Kampot: A sleepy, strange, but surprisingly lovely town

Kampot, Cambodia rests along the Praek Tuek Chhu river in the southeast corner of the country.  While I was there, nights out consisted of quiet dinners and drinks in quiet restaurants.  Days consisted of sight-seeing at the bizarre-but-lovely Bokor National Park, and a very quick trip to Kep.  Bokor National Park is one of the weirdest tourist attractions I’ve ever seen.  At more than 1,000 meters above sea level, it is a former hill station where elite French expats came to escape the heat of Phnom Penh.  It was developed in the 1920s, but has long since been abandoned and now is nothing more than a dilapidated hotel, palace, and church.  However, a Chinese hotel conglomerate purchased most of the hill in 2007 and is currently building a massive complex of hotels, casinos, villas, golf courses, and waterparks.  There are also a few temples, shrines, and a giant statue of Yeay Mao (see photo and caption below for more info).  The views from the top of the hill, when not obstructed by clouds, are magnificent and well worth the drive up.

I also enjoyed some exceptionally good food in Kampot and wish I had taken more pictures of it.  It was a great place to relax (and I REALLY needed to relax after being on the beach for days!), take afternoon siestas to escape the heat, go for a stroll along the river, and eat.  Absolutely nothing notable happened Kampot, so this one is going to be a short-but-sweet photo story.  Enjoy!
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Kampot’s riverside

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Boys on the bridge

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Sunset cruise on the river

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This boy

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Along the road to Bokor National Park

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Along the road to Bokor National Park

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Statue of Yeay Mao, a mythical heroine believed to be the protector of travelers, hunters, and fishermen. It is believed that her warrior husband disappeared and she fearlessly went searching for him in the jungle, or she patiently sat vigil by the sea. Either way, people say that she was searching/waiting for him because she wanted sex, and therefore people leave bananas as offerings for her. Sounds a little suspect if you ask me. Some people mistake her for a Buddha with boobs.

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Bananas, cash, and other offerings for Yeay Mao

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Offerings for Yeay Mao

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Offerings for Yeay Mao: Yep, a full roasted pig

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People praying to Yeay Mao: Do you think they’re praying for safe travels or for sex?

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On Bokor Hill

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On Bokor Hill

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A temple/shrine on Bokor Hill

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On Bokor Hill, above the clouds

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A temple/shrine on Bokor Hill

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A temple/shrine on Bokor Hill

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A temple/shrine on Bokor Hill

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A temple/shrine on Bokor Hill

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The old Church at Bokor

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Inside the old Church at Bokor

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Creepy messages inside the old Church at Bokor Hill

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In the old hotel

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View from the old hotel

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Back in Kampot

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Noodle-making

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Fresh, hand-pulled noodle soup! Sooooooooo good!

An afternoon in Kep:
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Scooter-riding to Kep

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A woman cooking up some Kep crab, a local specialty

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Kep

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Kep food market: Fish skewers, anyone?

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Kep food market: Dried shrimp

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Kampot peppercorn, a major export of Cambodia

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Kep

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Kep

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Kep

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Kep

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