Kampot - Riverfront - Sunset


Kampot - Riverfront - Sunset



I have provided information about Kampot here.

I have also provided information on how much it would cost 2 GRANDPAckers to visit Kampot to investigate their retirement options here.

On this page, I will focus on Kampot as a Retirement Location.


Kampot is a bit of an enigma.

Yes, it still lacks the sophistication that you find in, say, Langkawi or Penang. And, yes, this is still Cambodia – so corruption and nepotism are rife. It’s not ‘what you know’, it is ‘who you know’.

Yet, Kampot has a more subtle feel to it than, say, the ‘frontier town’ feel of somewhere like Siem Reap. And, it is more of a place to live than visit; sometimes, you have to ask yourself why do tourists come here?

  • To smoke pot? No, not necessarily, you can do that all over Cambodia
  • For the beaches? No, it has none
  • For the fun parks? No, it has none
  • For sex tourism? No, it isn’t what Kampot is all about
  • For the shopping? No again…

Kampot is all about the small town feel, the cafe culture, that ‘touch’ of french colonial heritage, the laid back lifestyle, the river setting, and (most of all) the people.

You don’t get ‘sexpats’ in Kampot like you do elsewhere in Cambodia (and Thailand). As a result, Kampot feels decent. Albeit, perhaps, a bit ‘too quiet’ for some people.


Foreigners cannot own land in Cambodia – they can only lease it. This means that you should look to rent.


A western-quality three bedroom part-furnished house with garden about 5km from town centre will cost you under US$300 / month fully inclusive (i.e. internet, electric, cable tv, water, etc).

Here are 2 examples of what I found in the local Realtor shop window.

Experience tells me that, once you are actually living in a place, you develop contacts and the better value for money places start opening up to you.

There appears to be a lot of road development going on from Kampot Town to the coast.

At the moment, this is all dirt road with poor local, riverside, Cambodian village-type housing.

No doubt, as the road gets developed, there will be new housing available (some of which should be to ‘western standards’).


I met one expat who was renting a near new, furnished Studio Apartment 400m from the Old Market for US$200 / month fully inclusive (i.e. internet, electric, cable tv, water, etc).

The style of housing available around the Old Market tends to be the french colonial terraced housing.

These tend to be long and thin and have an open frontage downstairs with a backroom. Upstairs you have your bedrooms.

Rumour has it that you can get a 15-20 year lease on a ‘run down’ one for as little as US$10,000 and that it will only cost you US$20,000 to do it up to a western standard 2 bedroom house. Alas, I have heard of unscrupulous landlords selling out from underneath expats who have made such investments – leaving the expats with nothing.

But Kampot is growing and many are being renovated; some of which are becoming available for rental.


You can easily find a Double Room with fan, Cable TV, and hot water shower in a reasonable Hostel or Guesthouse within walking distance of the Old Market area for US$10-15 / night.

For US$20 a night, you can get something VERY comfortable.

I would go around town and find the nicest room that I could find being quoted at US$20 / night.

Once found, I would get out US$300 in cash put it in front of the owner and say ‘US$300 / month’.

Confronted with this option, many owners would take it. Then, you can stay there for a couple of months until you find the right long term rental apartment that you are looking for.


Sometimes you need to couple where you want to stay with a Transport option in order to make it work…

If you manage to get GRANDPAcking accommodation in or around the centre, then you will be able to get by on foot and by renting (or buying) a couple of bicycles.

You should be able to long-term-rent a bicycle for peanuts – target NO MORE THAN US$0.50c / day. Buying could prove the better option.

As a rule of thumb, Motos are half the price of a Tuk Tuk but a Tuk Tuk can take both of you.

I saw one place advertising 110cc Scooters for US$699 and 150cc Scooters for US$1,199. To drive a Scooter legally, you will need a Cambodian driving license.


Kampot has a hippy, pot-smoking undercurrent. It is there in the background of many of the bars that you walk into.

But, it is subtle. You don’t need to be part of it if you don’t want to.

It doesn’t really effect you or what you want to do and where you want to go. It is what it is.


IT IS STRONGLY SUGGESTED that you come and spend a few months in Cambodia BEFORE making any commitments.

Modern infrastructures are still being built, and you will need to adapt to a different culture and the ways that things get done.

For example, you still get regular power cuts in Cambodia.

However, like Siem Reap, Kampot benefits hugely from the growing tourism industry.

You have a good selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. The place is reasonably tidy, it has much less crime than places like Sihanoukville, and the ‘seedy side’ of Cambodia is under control.

I think that Kampot will improve as a Retirement Option year-on-year as the place matures.


THE GRANDPAcking ACID TESTCan a retired couple with no assets live easily, comfortably, and happily here with their only source of income being a standard NZ Married Couple’s State Pension? YES.

If you were to retire full time on Kampot, a realistic budget would be:


As a Retirement Location, Kampot benefits from the constant churn of tourists. As such, there are plenty of facilities to service these tourists and, therefore, you.

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