As I may have mentioned before, we are spoiled by weekend getaways living in Cambodia. With the sea and the mountains only two or three hours away, who could resist? So a gaggle of us girls (including one of my favourite photogs) gathered our bikinis together, as well as 10 bottles of wine for a weekend free of responsibility, full of amazing live music (it can be sparse over here), great food and paddleboarding to while away all of our work related stresses. It was fabulous. I highly encourage repeat doses.
So on Friday night, we piled into a van waiting to whisk us off 150km away to Kampot, the little river town that continues to ooze more charm every year. Having nursed some nice wine on the way down, we dropped off our luggage and the bestest canine travel companion at the equally charming Dutch-owned Village Vedici. We immediately got down to business and headed over the river to see visiting Toronto band, The Digs play with favourite Phnom Penh soul singer, Rhiannon Johnson. And oh my gosh, they were amazing. Playing on a rickety deck at Bodhi Villa, this band was oh so tight. There was a heck ton of dancing with some of the best people we know in Phnom Penh. A smidge of paranoia about jumping on said rickety wooden deck floor while the Digs’ cover of Satisfaction was flooding the soundwaves. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the week.
Our Saturday was as blissful as Friday night was boisterous in fun. Lounging around the Villa Vedici pool set perfectly in front of the Bokor Mountains, nursing sore muscles from a night of dancing. Mango shakes. A tuk tuk ride into town set us in front of the next place that would complete our weekend: Café Espresso. I can’t divulge too much because we’re intending to feature them in a future post, but holy cow, dare I say best brunch in Cambodia? Phnom Penh restos have a lot to learn from Angus, his wife and their beautiful baby Matilda. All I can say is that we are still dreaming about that meal we had there. And I’m insanely happy to have brought home some super aromatic, buttery, heart fluttering single source Thai Arabica beans that they serve there.
That meal, the espressos, the Kampot Salted Caramel milkshake prepared us for the next part of our weekend of bliss. We headed a couple of kilmeters down the Kampot river to SUPAsia. That’s stand-up paddleboarding for all of you waiting to be converted. Colorado-native Anne has been running SUPAsia in Cambodia for the past two years, offering paddleboarding tours not only in Kampot, but down big chunks of the Mekong to boot. We did a happy 2.5 hour little tour through the little canals of the Kampot river, through the Green Cathedral and into the sun setting over the mountains with Anne as our guide. And as the resident paddle boarder in our group, I was the only one to have fallen in. In any case, I loved this so much, I’m already planning to go back next month.
Our blissfully packed Saturday ended with yet another tight as Rocky’s buns performance by the Digs and Rhiannon right at our doorsteps at Villa Vedici. The day couldn’t have ended better. More ecstatic dancing ensued. I may have gotten tired of drinking wine as we concluded our eighth bottle of the weekend. Bodies were very sore the next morning.
We eschewed plans of jogging and cycling back to Café Espresso (what were we thinking?), and hopped into a tuk tuk for the last time we would have the best brunch in Cambodia (pancakes to die for). Well at least not until next month when we return.
And with one more dip into Hans’ pool at Villa Vedici, farewells to people we’d see the next day at the gym, we headed back to Phnom Penh, committed to making a monthly return to the dosage of calm that Kampot has to offer. If you’re in Cambodia, I highly recommend. If you’re not in Cambodia, you should move here now.
Kampot is approximately 2.5-3 hours, 150km from Phnom Penh. Buses are available through Giant Ibis from Phnom Penh. For more flexibility, taxis and minibuses can also be hired for 85 USD and 170 USD round trip.
Rooms at Villa Vedici range from 30-45 USD and face the river. Bungalows to accommodate larger groups can also be rented.
If you’re in Toronto, I highly recommend stopping by the Drake on Thursday nights to catch the Digs live!
Rhiannon Johnson and her band can be caught singing the best soul and jazz in Phnom Penh at the Doors among other locations. Keep updated on her schedule!
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.