Angkor Wat Guide – Plan Your Visit to the Temples of Angkor [2022]

Preah Khan Temple Cambodia

Which temples do you need to see at Angkor? How many days does it take to visit them all? What’s the best way to get around temples of Angkor? Fortunately, after reading this guide, all you have to do it worry about setting your alarm to watch the sunrise! Well, almost… 

Angkor Archeological Park and Angkor Wat is a highlight of any trip to Cambodia or along the Banana Pancake Trail.  The ancient city of Angkor was once a vast civilization with a population of over 1 million people until it mysteriously collapsed and was subsequently absorbed back into the jungle.  Today,  Angkor Wat rivals  Macchu Picchu and the Great Pyramids in its ability to inspire awe in every visitor.

Spread out over a vast area, it’s likely that you’ll spend either one jam packed day or multiple days temple touring and fulfilling your own Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider fantasy.  Before we dive into the logistics, let’s look at the basics for visiting Ankgor Wat.

How do you get to Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat is located adjacent to Siem Reap , the jumping off point for anyone exploring the temples of Angkor. Siem Reap is easily accessed by plane or bus. For more details on getting here or get tips on Siem Reap, check out our  Cambodia Itinerary planner.

How much does it cost to visit Angkor Wat?

There are three options for visiting the temples of Angkor. If you are lucky enough to be visiting within this year, there is a special promotion until the end of 2022 that gives you extra days to explore:

    • One day ($37 (valid only on the day of purchase). The essential package. *Valid for 2 days until December 31, 2022
    • Three days $62 (valid for 10 days from the date of purchase) Typically the sweet spot. *Valid for 5 days until December 31, 2022
    • Seven days $72 (valid for one month from the date of purchase). For serious temple buffs or those hanging out in Siem Reap for an extended period of time. *Valid for 10 days until December 31, 2022
Preah Khan Temple Cambodia

What to pack for Angkor Wat

    • A small everyday backpack like our Kiri pack. 
    • Water (lots) and a few snacks.
    • Your ticket (it will be checked at numerous checkpoints).
    • Sunscreen.
    • A hat.
    • Sunglasses.
    • Bug spray.

Don't forget travel insurance

Unfortunately, when you’re riding bikes on busy roads, being driven in Tuk Tuks, and climbing steep slippery steps up ancient temples,  medical emergencies can happen and you want to be prepared! My sister had a friend who was medevaced to Bangkok from Cambodia and spent several weeks in the hospital there to the tune of $750,000. Fortunately, she had travel insurance. If you don’t already have travel insurance, check out World Nomads or get a quote in seconds below.  They even have options that protect against theft, and cover the cost of emergency evacuations. 

When to buy a ticket for Angkor Wat?

Buy your ticket the evening before your day of exploration anytime after 5pm to avoid having to make an extra stop to the ticket booth on your first morning. You’ll also get access to the Park that night, offering you the bonus of watching the sunset to kick off your temple touring. The most popular sunset spot, Phnom Bakheng, was extremely busy pre-pandemic but less so as of our last visit in 2022. The temple Pre Rup is also open until 7pm and is a great way to start your adventure after buying your ticket.

What should you wear to visit Angkor Wat?

The Angkor Park remains an active religious site. As such, it’s recommended that you wear a shirt that covers your shoulders and shorts/pants/skirt/dress that extend below your knees. Individuals not meeting this dress code have been rejected entry in some cases, so do air on the side of caution and respect. Beyond these considerations, wear something comfortable and breezy as the heat here can be stifling. 

Scams at Angkor Wat

While rare, in some of the smaller temples you may be chatted up by a child or adult who gives you a tragic tale about a series of unfortunate events that led them to a very poor financial position. The conversation may start out as just a friendly conversation that you can easily mistake as getting to know a local, but it will inevitably find its way to their dire situation. These individuals are generally cons, so do your best to get out of the conversation and politely leave when it starts taking a turn. There are plenty of ways to help out by donating your money or time to organizations truly making a difference in Cambodia, so choose this option instead to be a responsible traveller.

How to get around the Temples of Angkor

Angkor Archeological Park is big, really big! In light of this, walking from temple to temple is out of the question. Generally the two most common options are traveling by hired tuk-tuk or by bicycle,

Hire a tuk-tuk to take you around Angkor

$15-20 for the day

From the minute you arrive in Siem Reap, every driver, tuk-tuk driver, and tout will ask you how you plan to see the temples and eagerly offer their expert guiding services to you. Seeing the temples by tuk-tuk is a great way to go when it comes to staying as comfortable as possible in the Cambodian heat. Generally, many tuk-tuk drivers have a good idea of which temples to visit and at which times. They’ll help you plan out your itinerary and wait for you while you take the time to tour each one. Often the biggest challenge is finding the right driver. I’ve had good luck taking a driver affiliated with my hotel, hostel or guesthouse and usually recommend going this route. Alternatively, talk to a few before committing and pick the person you like the best!

Rent a bike and pedal around Angkor Wat

$1-9 (bike quality dependent)

Cycling is a great way to explore the temples of Angkor and truly appreciate the beauty of the magical scenery in this area. Many hotels and guesthouses make bikes easily available for rent to guests. Don’t underestimate this though, as you can easily be cycling for 17 km (Small Circuit) or 26 km (Big Circuit) in the scorching Cambodian heat depending on the route you choose. If you decide to take a bicycle, be prepared to sweat, and remember to bring a headlamp if you go out for sunrise. I’ll never forget the intense paranoia I had of becoming roadkill in the pre-dawn as hundreds of tuk-tuks and tour buses cruised past me as I peddled furiously along the road to Angkor Wat. If you need help planing your cycling excursion, use the map and guide below.

Navigating the Temples of Angkor - the small loop and big loop

The Angkor Park is broken down into 2 loops:

    • The Small Loop (~17km)
    • The Big Loop (~26km)

If you’re visiting Angkor for 1 day you will likely stick to the highlights of the Small Circuit.

 If you have 3 days, you’ll move onto the Big Circuit. 

If you have even more time, you’ll be able to spend a lot of time wherever you want and double down on your favourites.

Map of the Temples of Angkor

You’ll be able to pick up a general map of Angkor at your hotel or hostel, but save this image below to your phone for quick reference.

What temples should you visit at Angkor?

Deciding which temples to visit depends on how much time you have and how quickly you get “templed out”. Use the descriptions of the temples below to help you decide which temples are your own “must-sees”. I’ve marked several temples as must sees to help you narrow your choices if you’re short on time. 

Temples to visit in the Angkor Small Loop

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Angkor Wat - Must See

The largest religious site in the world, Angkor Wat is a spectacular 12th century temple that was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and designed to represent Mount Meru, the sacred 5-peaked mountain of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology. Despite the mass of crowds, a sunrise (~5 am) here is a truly unique experience. Make sure to spend time admiring the massive lengths of bas-reliefs and finding some relative solitude as the bulk of tourists eat breakfast or rub the sleep out of their eyes following the sunrise.

Phnom Bakheng

This hilltop temple near to Angkor Wat is a hotspot for sunset vistas. But with great views come great crowds. Pre-pandemic you had to arrive here early if you wanted to get a spot, but it’s much quieter these days as tourism in Cambodia is only slowly picking up again. During the day this is a place to find solitude, although it gets extremely hot during midday as there is no tree cover once you reach the temple

Angkor Thom

 Literally means “Great City”. If ever there was an ancient city worthy of its namesake, it’s Angkor Thom. The minute you enter, over the gigantic moats, through the walls, and beneath the faces that watch over each gate, you will be taken aback by the size and scale of this ancient citadel. The following temples are highlights within the Angkor Thom complex:

Bayon - Must See

At the heart of Angkor Thom is the Bayon. While smaller than Angkor Wat in size, the detail and 216 smiling faces adorning its towers make this temple a fan favourite.  Many theorize that the faces depict King Jayavarman VII the builder of Bayon and Angkor Thom. This temple is truly spectacular in its level of detail. The upper level is currently closed for restoration, but be sure to explore the beautiful lower levels of the Bayon to peek up at the towering faces above.

View from the Baphoun Temple in Angkor

Baphuon

Slightly north of Bayon lies the 30m tall 3-tiered Baphuon. Climb the steep steps to take in the view over Angkor Thom. As you journey around this magnificent structure and observe its details, take a moment to appreciate that you’re standing on a restoration project that was 50+ years in the making.  By the 20th century the Baphuon had almost entirely collapsed and an epic restoration project began. Over 300, 000 of the blocks were labelled and arranged around the area and a detailed catalogue created. Then the Khmer Rouge conflict followed and the plans were lost. In 1996 restoration resumed, and piece by piece the temple was reassembled over the span of 15 years.  On April 2011 the temple reopened, fully restored. Some call it one of the world’s largest puzzles, and for good reason.

Preah Palilay

Continuing north from Baphuon, the often forgotten jungle-gem of Preah Palilay is one of my most recent favourite discoveries within Angkor Thom. Tucked away behind a Buddhist monastery in the forest, this little temple has a chimney-like tower at its centre and several huge trees entangling its base stretch almost as high as the tower itself. This temple is worth a quick visit to really feel like Indiana Jones.

Banteay Kdei ​at Angkor Wat Cambodia

Banteay Kdei

Banteay Kdei is similar in style to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but a smaller version. It’s a charming little temple located across from Srah Srang lake.

Srah Srang​ at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Srah Srang

This large water reservoir demonstrates the engineering capabilities of the Khmer Empire. It also happens to be a nice place to watch sunrise with fewer crowds.

ta keo temple at Angkor

Ta Keo

Just outside of Angkor Thom lies Ta Keo. A mountain style temple dedicated to Shiva, Ta Keo was left unfinished in the 11th century. An inscription claims it was struck by lightning, a bad omen that led to a halt in its building, but the death of the temple’s commissioning King is another potential reason. Regardless, climbing Ta Keo’s three tiers of steep steps are worth the fear of slipping to get a nice view from the top level.

Srah Srang​

Ta Prohm - Must See

The iconic tree temple that was brought to fame by Tomb Raider lies about 1km to the east of Angkor Thom. Ta Prohm was originally built as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Today Ta Prohm is one of the most popular temples in the Angkor Archeological Park due to the fact is was left almost as it was found when rediscovered. Massive trees drape their roots over ancient stones striking up an incredible contrast of man vs. nature.

Temples to visit in the Angkor Big Loop

Preah Khan

Reminiscent of Ta Prohm (including the unrestored style), but with half the crowds. This temple is a must visit. Wander the many corridors and meditate among the trees. If you get your timing right, you may even have the place virtually to yourself.  

Ta Som

 A small temple in the theme of Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, Ta Som is another one of my favourite places. Tucked away in the jungle on a dirt road off of the main concrete circuit, this temple is often missed by the tourist hordes and I’ve had the place to myself on multiple occasions. It’s a beautiful place to navigate through the rubble and admire the trees soaring through and beyond its stone walls.

Neak Pean​ temple in Angkor

Neak Pean

Just down the road from Preah Khan lies this small and peaceful water temple. Its small size and boardwalk access can make it a little crowded during busy times, but it’s a beautiful place nonetheless.

Pre Rup

A great choice for sunset if you’re looking to avoid the crowds of Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup offers striking views over the surrounding area. Remarkably it never gets too busy here, so climb up to Pre Rup’s top tier and sit down for a bit of relaxation to absorb the beauty of the Park.

Temples to Visit Beyond the Angkor Park

Banteay Srei

 25 km northeast of Angkor Thom lies Banteay Srei. This small temple is frequently raved about for its elaborate carving that may be the most elaborate of all the temples of Angkor. You’ll need a tuk-tuk to get here, but if you have the energy after all the other temples, the carvings are worth the trip.

Find the Hidden Temples

If you’ve visiting all the temples in the big and smalll loop, go beyond the tourist track at these secret temples.  

How many days does it take to visit the Temples of Angkor?

If you’re someone that’s alright with hitting the highlights in one whirlwind of a day, it’s possible to visit Angkor Wat and the surronding temples in 1 day (see below). Most visitors looks to space their trips out over several days which allows ample time for seeing all the major temples in the Angkor Archeological Park. 

How to visit the Temples of Angkor in 1 day

Visiting Angkor in 1 day is a whirlwind, but if you’re short on time here’s my recommendation on how to do it.  If you’re biking, count on a commute of 1 hour to Angkor Wat if you’re staying on the northern side of Siem Reap, longer if you’re staying elsewhere. (Take it from someone who missed the sunrise not once but twice. Don’t miss it…)

Click the name to link back to the description above if you need to refresh your memory of a particular temple!

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

5:00 am Sunrise at Angkor Wat

7:30 am Angkor Thom

12:30 pm Lunch in Angkor Thom

1:30 pm Quick stop at Ta Keo

2:00 pm Ta Prohm

4:00 pm Banteay Kdei

5-6 pm Watch the sunset at Srah Srang or frantically back pedal through Angkor Thom and watch from the hilltop temple of Phnom Bakheng (leave early or cut Banteay Kdei if choosing this option to be sure you get a spot).

7 pm Relax. Take a deep breath. You saw the highlights of Angkor in 1 crazy day.

How to visit the Temples of Angkor in 3 days

3 days is the perfect amount of time to get the full Angkor experience. It’s a busy 3 days , but affords you the time to see all the temples you want at a somewhat relaxed pace. Here’s how to do it!

You can click the name to link back to the temple description above if you need to refresh your memory.

Temples of Angkor Itinerary Day 1: Angkor Wat & Ta Phrom

Stop 1: Angkor Wat

Start the day at the world famous Angkor Wat if you can bring yourself to wake up for the sunrise (5 am). It really is a breathtaking (albeit crowded) experience. Spend several hours admiring the vast bas-reliefs and queuing up to climb the steep steps to the upper level. Grab breakfast, a less than fantastic coffee, or the snack of your choosing at one of the many stalls/cafes along the north side of Angkor Wat.

Stop 2: Srah Srang & Banteay Kdei

 Instead of proceeding north to Angkor Thom (we’ll save that for day 2), head east to Srah Srang and Banteay Kdei. Spend some time enjoying the reservoir and small temple.

Stop 3: Ta Prohm

Explore the magnificent Ta Prohm and get to know your inner Indiana Jones or Lara Croft (among many other people trying to do the same thing).

Stop 4: Ta Keo

Take the time to climb up the Ta Keo mountain temple, before calling your first day. If you made it for the sunrise at Angkor Wat, you may be itching for a nap.  Even if you didn’t make sunrise, you’re likely going to be itching to cool down poolside with an ice cold Angkor draft, or maybe a nap and a cool down…

Temples of Angkor Itinerary Day 2: Angkor Thom

Cycle past Angkor Wat and proceed through the south gate into the great city of Angkor Thom. The temples in here don’t open until 7:30, but if you take the time to arrive around this time you’ll be rewarded with far fewer crowds than later in the day. Better yet, the morning is generally mildly cooler.

Stop 1: The Gates

No matter how you enter Angkor Thom, you’ll pass over the great moat and through an intimidating set of gates and walls towering over 9m tall.  

Stop 2: Bayon

At the centre of Angkor Thom this incredible temple can easily occupy several hours of exploration. Wander along the Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the Elephants, transporting yourself back to a time when this parade route would have seen kings returning victorious from battle.

Stop 3: Baphuon

Conclude your day by summiting the world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle and admiring the amazing restoration work.  

Then...

Afternoon (time dependent) in Siem Reap or visit further out Banteay Srei by tuk-tuk or motorbike.

Temples of Angkor Itinerary Day 3: The Big Circuit

An early start will once again be to your advantage. Set out biking past Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom before continuing through the north gate until you reach Preah Khan.

Stop 1: Preah Khan

Wander through this massive temple and enjoy the relative quiet compared to the temples along the small circuit. Find a spot to sit and appreciate the power of the gigantic trees that engulf this temple.

Stop 2: Neak Pean, Ta Som and Pre Rup

Once you’ve finished at Preah Khan, continue down the road, stopping at Neak Pean and wandering across the boardwalk before proceeding onwards to Ta Som and concluding at Pre Rup.

Conclude Your Time at Angkor

If you’re not templed-out, bike back past Ta Prohm and through Angkor Thom, taking the time to stop at your favourites one more time. You also have the option to climb up Phnom Bakheng and bid adieu to your time at Angkor with a view. If it’s later on in the day already, you may even want to take the time to linger and watch the sunset over Angkor Wat. The perfect conclusion to the way you started.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful for planning your trip to Angkor Wat and the temples of Angkor. Questions? Drop me a line in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you out!

More adventures like this

Cambodia’s Best Motorbike Trips | 3 Incredible Adventures in the Kingdom of Wonder

Man sits on rock overlooking hills and cloud on Bokor Mountain

With a majority of the country unexplored by travellers, hopping on a motorbike is the perfect way to access the parts of Cambodia many people miss. From hidden temples and green rice fields to incredible smoky sunsets and abandoned hill stations, you won’t want to miss these rides.

Unfortunately a number of Cambodia’s roads are either heavily trafficked or heavily potholed. That said, if you’re willing to go the extra mile, there are three motorbike journeys in the country you should miss only at your own peril.

With the expansion of tourism, it’s easy (and cheap) to rent a motorbike in any of these locations. I’ve always been a lucky passenger on these trips, as I have yet to master the art of riding a bike myself. If you aren’t comfortable renting your own bike and going at it solo, drop me a line in the comments below and I can recommend someone in the area as a driver.

Now, it’s time to motorbike Cambodia!

Girl wearing backpack looks out at sunset in Mondulkiri

Motorbike Cambodia's Hidden Temples

Siem Reap Town to Beng Mealea, Siem Reap Province

Distance: ~140km roundtrip

This full day temple outing is worth the layer of dust you’ll end up covered in. You’ll be rewarded with solo adventuring at some of Angkor Wat’s most incredible outlying hidden temples. Leaving the tourist mania of Siem Reap town, you’ll soon be surrounded by the real charm of Siem Reap province. Pass by tiny roadside towns selling fresh fruit, admire the green rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see, and take in the country’s signature red dusty roads. 
 

Start your day of adventuring early in the morning to avoid the midday heat. First up on the temple tour is tiny Banteay Ampil, 35km east of Siem Reap town. When I visited in 2018, the only road access was a tiny dirt single track that was often too muddy/washed out to use in the rainy season. I know there were plans to build a larger road in this area so it may be a different journey to get there when you visit. Ask a local in the area before you rent a motorbike and head out here. 

Once you arrive, you should have tiny Banteay Ampil to yourself. This temple is located outside of the Angkor Wat complex and apart from a few boards propped haphazardly to hold up stray stones, the temple is beautifully unrestored. The trees entangling the crumbling stones are incredible. It’s easily my favourite temple in Cambodia for these reasons.

Banteay Ampil

Carry on from Banteay Ampil another 30km in the direction of Beng Mealea. You’ll past rice fields and school children biking the dirt roads to get to class. Beng Mealea is where your big exploration off the bike continues. If you avoid the big tour buses, you’ll usually only see a handful of other people at this temple and you can largely explore it in solitude. It can take around 2-3 hours if you allow yourself to get lost in Beng Mealea’s beautiful dark corridors. Watch out for snakes!

It used to cost just $5 to visit Beng Mealea, however as of 2020 the temple is now included in the regular Angkor Wat admission fee and you will need a full pass. Check out this site before you visit for the latest information on tickets.

Hop on your bike for the long road home, making sure to stop for a coconut and some mangosteens or rambutans at one of the roadside markets to keep your sugar levels up for your motorbike ride home. 

Renting a bike: Expect to pay $10 for a basic bike or more for a dirt bike rental in Siem Reap town. 

Lady walks along path in hidden temples of Siem Reap

Sunset Hills Motorbike Ride

Sen Monorom to Andong Sne, Mondulkiri Province

Distance: 40km roundtrip

Winding through Cambodia’s wild eastern province of Mondulkiri, the 20km road from capital Sen Monorom to Andong Sne is freshly paved, largely devoid of traffic, and, simply put, stunning. You’ll pass by pine forests and hills that turn golden as the sun sets. It’s nothing short of magical, but this road is also bittersweet.

It used to have far more forest coverage than it does today. In spite of the fact that the majority of Mondulkiri province is designated as protected area, illegal logging in the area is strikingly evident. It’s part of what makes this drive so powerful. It’s a reminder of the fragility of our planet and our responsibility to do better as humans. 

Take a pit stop at “Build Love” Hill for a sunset view, and then carry on back to Sen Monorom town for dinner. It’s not a long day on the bike, but it’s a beautiful sunset ride.

Mondulkiri road at sunset

For the more adventurous, add on a trip to Bousra Waterfall earlier in the day (80km roundtrip from Sen Monorom). This road was under construction when I visited and made for a bumpy ride. I would easily say it was still worth it to see the stunning waterfalls waiting there.

Renting a bike: You can rent a motorbike in town for around 5-7 USD per day.

Tales from the Banana Trail

Cambodia's Misty Mountain Motorbike Ride

Bokor Mountain, Kampot Province

Distance: 80-100km roundtrip

If you’re craving an escape from Cambodia’s heat, Bokor is your dream motorbike destination. Base yourself in the relaxed haven of Kampot town and rent a motorbike to head to Bokor Mountain for the day. Once you enter the park, a recently repaved road awaits and it makes for a lovely snaking drive up to the top of the mountain surrounded by trees on either side. Once you get above the clouds, you’ll see a large Buddha which makes for a good pit stop to stretch those driving legs. 

Man sits on rock overlooking hills and cloud on Bokor Mountain

Carrying onwards, you’ll pass swan paddle boats on the mountain’s lake, a seemingly out of place casino, and an old church. If you’re into ghost stories and time travel, stop at the old hill station for a quaint high tea experience in the often deserted old building. Alternatively, bring a picnic from one of the great restaurants in Kampot, and stop at Popokvil Waterfall to eat your lunch at the waterfall (which is at its most impressive during rainy season).

Head back down the winding road into Kampot town for a dinner at one of the town’s amazing restaurants.

Renting a bike: A full day costs $5-7 USD at any guesthouse in Kampot. 

Man sits on waterfall near Kampot, Cambodia

20 Incredible Things To Do In Kampot

Man sits on waterfall near Kampot, Cambodia

With its crumbling colonial buildings, mouth-watering food choices, and beautiful river guesthouses, Kampot is one of Cambodia’s more underrated gems. The city is often skipped in favour of visiting the white sand beaches and parties on Koh Rong, but Kampot is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere a bit more relaxed on your Cambodia itinerary.

** Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase we’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Just like the travel backpacks we build, we’re very particular about products and we only recommend products, services, or accommodation we trust and use ourselves.*** 

Girl watches boat at sunset in Kampot

How to get to Kampot

By bus: The bus from Phnom Penh to Kampot takes around 4 hours ($6-10), although the traffic and road conditions can sometimes add additional time to your journey. If you’re heading to the islands, you can catch a 2 hour bus from Kampot to Sihanoukville and then a ferry from there. 

It’s also possible to reach Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam via the border crossing at Ha Tien from Kampot.  The trip typically takes 6 hours and costs about $20. The trip can easily be arranged at most hotels, hostels or travel agents on Phu Quoc Island. 

By train: Cambodia’s passenger trains are running again! You can take the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville with Kampot as a stop along the way. It’s worth taking this slightly longer journey (4.5 hours) for the beautiful countryside views along the way and to avoid Phnom Penh’s crazy traffic. It costs $6. 

Best places to stay in Kampot

Best hostel in Kampot

Karma Traders

Boasting great live music nights, a rooftop cocktail bar, and social activities galore, this is the place to go in Kampot to get your socializing on. It’s located just 5 minutes or so out of town, so it’s pretty accessible to get to either by motorbike, bicycle or PassApp (Cambodia’s ride sharing service). Fair warning however, the dorm rooms can be a bit noisy as a result of the aforementioned live music, so you may want to consider a private if you’re looking for some shut eye.

Best quiet place to stay in Kampot

The Hidden Oasis Bungalows

There is a reason for this place’s great rating on online booking platforms. Located about 10 minutes out of town by motorbike ride, the 6 bungalows here are some of the cleanest and most thoughtfully decorated I’ve found in Cambodia. The owners and their two children are some of the sweetest people you’ll meet – they’re incredibly representative of the wonderful people you’ll find in Cambodia. It’s countryside location is a real attraction. 

Girl sits on bungalow at night in Kampot

Best boutique place to stay in Kampot

Rikitikitavi

It’s an incredibly fun name to say and a great place to stay! Rikitikitavi has a collection of adorable individually decorated rooms situated in a tastefully renovated rice barn and located in a prime location right on the river in Kampot.

Featuring a great restaurant, bar, and hotel the building dates back to 1920’s. What begin as a rice barn, was later used as theater, and a Vietnemese barracks, and the governer’s private residence before becoming a hotel in the mid 2000’s. 

Best riverside place to stay in Kampot

 Greenhouse or Eden Eco Village

If you want a real taste of Kampot life, head further out of town to Greenhouse or Eden Eco Village for stunning riverside accommodations. Both are eco friendly and have simple but thoughtful bungalow accommodations. Eden has bungalows in the treetops and directly on the water. Greenhouse boasts a pretty incredible restaurant. This is a one of a kind experience and for really affordable rates.  

When to visit Kampot

Kampot cools down nicely in the evenings even when you visit during Cambodia’s incredibly hot season starting from March. That said, the best months to visit are usually November-February. Avoid Cambodian holidays here if possible as a lot of restaurants close down. 

Top 20 things to do in Kampot

Take a Kampot pepper farm tour

Even if you aren’t a raving pepper fan, Kampot’s La Plantation will pleasantly surprise you. This incredible farm offers free English and French tours running throughout the day where you can see not only how pepper is grown, but also how everything from turmeric and passionfruit are grown. The best part? After your tour you’ll be led through a free sampling of the different types of pepper and ideas as to where you can use them in your own cooking – from chocolate ice cream to mashed potatoes.

Take a cooking course

One of the best ways to experience the culture of a new place is through their cuisine! Head to La Plantation (before or after your pepper farm tour) to learn how to cook a variety of wonderful Khmer dishes. It’s not the cheapest cooking course in Cambodia ($20), but it is a pretty unforgettable three hours.

Admire the Secret Lake and grab some food

 On the way to La Plantation is Kampot’s Secret Lake. Grab some food at rustic, family owned Khmer Roots Cafe and admire this beautiful lake view. There’s not much to do here, but it’s a pretty scenic place to take a rest from the bumpy motorbike ride to your pepper farm tour.

Quiet secret lake near Kampot

Motorbike the snaking road up Bokor Mountain

If you’re looking for a smooth road in Cambodia to motorbike, you’re largely out of luck – but Bokor is one of the blissful exceptions! This newly paved winding road that takes you up into the clouds of Kampot’s Bokor Mountain is a perfect place to enjoy smooth roads and cool temperatures. You can rent motorbikes in Kampot for around 5 USD per day and hit the road yourself, or if you aren’t as comfortable in the driver’s seat, you can also hire a motorbike driver to take you, which may cost you 20 USD for the full day. If you need a good driver, drop me a comment below and I can share one with you!

Don't forget travel insurance

Travel insurance is an absolute must on any international adventure! Check out World Nomads for comprehensive coverage that includes high adventure activities like motorbiking. Or get a quote below. 

Visit Popokvil waterfall

This waterfall is less impressive in dry season, but is still a very welcome sight after a long motorbike ride up Bokor mountain. It’s another popular place to have a picnic, so bring some snacks and really get into the Khmer picnic culture.

Man sits on waterfall near Kampot, Cambodia

Take a swan paddle boat ride

The Mountain Lake on top of Bokor offers a unique and kitsch opportunity to rent swan-shaped paddle boats to explore the waters. If you’re looking for something unique to do, or you happen to be traveling with kids, this may be for you. 

Treat yourself to high tea at a deserted hill station

 At the top of Bokor Mountain, this formerly abandoned hill station has been recently revived and turned into a restored colonial hotel. If you’d like to splurge, the $12 authentic high tea is quirky, kitsch and extremely filling. Furthermore, the hotel and restaurant were far from capacity at the time of my visit, adding a certain murder mystery feel to this not to be missed experience. 

High tea in Cambodia

Indulge in Cambodia’s best coffee

If you’re a caffeine fan, don’t pass up Kampot’s Cafe Espresso. They roast and serve the country’s rather famous Rumble Fish coffee beans at this location, and it’s really some of the best coffee I’ve had in the country. The food is also all local and seasonal. A great place to cool down and relax after motorbiking the day away. 

Bicycle to the salt fields 

One of the things I love most about Kampot is the quiet rural roads you can bicycle on. Head down the river or out to the vast salt fields in the area. 

Kayak the green cathedral

This spot in Cambodia has understandably earned its iconic name for its magical foliage arches covering narrow river channels. It’s a beautiful place to hit the waters for some peaceful kayaking. The hotels renting kayaks will give you a map for a loop that takes around 2 hours. I rented my kayak from Champa Lodge. Do watch out for snakes in the water though! 

Kayaking the green cathedral in Kampot

Shop ethically at Dorsu

As we become more cognizant of the impact our fashion choices have on creating waste, shopping ethically has never been more important. Dorsu is a trailblazer in this area – offering minimalistic and high quality pieces for affordable prices. It’s a perfect place to see their workshop and buy some souvenirs for yourself or loved ones back home. Their staff are also fantastic. 

Get flexible with a yoga class

There are plenty of yoga classes to choose from in Kampot. I would recommend social enterprise and vocational training center Banteay Srey to get your workout in while doing good for women in the community. 

Photo tour Kampot’s colonial buildings

Part of Kampot’s charm is its old colonial buildings. Wander around the city center to snap photos of its colourful heritage.
Kampot colonial buildings

Experience traditional Khmer healing practices

After your yoga at Banteay Srey Project, really reward yourself with one of their healing treatments. From reiki to a turmeric scrub to a traditional massage, really allow yourself to heal after being on the road!

Day trip to Kep National Park

Are you into outdoor activities? Take the one hour drive to the charming seaside town of Kep to access its national park. It takes about two hours to walk the main hiking trail in the park. It’s one of the few places in Cambodia that’s safe to walk independently, with unexploded remnants of war still active in parts of the country. There are plenty of birds and monkeys to see here (and hopefully no more snakes). After your hard day of hiking, you can head down to Kep’s Sailing Club for a beautiful sunset drink looking out on the water. 

Sunset dock at Kep Sailing Club

Eat for a cause

There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Kampot, but why not eat at one that also has a great social impact? Epic Arts Cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Kampot for this very reason. This social enterprise generates funds for their Inclusive Arts projects and the majority of their staff are deaf to promote an inclusive working environment. 

Relax with a cocktail in the evening

Kampot has no shortage of restaurants, or bars for that matter. For a breezy experience, head to the Rikitikitavi and get in on their happy hour deal. Alternatively visit, Voodoo boulevard to sample one of their delectable cocktails. 

Hop on a sunset boat ride

Kampot’s lazy evenings are best kicked off with a boat ride starting at sunset. Most tickets are very affordable at $5-7 USD and include a drink or two.

Sunset boat on river in Kampot

Stay in some of the most unique accommodation in Cambodia

From tree top bungalows to bungalows where you can dive straight from your hammock into the river, Kampot is a place to really have a unique sleeping experience, and for a good price at that. Eden Eco Village has become somewhat Insta-famous for this very reason.

Eat, eat, and eat some more in town

To cap off this list, we can’t begin to name all of our favourite restaurants in town. Somehow Kampot is truly a mecca for amazing food from vegan options to tapas to homemade dumplings. Check out TripAdvisor and get your decision hat on to choose from all of the highly rated restaurants in the area. 

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