Kampot Province, Cambodia

Set on the banks of a wide lazy river, it's surprising that Kampot isn't more popular than it is. The city was Cambodia's main sea port in pre-colonial times, and the French also used it, giving the city a mix of Chinese, French and Khmer flavors. But the sea and river were not deep enough for modern cargo ships, the town lost trade and started to fade into a forgotten backwater, especially when the Khmer Rouge came to power in the 1970s.

Fortunately for the modern traveler, it didn't completely tumble down, and now those old colonial go-downs and Chinese shop-houses are being restored and turned into quaint guest houses, hotels and restaurants. While there are a few outstanding sights in the area, especially Bokor Mountain, there is not really a lot to do in Kampot. It's more a place to slow down and take a breather, without the hassles of a more developed destination.

Where to stay: Kampot has no international standard hotels. For that matter, there's only one real hotel in the whole town. However, there are several nice guesthouses along the river-front, some of which could give a 'boutique' hotel a run for its money.

Where to eat: All of the guesthouses have their own restaurants, which tend to be rather good. There are a number of other options along the riverside, so it's quite conductive to simply taking an evening stroll and just stopping where-ever looks good. There are also a couple of places around town that are good for an afternoon cuppa and snack.

What to do: As already discussed, Kampot is not the place for people who have to be on the move every minute of the day. Aside from the visit to the old Bokor hill station, you may want to make a visit to the pepper plantations where the world famous Kampot pepper is produced. You will also want to simply take a walk around town taking in the amazing wealth of architectural relics the city has to offer.