Anyone living in Kampot right now will know that rainy season has well and truly arrived! Unfortunately when you think of a visit to Kampot it’s generally all about the great outdoors — a stroll along the riverside, a trip up Bokor Mountain or a relaxing sunset cruise — so, when it’s raining, what else is there to do to occupy your time? Here are a few things to do in Kampot when it’s wet, wet wet:
Go to the Magic Sponge
As a one-stop rainy-day shop, there’s always something different happening at the Magic Sponge with daily happy hour specials thrown in — $0.50 draft beer every day from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and double shots with a mixer for the price of a single (from almost anything behind the bar) every day from 5 p.m to 8 p.m.
Books and games: There is a selection of books in the bar to either buy or swap if you fancy a quiet afternoon of rainy day reading. If you’re up for more of a challenge, there’s also a good selection of board games such as trivial pursuit and scrabble to choose from.
Free beer (almost): “Monday night Madness” means you get one free draft beer for every $1 you spend on food from 6 to 9 p.m.! With an extensive menu serving both Western and Asian food, including some yummy desserts, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are also a couple of really good pool tables if you fancy a game afterwards.
Live music: Wednesday is Open Mic and Jam night so a good chance to show off your musical talents or sit back and listen to some live music. Don’t worry if you are without your trusted musical instrument, they have a good selection to choose from. Music from talented duo PotShots starts at 8 p.m., then it’s open mic at 9 p.m. and the jam session at 10 p.m.
Quiz night: Hosted each week by “quizmaster extraordinaire” Bob, the quiz consists of five rounds — three general knowledge rounds, a picture round and a music round. It’s free to enter and the winning team gets a tower of beer! There’s always a good mix of expats and visitors with teams being limited to five members only. The quiz starts promptly at 7 p.m. so arrive early if you want a good table and something to eat beforehand.
Movie afternoons: When it’s movie afternoon time, a movie (or two) will be shown in the bar with the added bonus of free popcorn. Movies range from good old classics to latest releases.There aren’t any set days and times for movie afternoons as they are generally quite spontaneous.with details being posted on the Kampot Noticeboard on Facebook. However, if you want to know more, you can just pop round to the Magic Sponge and ask William!
Sports Sunday: Whatever big game, match, fight or race you want to watch, whether it’s on early or late, you should be able to catch it at the Magic Sponge.
Watch a movie at Ecran Movie House – no longer in business
Like the idea of renting an on-demand movie of your choice and watching it in a private, air conditioned room? Then head along to Ecran Movie House. The cost is $3.50 per person, per movie (min 2 pax), however, this is discounted to $2.75 on Sundays. Eating and drinking is permitted in the rooms, so take advantage of their “movie room delivery” and order some delicious hand-pulled noodles, dumplings or Peking duck and an ice-cold beer from Ecran Noodles.
Alternatively, if you are happy to mingle with others you can go along to one of the public screenings every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30 p.m. The movies shown vary greatly in genre, year, and language but regularly include latest releases. They also show Cambodia related movies and documentaries such as The Killing Fields and The Missing Picture every Monday and Saturday at 4 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Public screening movies are shown on a 4m screen at a cost of $2.50 per person.
Chill out at Ellie’s Cafe
With a spacious indoor and covered outdoor seating area, super-friendly staff, free wifi and a great menu, which includes some delicious all-day breakfast options, a weekly specials board and gorgeous smoothies (I personally recommend the breakfast wrap and frozen blueberry smoothie!), Ellie’s is a perfect choice to pass away the hours on a wet, rainy day. Take a book to read (or swap your book with one from their collection), play a game of scrabble, do a bit of shopping from their modest collection of clothing and beauty items in the back room or take your laptop and catch up on some emails.
Play Poker at the River Lodge
Every Monday and Friday night at 8 p.m. you can try your hand at a game of Texas Hold’Em poker at the River Lodge. Fresh blood at the table always welcome.
Take in the sights (and smells) of the Kampot market
Kampot has a great market with pretty much everything you need under one roof — household goods, clothes, meat and fish (some of which is still alive!), fruit and veg, jewelry etc, etc. It’s a great place to watch both locals and expats doing their daily shopping with very little English being spoken. It’s certainly not a tourist market, nor is it for the squeamish, but for a great cultural experience it’s worth a visit.
Visit the Kampot Museum
Yes, Kampot has its very own museum! For those who would like to learn a bit more about the region of Kampot and its history, a visit to this small, yet informative museum is well worth an hour or so of your time. Housed in the old Governor’s building, which has been completely restored, the museum occupies the ground floor with exhibits including photos and archaeological pieces. Plus, with an entrance fee of only $2, it won’t break the bank.
Backgammon at The Kampot Pond
If you’re a backgammon enthusiast or keen learner, pop along to The Kampot Pond every Thursday for a game. There’s no set time — it’s “Backgammon Thursday” — but you can generally turn up from about 2 p.m. Most people get there between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. until whatever time they’ve decided enough is enough!
Spoil yourself with a spa day
Banteay Srey Women’s Spa is a non-profit social enterprise of the Banteay Srey Project, a women’s vocational training center that provides a safe place for vulnerable Cambodian women to gain paid employment and training opportunities. As such it is a women’s only spa, however men are permitted to attend the morning yoga session (see below). With an extensive spa menu, including massages, body scrubs, facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing, as well as a food and drinks menu from the Deva Café to keep you re-fueled, including vegetarian and vegan tapas, desserts, smoothies and juices, it’s easy to spend a whole day being pampered and truly spoiling yourself! If that wasn’t enough, there is a covered riverside deck to sit, relax, eat lunch, sip a well-deserved glass of wine or even take a much needed nap.
Take a yoga class
If you are in need of a yoga fix, a couple of places offer yoga classes:
Upstairs at Simple Things, there is Hatha yoga every day (except Wednesday) at 9 a.m., active vinyasa flow yoga classes on Saturday at 5 p.m. and relaxation yoga on Sunday at 5 p.m. Cost per class is $5 or you can buy a pass — $22 for 5 classes or $40 for 10 classes. They provide the mats so just turn up for the class. If you’re feeling peckish afterwards, Simple Things offers a variety of vegetarian food and smoothies in their downstairs restaurant.
Banteay Srey Women’s Spa (see above) offers a variety of yoga classes on the upstairs deck overlooking the river. With the exception of Tuesdays, they have active yoga every morning at 9.30 a.m. (men are welcome) and relaxation yoga at 5 p.m. (women only). Cost per class is $5 or you can buy a pass — $40 for 10 classes or $50 for a one month pass.
Magic Sponge Guesthouse
Guesthouse Street, off the Saltworkers Roundabout, Kampot
T: 017 946 428
Ecran Cinema Movie House
Open daily, 10.30 a.m. with the last movie being shown at 7.30 p.m.
Old Market Street (round the corner from Rusty Keyhole), Kampot
Open daily (except Tuesdays), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
42/44 Street 726, Kampot
T: 096 309 2300
The River Lodge
Dragon Street (across the new bridge and turn left), Kampot
T: 033 633 3567
Psar Samaki (Kampot Market)
Open daily, dawn until dusk
Street 714 and 729, Kampot
Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Riverside Road (near Mea Culpa), Kampot
The Kampot Pond
Pond Street, Kampot
T: 096 746 5158
Banteay Srey Women’s Spa
Open daily (except Wednesday) 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Old Market Street, 54, Kampot (next to Nola Bar)
T: 087 932 422
Looking for more? View the Kampot city guide for tips on where to stay, what to eat, and things to see and do.