Stand Up Paddleboarding through the mangroves of Kampot on an extra ordinary Cambodian Boxing Day!

So there it was, Christmas Day done and dusted, our first abroad and one which left us with a whirling mixture of emotions as we lay our head down to sleep knowing our family and friends were still up celebrating. A day on the golden sands of the remote island of Koh Tonsay and insured that this was a Christmas Day unlike no other, but how to follow that up? Usually at home Boxing Day as us Brits call it is almost like a second go at Christmas Day, only with added frantic shopping in the morning, an extra splash of football related arguments and even more relatives added to the mix! So even here in wonderful Kampot we knew we had to up the game! Now for something a little more adventurous: Speeding down the orange mud tracks of tiny Cambodian Villages before doing some Stand up Paddleboarding Kampot to explore the mangroves of the Kampot River… one of the best Kampot things to do!

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Boxing day in Kampot: So many options!

What to do on boxing day in Kampot, there are so many Kampot things to do!! Well, for such a small and laid back town the list of options is endless, we could go climbing, we could head up the mountain, check out the nearby beaches, head over to the salt flats and the famous pepper farms, or even the slides and “blobs” of the river and the secret Lake! In fact we already knew we didn’t have enough time here and that one day we will return. With a long bus journey over to Vietnam and a tiring motorbike trek looming we decided to compromise on a mixture of relaxation and adventure and head to Checkpoint for one of our favourite sports: Stand Up Paddleboarding!

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A bike ride through the wonderful little villages of Cambodia

One of the things I really enjoyed about our day out wasn’t even just the SUP itself, but the ride out here and up the river. We love to explore the villages of Cambodia and it felt like Kampot like no other town in Cambodia allowed the best access to some of the most wonderful examples. We rented out a scooter for only $5 and heading down the bright orange dirt tracks and into the unknown, following the tidal Kampot River along its salty path and in doing so passing through some remote and rather traditional farming villages.

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Often taking your own transport really helps you to engage with an area in so much more detail, stopping off to say hello to intrigued locals and taking in the strange and fascinating sights in front of you such as the stilt houses and cows grazing in front yards! One of the most rewarding detours came when we happened upon a small temple by the river, we watched on as young monks practiced their English. As they left their classroom and headed over to their tiny stilted house they giggled as they said hello and gave their new found skills a go! Hiring a scooter and exploring this region for yourselves is another top of the list of Kampot things to do!

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An afternoon spent messing about on the river: The perfect way to have a relaxing boxing day! Stand up Paddleboarding Kampot! 

After a short but wonderful ride through farmlands, villages and down the riverside we eventually found ourselves at Checkpoint, a tiny compound by the river made up of a series of traditional bungalows converted for use as rooms and a bar. Even if you just fancy chilling out here or just swimming it has to be another that tops our list of Kampot things to do!

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Set amongst wooden “floating” houses on the river that are home to many of the areas fishermen this is a paradise in the midst of real life. Local children play in the river and their mothers wash their clothes and their fathers fish nearby, the wooden balcony over the tidal waterway offers a beautifully secluded place to lay back in the comforting warmth of the Cambodian rays.

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Instead though we opted to go Stand up Paddleboarding Kampot and explore the mangroves, islands and canals of the river this way. SUP is a relatively new sport and one we have taken to with relative ease, in fact, for most people once you get onto your feet you should be fine…although we can’t promise you won’t fall in! Using one of the larger inflatable paddle boards also makes it easier! 

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Though this time we actually did manage to spend the whole time on the boards, sure, there were a few wobbles here and there but it became a competition to see who could make it all the way back remaining dry! Along the way we saw some really stunning sights however, distracting enough to almost make us go overboard, including half sunken boats, beautiful wildlife and local children shouting over at us…I’m pretty sure they wanted us to fall in!!

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The funniest moment came as we returned back to the dock, proud of the fact we managed to stay on the boards the entire time Shorty was first to get back in. Now with a crowd of fellow backpackers taking a dip in the water and watching on he embarked on disembarking, only, the board seemed to get away from him as soon as he reached for the dock…a slow and hilarious plunge ensued with Shorty seemingly powerless to halt its inevitable progression! I was more careful with this in mind with the image of Shorty stretched out and shouting “Noooo” fresh in my mind! HA! Stand up Paddleboarding Kampot is so much fun!

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Afterwards we leapt from the plank jutting out over the river from the bar and cooled off in the temperate waters of the Kampot river, the perfect end to another amazing day in this perfect town doing some amazing Stand up Paddleboarding Kampot!

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Check out the last time we did SUP: Stand Up Paddleboarding in Blackpool!

Kampot things to do: Heading over to the salt fields to finish off this amazing day

Kampot amongst other things is famous for its pepper production and salt making. Here being so close to the sea they have engineered it to work perfectly for them, making paddies that fill up with the tide and then dry out to reveal this white gold. Visiting this off the beaten track area of the region is one of the top Kampot things to do!

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There are many areas around here to take in these stunning salt flats but as advised by the guys over at Blue Buddha we headed down to Fish Island and drove all the way to the end of the island. Seeing such traditional ways of living and working was so fascinating and eye opening.

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Kampot things to do: Have you ever been Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

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Stand Up Paddleboarding through the mangroves of Kampot on an extra ordinary Cambodian Boxing Day:

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.
  • I’m sure you were filled with mixed emotions! I know I’d be if I spent the holidays away from my family. But what a fun adventure! This looks like a lot of fun, however, I’m not sure how good my balance is…

    • Yeah it was a good way to distract ourselves from missing home over the christmas period. I was such a nice spot too for it. Its actually a lot easier than you might imagine as the boards are so big!

  • Melody Pittman

    How fun! I have never been stand up paddle boarding because I think it would be incredibly hard. Good for you! 🙂

    • Its actually not all that hard as the board is so big, but falling in is fun anyway! ha ha