Digital nomad’s guide to Kampot, Cambodia

Kampot city in southern Cambodia is a charming, sleepy town with a French influence visible in its architecture. Life here is unrushed, easy, and slow, making it the perfect base for your digital nomad lifestyle. In addition to offering a great location for getting your work done in peace, there are plenty of recreational opportunities ranging from swimming in the rivers to exploring the wildlife around the city. 

Popular among digital nomads because of its connectivity with other Cambodian cities and its growing expat community, Kampot is turning out to be a hub for those looking for an offbeat base in Southeast Asia. If you’re unable to decide if Kampot would be right for you, here are some reasons why we think it is definitely worth considering.

How to reach Kampot

One of the most popular ways to reach Kampot is by taking a bus, car or minivan from Phnom Penh. The bus from Phnom Penh to Kampot takes a little more than 3 hours, while the minivan ride can take up to 4 hours. 

Sihanoukville to Kampot is another route you can opt for. While the towns are not connected to each other by bus or train service, you can take a minivan for an affordable ride or even hire a minivan or a car. The journey takes 2.5 hours and since Sihanoukville is also the nearest airport to Kampot, this may be a convenient option if you’re getting here from another part of Cambodia.

©Michael Coghlan/Flickr

Siem Reap, the capital city of Cambodia, although quite far from Kampot, is also well-connected to this up and coming digital nomad hub. The bus journey between the two cities takes almost 15 hours, but a minivan ride will get you to your destination in just 8 hours.

Within Kampot, you can either hire a scooter locally for however long you plan to stay or hire a tuk-tuk on an as-needed basis. Be careful when negotiating prices with tuk-tuk drivers as they tend to quote high prices for tourists. If you do enjoy walking though, it is a pleasure to explore Kampot on foot. 

Connectivity 

For a small town like Kampot, it has a surprisingly large number of internet providers – a blessing for those of you considering Kampot as your next destination on your digital nomad journey.  Although most hotels and hostels have access to Wifi, do bear in mind that you may experience occasional disruptions in the internet connection.

©eric yeargan/Flickr

If you can patiently look past this minor glitch, it is absolutely possible to work out of this tiny Cambodian town. Additionally, Kampot also has several local telecom service providers who offer different types of prepaid and postpaid mobile and data packages. But if you need steady internet access for work, the most sensible thing would be to stick to the WiFi available at the hotels or hostel you are putting up at. 

Accommodation

Given that Kampot is slowly transforming into a desirable destination for digital nomads and remote workers, there are a lot of affordable places in Kampot that will allow you to live affordably. Many of these accommodations provide free parking, have in-house restaurants, 24 hour WiFi access, and sometimes even shared lounges to mingle with other residents.

Some of the guesthouses and hostels may also have shared kitchens where you can whip up meals at your own convenience while striking a conversation with another resident, probably from a different part of the world. 

Workspaces

Several coworking and shared office spaces and short-term office rental opportunities have cropped up in Kampot as the demand for these services has increased over the last few years. Frexi co-working space and Nomad Working Space are the two most popular spots for digital nomads.

©Michael Coghlan/Flickr

How much you end up paying entirely depends on how long you are hiring the space for and what the co-working space offers. These days, several local cafes also allow you to use their internet connection and work out of their premises if you purchase food or drinks in return.  

Cost of living

Living cost in Kampot is extremely affordable, especially if you compare it to expenses in bigger cities in Asia. The accommodations are not very expensive and the average rental for a self-catered, 2-bedroom furnished apartment is around US $300 a month. If you plan to stay on for long (more than 6 months) then you may even be able to strike a good deal and save some money.

©Chris Ellinger/Flickr

Local food and groceries are very affordable as well, so if you’re not eating or drinking out very often, it is possible to live comfortably in Kampot on a fairly low budget of US $800 a month.

Local community 

Kampot is slowly yet steadily turning into a great liveable town for digital nomads and expats. You are bound to meet people here who initially came with plans of living for a few days but have stayed on for much longer. It’s a Cambodian city which is popular but not necessarily for tourism. A lot of expats based in Kampot work for various local NGOs which has fueled the birth of good restaurants with a variety of foods, both local and international, and some really cool cafes serving up some good coffee.

©UNDP Climate/Flickr

The local community is fairly tight-knit and thus Kampot has a unique homely vibe rarely found in bigger towns. The charm of the town is such that some of those who move here temporarily, end up retiring and staying back forever. 

Ease of entry

With the ongoing pandemic, you might be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival to the country. Before you make travel plans, consult with the airlines you’re flying and the Embassy for country-specific Covid-19 protocols that are to be followed. 

©dcgreer/Flickr

Cambodia has recently launched a single entry E class visa for a nominal cost of US $35, which is perfect for those of you looking to stay in the country for less than 30 days. Once this visa expires, you will be able to apply for an extension to allow you to stay in Cambodia for another 6 to 12 months. 

Kampot’s small-town appeal is often what draws in nomads itching for an adventure. Often dismissed by tourists, Kampot offers plenty of opportunities for a long-term stay. If you are a digital nomad on the hunt for your next stop, give Kampot a shot and we promise you’ll have a wholesome living experience complete with the best kind of work-life balance!

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