Early mornings and late afternoons a handful of colourful fishing boats puff through Kampot, on their way to or from the ocean. The river, Kampong Bye River, runs from Teuk Chou Rapids via Kampot town to the Gulf of Thailand, about 15 kilometers in length.
The setting is stunning with the Elephant Mountain Range in the background, mangroves upriver and small villages dotted around. The best time of day to cruise the river is late afternoon, when temperatures drop and birds become more active.
The sun sets behind the Elephant Mountains, at times turning the river a shade of red, purple or fuchsia.
Boat trips are popular, and there are a couple of different options to choose from:
Various boats leave from just outside Rikitikitavi at 4:00pm. Despite being called ‘sunset cruises’ these no frills boat trips are usually back just before sunset. Expect to pay around US$5 per person for the 1.5 hour trip.
Sunset River Tours have just started a new boat trip, that leaves Kampot at 5pm. The cost for the 2 hour trip is US$6 per person.
Belgian Bart takes you along to his favourite place on earth, and shows you beautiful nature and when possible birdlife.
See the fishing boats depart, go for a swim and watch the sunset.
Bart only offers private trips for US$40 for 1 or 2 people; US$50 for 3 people; US$60 for 4 people or US$70 for 5 people (3 hours, max. 5 people).
Bona, Bory’s brother, is a fisherman and he loves taking people along and show them how to fish like a local. The hire of the boat costs US$10 per hour (minimum of two hours). Bona does not speak English.
Experience nature’s own light show by watching fireflies buzz around.
Evening time boat trips are on offer between US$20 and US$35 for a private boat. A daily 2 hour boat trip now also leaves at 6:30pm, the cost is US$8 per person. Fireflies are not around all year – unfortunately their cycle seems unpredictable.
To have the best chance of a beautiful experience, we recommend booking as late as possible.
Brand new Kampot Firefly River Tours offer moonlight and firefly cruises each night at 7:30pm and at 9:30pm. The tours last about 90 minutes and cost US$6 per person.
It is possible to hire a private boat, which sets you back US$20 for 3 hours. No English spoken.
There is no need to sit back and relax – if you feel like a bit of exercise, you could hire a canoe or a paddle board up-river. Paddle through the mangroves, have a swim or find some of the hidden river beaches.
* We organise all tours and transport for our in-house guests without charging commission.
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