kampot is arguably Cambodia’s most charming small town
HOTEL  |  RESTAURANT  |  BAR  |  ACTIVITIES

HOTELS

Photo of KNAI BANG CHATT
KNAI BANG CHATT

Protégés of Cambodia’s architectural icon Vann Molyvann designed the three elegant 1960s villas that dot Knai Bang Chatt’s lawned gardens. Now lovingly restored, the laid-back resort provides the ultimate weekend getaway. Plunge into the infinity pool, relax at the in-house spa, or spend a lazy afternoon taking in Kep’s sweeping sea views. Even better, guests can rest and rejuvenate safe in the knowledge that a percentage of their holiday dollars will be invested in the resort’s Hand in Hand programme, which has helped more than 600 families in the nearby village of Chamcar Bei.

knaibangchatt.com

PIPPALI

Kampot has long been crying out for higher-grade accommodations and Pippali, situated just off Kampot’s riverside promenade, is a modest yet stylish retreat designed in keeping with its peaceful surrounds. In the rooms, natural wooden sideboards, industrial furniture and rustic tiling create a minimalist aesthetic while managing to retain a warmth that similarly designed hotels sometimes lack. Outside, the tasteful restaurant that also makes ample use of natural wood sits alongside the pool, which is encased by palm trees and colourful shrubbery. This peaceful lagoon is certainly a highlight of this fine little property and the ideal sanctuary to escape the distractions of modern life.

fb.com/pippalihotel

SAMANEA

The dramatic jetty and secluded private beach at Samanea offer Instagram-worthy shots galore. But the pure beauty of this harmonious Kep resort, set in a botanical park a short hop from town, is matched by excellent facilities. Bed down in the spacious villas, all white sheets and exposed stonework, before taking a dip in the 300-square-metre infinity pool at this pastoral home-from-home by the sea.

samanea-resort.com

Photo of SOK SAN
SOK SAN

Sun-kissed white sand and crystal clear waters lure many an international traveller to the shores of Koh Rong. Though traditionally a haven for backpackers, the palm-fringed isle has a growing number of upmarket options catering for the more discerning adventurer. Sok San is the pick of the bunch thanks to graceful seafront chalets and an enviable beach location. It even offers a private speedboat transfer from the mainland to ease you into island time in style.

soksanbeachresort.com

Photo of SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND
SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND

With lashings of Vogue-worthy aesthetics and impeccable service to boot, the twin ‘sweetheart’ islands of Song Saa are home to one of Cambodia’s most luxurious and enchanting resorts. The brainchild of a husband-and-wife team who spent years making this tropical dream a reality, it’s a true five-star retreat, replete with over-water villas, winding pathways, private pools, top cuisine and majestic ocean vistas.

songsaa.com

Discover TIP

The three main beaches in Sihanoukville are Serendipity, Otres 1 and Otres 2. The former is definitely the go-to coastal spot for partying, while Otres 2 is home to a more upmarket vibe and plenty of smart resorts. Otres 1 is somewhere in between.

RESTAURANT

CAFÉ ESPRESSO

The go-to café in the riverside town of Kampot, Espresso serves up a seriously good cup o’joe at its trendy warehouse home, located close to the iconic durian roundabout. Soaring ceilings coupled with the in-house Rumble Fish roastery and mouth-watering meals make this one of the best options in town. If that wasn’t enough, a tempting post-caffeine chaser lies next door, in the form of a dose of retail therapy at the ethical clothing company Dorsu.

kampotcoffee.wixsite.com/espresso

Photo of CRAB SHACKS
CRAB SHACKS

No trip to Kep is complete without a visit to the bustling crab shacks, a series of simple, wooden eateries that serve up Kep’s famous crab and other seafood. Jiggling crustations are pulled straight from baskets in the sea and boiled or fried with the region’s famed Kampot pepper. Holy Crab and Kimlyare two of the most renowned restaurants along the stretch, but everyone has their own favourite and most can be relied upon to turn out lip-smackingly good seafood.

SECRET GARDEN

The gentle waves of Otres beach provide an idyllic backdrop for this highly regarded hotel and restaurant, which boasts some of the best dishes found on the southern seafront. Wiggle your toes in golden sand whilst supping on the bounty of the sea — think fresh tiger prawns and steamed snapper. Top it all off by indulging in the sumptuous desserts, including a silky salted caramel crème brûlée.

secretgardenotres.com

Discover TIP

Kampot has become something of a foodie haven in recent years, with far more eateries than we can fit in our pages. Check out Tertúlia, Baraca and Twenty Three, to name but a few.

BARS

Photo of THE FISHMARKET
THE FISHMARKET

An art deco landmark on Kampot’s vibrant riverfront, this former 1930s fishmarket has been given a new lease of life as a chilled-out bar and restaurant. Rich woods, traditional tiling and an open-plan layout make it a cozy spot for sundowners, but the X-factor comes in the form of the breezy balcony, which provides panoramic views of the town’s gently flowing waterway.

fb.com/FishMarketKampot

Photo of THE SAILING CLUB
THE SAILING CLUB

The fiery hues of Kep’s sunsets are enough to take your breath away, but why not witness the nightly spectacle from the cool comfort of the Sailing Club – a picturesque restaurant, bar and activity centre set around a pale blue fisherman’s cottage.
A favoured weekend sanctuary for the capital’s expats, days are best spent riding the waves on one of the club’s catamarans before enjoying a night of craft cocktails as the blazing sun sinks beneath the horizon.

knaibangchatt.com/the-sailing-club/

ACTIVITIES

KEP NATIONAL PARK

Leafy tracks guide hikers and motorcyclists alike through the steamy jungle of Kep National Park, which covers the verdant hills behind the small, southern resort town. Come armed with water and insect repellent, then ramble uphill to one of the fabulous lookout points to witness the gentle curve of Kampot Bay spreading out into the distance. You might even meet a family of monkeys along the way.

Photo of PEPPER PLANTATIONS
PEPPER PLANTATIONS

Once a crop of choice for French colonists, Cambodia’s fragrant pepper has survived the twists and turns of history to again grace the world’s best dining tables. With the spice now granted elite ‘geographical indicator’ status, Kampot’s renowned growers have opened their doors to tourists to show how the piquant product is cultivated. Both Sothy’s Pepper Farm and La Plantation are renowned for their tours, which offer fascinating insights into this ‘black gold’.

mykampotpepper.asia or kampotpepper.com

TADA WATERFALL

For most visitors, Kampot is all about one thing: doing very little. But for the more intrepid explorer, adventures abound. A 15-minute motorbike ride or a 40-minute jaunt on a hired bicycle over a bridge and along the road following the river upstream will bring you to Tada waterfall. Enveloped in untamed jungle, an off-road dirt track deposits you at a staircase leading to the tranquil waterfall, the dazzling brightness of its red-clay appearance thrown into sharp relief by the plush green foliage that make up the valley’s walls. The view is magnificent; the atmosphere serene.

Discover TIP

In Kep and desperate to experience island life? Jump on a boat at the jetty, easily arranged by yourself or via your hotel, and pop over to rustic Rabbit Island for a day – or more.