Travel Report: Cruising The Kampot River, Cambodia.
December 2015. A sunset cruise down the magical Praek Tuek Chhu River is quite possibly the most popular thing to do in the Cambodian city of Kampot. The river’s name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue for us foreigners. As a result, you’ll find most people refer to it simply as The Kampot River. Whatever you call it, there’s no doubting what a beautiful stretch of water this is.
Kampot had already been very kind to us. Indeed my travel buddy Wonderboy and I had taken in the spectral sights of Bokor National Park. We’d also dispatched about as much coffee and cake as we could handle at the wondrous Kampot Pie & Ice Cream Palace. Finally then, we were ready to hang out on the river.
Wander down to Kampot’s picturesque promenade and you’ll find a glut of boat operators who certainly aren’t shy in letting you know about their services. With the passing of the years and some uncharacteristically poor note taking, I can’t remember which operator we went with in the end. In any case most companies do the same route. The differences usually come with the quality of the boat, the friendliness of the staff and maybe a complimentary beer.
Be sure to pick one of the longer cruises, as the further north you go the more gorgeous the views become, with a more dramatic sunset to boot.
A lot of the Kampot River tours are also referred to as Firefly Cruises as, if your luck happens to be in, the captain will be sure to pull up right alongside a batch of trees packed with the little glowing bugs.
We did get to see some fireflies that night. Although they were impossible to photograph for an amateur like me with a tatty old iPhone. Should have taken a video.
I’ve done a fair few river cruises over the years, but The Kampot River experience stands out as particularly idyllic. The colors really are amazing, as this photo hopefully attests. No, I didn’t use a filter! If you’re looking to do a cruise yourself, some of the more reputable guys include Captain Chim’s and Naga House. These are the basic cruises for around $5, maybe even with a complimentary beer thrown in.
If you want something truly special, get in touch with The Boatman, a Belgian dude called Bart who does three-hour trips. On these expeditions, you’ll get out to some remote parts of the river. Expect to pay somewhere between $40-70.
Like this? Take a look at more of my travel reports from Kampot.
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