Day 11: Kampot, Cambodia - Accidently Shaving my Head, Coconuts on the River, and Black Pepper Plantations

Kampot is a small riverside town known for it's spices and black pepper plantations in Cambodia.  It's also on the way from Sihanoukville to Phnom Phen.  I have a rule of not sitting on a bus for more than 3 hours if there is somewhere to see along the way.

Waking up with the sun I walked down to the river and had my morning coconut.  With a full head of hair and a coconut in hand, I decided it would be a good idea to get a trim.  I was wrong.

Riverside coconut in Kampot, Cambodia .50 cents
Thinking back, I've actually gotten more haircuts these past 4 years from people who didn't speak English than did, so the language barrier wasn't the issue, especially since Cambodians actually speak way better English than my previous barbers in Thailand, Honduras, Guatemala and Borneo just to name a few.

It could have been because it was 7:30am, or maybe I wasn't clear enough and just assumed he would keep my hair style the same and just trim it as every other barber in the world would do, but either way, a few seconds later, I see the clippers go straight through the top of my head.

The Kampot Hair Killer

As it was happening, I couldn't help by laugh.  I didn't even mention anything until after he was done. I paid him the $2 and said, 'Thank you, but I only wanted a trim, not to be bald.'

He apologized and briefly feared for his life thinking I would become furious, but I was too surprised and entertained to be mad.  I walked down to the river and took a moment to reflect on what just happened.  It really wasn't that big of a deal as my hair will grow back in a month anyways and I'm actually kind of liking the new style, it just came unexpected.  Shaving a guy's head without him knowing in advance is like a guy trying to surprise a girl with anal sex.  It's usually a better idea to ask first so they can be prepared.

So what's it look like?  I'm sure you want a photo so here we go:

Surprise special haircut.
So what else is there to do in Kampot?

I walked by a local gym and went in just for laughs.  I wasn't planning on working out that morning but for 1,500 Cambodian Riel which is about 40 cents I decided why not?

The gym was a strange mix of Cambodian high school girls doing exercises that won't make them sweat, a professional ping pong team and one other person actually doing something that remotely resembled a normal exercise routine.

Kampot Pepper Farms:

I had no idea that White Pepper and Black Pepper came from the same berry, or that pepper came from berries in the first place.  It was fun to walk through a local pepper farm and see how spices are grown, dried and processed.

Pepper berries being dried with the help of a butterfly.
Doesn't this remind you of a scene from Blow?
After an extensive pepper tasting, this was my favorite. Sweet and flavorful.

The finest black, white and red pepper corns in the world.

Hanging out Riverside:

Kampot has a ton of nature, I would recommend bringing a good book, lounging around riverside in a hammock and spending your days riding a bicycle or going on a trek though the mountains.  Aside from that the town is really small and there isn't much to do.

All younger travelers stay around the riverside as opposed to in town.  I would stay at Bodhi Villa or Olly's Place, but expect extremely basic bamboo bungalows often without locking doors. 

Lounging in a hammock riverside.
Good coffee, a fresh coconut, beef salad, and pumpkin and sweet potato soup.

Kampot and Kep are good places to stop by on your way from Sihanoukville through Phomen Phen but aren't destinations and don't have any must sees.  If you're coming to Cambodia I would spend the majority of your time in Siem Rep and Koh Rong and have every where else just be in a stopover.  

Happy travels,


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  1. Where did ya stay in Siem Reap? Any other recommendations there my man?

    1. I stayed at the Siem Reap Hostel in a private room. You can read all about it on Day 1-4 starting here:

  2. I enjoyed your post. I am looking forward to our interview on Wednesday. I liked your story about the haircut.


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