From the balcony at Les Manguiers, with views of the river, it was near five o’clock when a fleet of fishing boats glided down the river; finished with their work they heading back into town.
People call Kampot a sleepy town. The quiet atmosphere and relaxed ambiance quickly brings your mind to stillness. Stone benches are scattered along the riverside in hopes that a passerby will seize the moment to rest and enjoy the view. The architecture in downtown reminds me of French Colonial era with the pastel pigmented buildings, white stone railings and windows identical and evenly spaced out along the upper floors.
It would be easy to overlook the town because of its quiet persona but do not be deceived, it is full of life right under the surface. The cafes welcome you in with a cup of coffee under the shade of the patio and and keep you with the jazz- like music that blends into the background. When Sarah and I arrived at Les Manguiers it felt like we entered into a version of Swiss Family Robinson with three notable differences: 1) we were in Cambodia 2) we arrived by choice and 3) we did not have to forage for our food. Set along side the river, upstream from the city center, it was remote and peaceful with bicycles to take us into town and kayaks to explore the waterways. It was just short* of magical, a natural gem that gave me respite from the bustling city of Phnom Penh. If you find yourself in Cambodia, may I suggest Kampot.
*I let the realist in me speak for a moment