We were paddling down the Mekong in Eastern Cambodia, over 250 kilometers from the nearest major city. The water on which we rode had originated in China’s Tibetan Plateau, and would eventually empty into the ocean below Vietnam after meandering through six countries. With the exception of a few fisherman and small stilted house villages, there wasn’t much out here. The air was quiet save for the sounds of dolphins surfacing for breath around the kayaks. This was the Southeast Asia we had been expecting.
The laidback riverside town of Kampot in southern Cambodia is the perfect place to unwind after a long trip in Asia. It has international influences which add to the charm, while still maintaining its authentic culture. This affordable area and surroundings have plenty of things to do and a diverse selection of restaurants. We found Kampot to be one of the best places in Cambodia, and the type of town you won’t want to leave.
Imagine what you would think if a group of people, sharing no common culture, language or appearance, showed up in your neighborhood and started pointing at your house and photographing your children. Maybe they are arriving at your home in London, Melbourne, or Dallas and this is a bus full of Chinese, Iranians … or Cambodians. How would you react? How would they be greeted by the residents? It sounds weird when you think about it, but many of us do exactly that when we travel. The truth is that most people greet us with open arms and a genuine smile, and hopefully we would offer that same welcome if roles were reversed. There are few countries where this level of warmth and hospitality is more apparent than in Cambodia.