There's a lot of beauty to discover at Cambodia's south coast but it's a bit tricky to get away if you're not into traveling individually and you prefer to depend on public transportation and travel agencies. Just think of how exciting it would be to just go around places on your own without booking expensive bus tickets, letting tuk tuk drivers break your head our wasting money on time pressuring day tours. So if you really want to travel through Cambodia's south coast and discover the non-touristic areas depending all on yourself then the best way to get away is by motorbike. This will always be an unforgettable experience and it will definitely not be the last road trip you want to do. My friend and I weren't sure of how to go to the main spots in the south - Kampot, Bokor Hill Station, Kep and Sihanoukville - without spending too much money and time on transportation. So after two beers and three strong whiskey-cokes we started being silly and came up with the not-so-serious idea ("Schnaps"idee) to just travel on our own by motorbike for few days before seperating. The not-so-serious idea didn't leave our minds for days and it turned out to become really serious and an unforgettable travel experience full of good memories and hopefully a friendship that will last for a long time.
So the most important question is of course - Where do we get a good (it turned out to be not as good as in the beginning) and cheap motorbike for three days?
There are a lot of travelers who want to get rid of their motorbikes at the end of their journey after 1-2 months of driving through Asia but why spend 250$ and having hard time to find a buyer after the short road trip if there's a possibility to rent a motorbike? We started in Sihanoukville, the only city-like place in the southwest of Cambodia where we found a beautiful old Honda Phantom for 10 $ per day which was owned by a friendly Cambodia guy. After checking the bike (not properly enough though that it actually gave us real pain in the a** after two days) we got it. We packed all what we needed in one backpack and left the rest of our belongings in a locker. There are always hostels where you can rent a locker and leave your belongings there for the time you're out of town. So that's all you need for the road trip - a motorbike and a locker where you can leave your stuff. We left ours as the "Utopia hostel" for 0,50 $ a day (plus 5 $ deposit).
Check the fuel and check the weather before leaving and then you should just head to road NH 3 for about 120 km east. It's really not difficult to get to Kampot. Just make sure that you won't get lost on your way out of Sihanoukville. The complete way of NH 3 is newly paved so don't worry about any bumpy road trip experience. After leaving Sihanoukville and entering the high way there will be a border where vehicles must pay a fee. But for motorbikes it's free to get on the NH 3 just drive through the exit on the right for motorbikes and you can continue driving. With few stops on the way and an average speed of 80 km/h it will take you about 2,5 hours to get there. Be aware of cows suddenly crossing the road and school kids riding their bicycles. If you see more and more stalls by the road selling smelly durian fruits then you know you're getting closer to Kampot, the town of durians.
You notice that you're in the town's centre when you get to a roundabout with a huuuge durian sculpture. It's impossible to not notice that the Kampot people are really proud of their well-running "durian economy".
There are several cheap guest houses around town. The farther from the river you get the cheaper the accommodations are. Take your time to look around so you won't end up paying too much money for a crappy room.
- Welcome to Kampot, the town of durian.
Things to do in Kampot:
- eat durian of course (no matter if you like it or not, it's a must-to-do!)
- roam around the crowded town market and get some really cheap baguettes, hopias!! and fresh fruit
- have a (or two) beer by the river in the cool evening and watch the sun set
- have dinner at one of the nice riverside restaurants
- do a day trip to the Bokor Hill Station