DAYS OF GLORY
ONCE HOLIDAY GETAWAYS FOR THE PHNOM PENH ELITE, CAMBODIA’S SOUTHERN BEACH TOWNS OF KAMPOT AND KEP ARE SLOWLY RECLAIMING THEIR LUSTRE
Cambodia’s beach towns of Kampot and Kep are reclaiming their lustre
柬埔寨南部海濱城市貢布及白馬市，昔日是國內精英階層的度假勝地，沉寂多年後，兩地逐回漸 復昔日光采 THE HISTORY OF
Cambodia’s southern coastline, like that of much of the country, is littered with stories of boom and bust. Prior to the civil war (1967-75), the fishing town of Kampot, sitting in the shadow of Bokor Mountain, was known for its bountiful hauls of seafood. Today, the industry is more subdued, with squid boats heading out to sea at night, recognisable by their green lanterns that draw the curious cephalopods to the surface by replicating the soft glow of the moon. While it’s a fairly well-populated town, the atmosphere is still sleepy and forgotten.
But Kampot, as well as nearby Kep, a coastal beach town, are increasingly reliant on adventurous travellers and Phnom Penh expats in search of the quiet life. With the growing visitors, the towns – about three hours from the capital by car – have welcomed new businesses into the historic buildings constructed by French and Chinese traders.
‘ The kingdom has kilometres of beautiful coastline, but the Kep and Kampot region is the most inspiring,’ says Belgian native Jef Moons, who has lovingly restored three distinctive 1960s properties that are part of luxury boutique resort Knai
Bang Chatt. Those former homes once belonged to a Kep governor, a head of the customs department and a relative of the king. ‘In the 1950s, Kep was the place King Sihanouk had his holiday retreat, and where the Phnom Penh jetset and French elite spent their weekends. Meanwhile, Kampot has the beautiful river and Bokor Mountain, as well as the Old Town area with plenty of new bars and restaurants.’
Those places include Rikitikitavi, a former rice barn converted into a riverside guesthouse and terrace restaurant with magnificent river views. Close by is tapas eatery Baraca where you can enjoy patatas bravas, mini paninis with brie and ‘holy squid’, a sumptuous bowl of fresh squid from the docks flavoured with cilantro and holy basil. Coffee addicts swear by the flat white at Australianowned Cafe Espresso, not to mention
南岸曾經歷盡滄桑，多舛的命途與國運大抵相。同 在陷入1967至1975年間內前的 戰 ，背靠波哥山的布貢 盛產海鮮，當地人亦以漁業為生。時至今日，漁業式微，只餘深夜出海捕撈魷的魚 小艇繼續作業，它們亮著綠光的燈籠，模仿柔和的月色，誘捕探頭張望的魷魚。市內雖然人口稠密，但卻沉寂得恍如與世絕隔。
然而，布貢 與毗鄰的濱海 城鎮白馬市益日 倚重旅遊業，有人前來尋幽探秘，也有居於金邊的外籍人士到此避靜。兩地距離首都約三小時車程，隨著遊客日增，外來商舖陸續進駐，為昔日中、法商人興建的史歷 建築帶來一番新氣象。
來自比利時的Jef Moons表示：「柬埔寨優美的海岸線延綿數公里，尤以白市馬 與貢布的沿海風光最旖旎迷人。」他悉心修復棟三 建於1960年代、分別屬於白馬市市長、海關關長和王親貴冑的目矚 府第，改建成豪華度假村Knai Bang Chatt。他續道：「1950年代，柬埔寨國王西哈努克，以及當地和法的國 名流，均視白市馬 為周末度假
the smashed avocado toast and poached egg breakfast, while those seeking a romantic setting for dinner head to The
Fish Market, which sits in a restored 1930s art deco building and serves a menu of locally sourced seafood (try the steamed red snapper), often adorned with local pepper.
Indeed, for many, Kampot is most strongly associated with its pepper. Found in its famous fried crab dish, it benefits from the area’s soil, climate, proximity to the ocean and strong sun. ‘Chinese from Hainan island began developing pepper plantations in the region of Kampot the 13th century,’ says Nathalie Chaboche, coowner along with her husband, Guy Porré, of La Plantation, a five-year- old organic pepper farm occupying a picturesque 20 hectares just outside of Kampot. Pepper cultivation continued throughout the French protectorate era, when the flavourpacked Kampot peppers became the spice of choice in top Parisian kitchens. ‘Kampot peppers are special, as they develop a relatively sweet, pungent taste, fruity aromas and keep flavour long in the mouth,’ says Chaboche.
Today, the couple are at the vanguard of revitalising this once prominent industry, which produces the only pepper in the world to have been given protected geographical indication status by the European Union – meaning you can’t legally call something Kampot pepper unless it was grown here. They help to spread the word by offering free guided tours of their plantation, where you can see the intriguing process from planting to harvesting. Visitors can have a tasting, go on a buffalo cart ride right into the lake, then enjoy lunch at one of the on-site
THE KINGDOM HAS KILOMETRES OF BEAUTIFUL COASTLINE, BUT THE KEP AND KAMPOT REGION IS THE MOST INSPIRING
當中的河畔旅館露餐連 天 廳Rikitikitavi由穀倉改建而成，可飽覽迷人的河岸景致；毗鄰的西班牙小食酒吧Baraca則主打香辣炸馬鈴薯、填滿芝士的迷你意式烘烤三文治，以及海上直送魷鮮 魚鍋，只以芫荽和聖羅勒調味。咖啡迷肯定在澳洲人開設的Cafe Espresso流連忘返，其濃郁細滑的flat white白咖啡不但能夠撫慰味蕾，配以牛油果蓉多士水蛋伴 煮 早餐更是一絕。至追於 求浪漫餐晚 的饕客不妨前往The Fish Market。餐坐廳 落於1930年代的舊建築中，經修復後保留原有的裝飾藝術風格，並以本地漁獲入饌，就連調味的胡椒亦自地產當 ，清紅更其 蒸 鯛 是一試難忘。
的而且確，不少人對貢布的印象皆離不開椒胡，就連當地馳名的炒蟹亦洋溢胡椒的辛香。風光如畫的La Plantation有機胡椒農場位貢於 布市郊，佔地20公頃，至今已開業五年與。 丈夫Guy Porré合力經的營 Nathalie Chaboche表示：「自13世紀，起 海南島的中國人已開始在貢布種植胡。椒 」隨後於法國殖民時期，由於當地壤土 及氣候俱佳，並臨近海洋，陽光充沛，種種有利條件令胡椒種植從未斷間 ，香味濃郁的貢布胡椒遂成為巴黎人的調味首選。Chaboche解釋：「貢布胡椒辛辣中帶甘甜，還有果香，餘韻無窮。」
Chaboche夫正婦帶著地椒領 當 胡 產業重振聲威，現來在 自貢布的胡椒，更成為了全球唯一獲歐盟原產地名稱保護制度認可的作物；言，換 之 除非是貢布的出產，否則其他產品在法律上一概不可稱為「貢布胡椒」。為進一步推貢廣布胡，椒 他們會舉行免費導賞團，參觀者可一睹從種植以至收割的各個步，驟 還可以試食，並乘坐水牛車橫渡湖泊，前往內園的其中一家餐廳午膳。這裡設有多家餐廳分， 別位於數幢傳統高棉房內屋 ，全都經他們倆悉保心 育。
遊客除了可乘坐電單車或篤篤從貢布前馬往白 市外，也可選乘Crab Shuttle觀光船，順道欣賞湖光山色。
一幢幢以獨特的現代主義風格興建的新高棉建築雖然已見破舊，卻是1950及60年代白馬光市 輝歲月的存照。這種建築是當時柬埔寨著名建築師Vann Molyvann所發起設計運動的產物，茂從密的叢林探望，可見同類建築在市內比比皆是，印證當年的輝煌歷史。
至於Veranda Natural Resort度假村則是較新穎地的 標。這裡設有24座由木材與存建石 搭 的平房，並由高架行人步道連接，度假村的餐廳和泳池四周草木蒼翠，綠意盈盈。此外靠海的， 近 濱 酒廊The Waterfront Beach Club & Lounge Bar則獨以 特的印支風格演繹法國南部聖特羅佩的格調，為客人奉上混入金邊冧酒Samai的雞尾酒和其他精選佳釀。
東主Sam Andurand表示：「我希望創造反映本地特色、型格而舒適的獨特空間，並能跟周遭的自然環相境 得益彰。每當我看到客因人 路過的牛群、映入眼簾漁的 船，變或 幻無窮的夕陽而流露的表情，都會由衷感到喜悅。」
他的努力創新贏得不同客人的欣賞，各地旅客、金邊的外籍人士，以至一日遊的貢布居民都是客他的 人，：他道 「地本居民和其他東主到來放鬆身，心 享受一刻悠閒時光，都是我樂的見 景象！」
restaurants, housed in several traditional Khmer homes that the couple have saved and restored.
Visitors can get from Kampot to Kep via scooter or tuk-tuk, but the Crab Shuttle offers a scenic boat journey.
The remains of Kep’s 1950s and ‘60s heyday are an assemblage of ruined modernist homes built in the distinctive style known as New Khmer, a design movement led by prominent Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. They can be seen all over town peeking through the jungle, a reminder of a glamorous past.
Newer developments include Veranda
Natural Resort, which brings the charm with its two dozen bungalows constructed of wood and stone, connected by elevated walkways. Sitting amid lush vegetation, the complex includes a restaurant and a pool. Meanwhile, seaside beachfront lounge
The Waterfront Beach Club & Lounge Bar
evokes a distinctly Indochine take on St. Tropez, with a superb drinks menu that includes cocktails using Phnom Penh-made rum Samai.
‘I wanted to create a unique space that was authentic, relaxing and cool,’ says Waterfront owner Sam Andurand. ‘I hope the attraction is the combination of what I have created to complement the natural space within which it sits. I love seeing the response of my customers when a small herd of cows wander past, or when the fishing boats go by, or watching the sunset shift in shape and colour.’
His efforts in creating something unique attract a broad range of guests, from tourists to Phnom Penh expats to day-trippers from Kampot. ‘Local residents and other business owners come here to relax, which I love.’
Bokor Mountain looms tall over the towns, and the construction happening on it represents the eagerness to develop the area. Construction vehicles slowly traverse the newly paved road up the hill, where workers are busily renovating century-old French buildings and adding many more modern landmarks as part of an ambitious US$1 billion development project by the Cambodian Sokimex Group.
The 36-room Le Bokor Palace hotel, perched right on the edge of the plateau and with stunning ocean views, is once again welcoming guests for the first time in 40 years. The Cambodian coast’s glory days might have passed, but it seems a new era is on the horizon.
I LOVE SEEING THE RESPONSE OF MY CUSTOMERS WHEN A SMALL HERD OF COWS WANDER PAST, OR WHEN THE FISHING BOATS GO BY
坐擁36間客房的Le Bokor Palace酒店，正正坐落於高山平原的邊陲，可飽覽迷人的海洋，在睽違40年後首度重開。縱使柬埔寨海岸的黃金歲月也許不再，新時代的後浪卻蠢蠢欲動，為當地送上更光輝的未來。
Top retreats Knai Bang Chatt is filled with luxurious yet rustic touches (right); the refurbished Le Bokor Palace hotel (far right) 高山住宿 Knai Bang Chatt度假村處處可見豪華中帶質樸的裝飾（右圖）；經過翻新的Le Bokor Palace酒店（最右圖）