We ended up in Kampot after I had a hipster traveler existential crisis. Feeling like we weren’t going anywhere truly “off the beaten path,” I opted to cut our time short in Koh Rong Samloem by a day to spend a night in the relative backwater (at least, compared to Siem Reap and Bangkok) of Kampot, in southern Cambodia.
Happy Pizza is a common menu item in Cambodia. If you don’t know, Google it. Hint, it uses an ingredient recently made legal for recreational consumption in my home state. In my previous times in the country, I had never partaken – not because of lack of interest, but rather because other drugs interested me more (cough – Angkor Beer and cigarettes – cough). But having been recently married to somewhat of a marijuana connoisseur (only since it was legalized, I promise), we thought it apropos to really experience specialties of the local cuisine. And there was no better place to do so than in the relaxed energy of Cambodia’s southern coast.
We happened upon Happy Kampot pizza near the center of town, on a road perpendicular to the main riverside drag, right along the town’s main covered market (see map at the end of the post). Walking further inland, there is also a branch of Ecstatic Pizza, who also operates stores in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Scoffing at the McDonald’s of Cambodian happy pizza joints, we opted for the smaller enterprise of Happy Kampot Pizza.
The pizza itself was…well…unremarkable. But I don’t suppose we were looking for authentic Neapolitan thin crust, so flavor was secondary. We had a plain cheese pizza, but if you’re looking for a better taste, maybe choose a pizza with toppings to mask the taste of the active ingredient.
<<Now, a disclaimer: Despite what you are about to read about our night in Kampot, we had an absolutely lovely stay at the Kampot Cabana. In Kampot, we chose more basic accommodations than in other parts of our trip. For the price we paid, the Kampot Cabana was a fantastic deal.>>
We arrived back at our bungalow at about dusk, just in time for the karaoke barge upstream to get going. I had read reviews of our guesthouse online that complained of the cacophonous Khmer karaoke boat located just upriver, but didn’t think better before booking. As it was, the middle aged Khmer patrons upstream only served to enhance our “experience” on the Kampot riverside. The only thing missing were 2000’s era WinAmp visualizations for the Khmer traditional tunes. 30-something stoner joke, check.
David and I giggled into the night – I wrote postcards while he found snacks. And though the beds were perhaps the most uncomfortable, the mosquitoes the most aggressive, and the noise the most intrusive of the whole trip, I count our night in Kampot (elegant dinner included) to be one of my most memorable in recent history.
David and I shared a large cheese pizza (happy style) from Happy Kampot Pizza. It was ten dollars total and came with a free draught Cambodia beer (one for each of us!). We stayed at the Kampot Cabana, located about 5 minutes by moto out of town, sitting on a slough alongside the Kampot River. Our cabana was $11, and the motos they arranged for us were $6 per day for an automatic transmission.