Kep is a small seaside town, located on a group of jungle covered hills (Kep National Park), which fall gently down to the small sandy beach. Cambodian and Vietnamese islands are just offshore. It’s a half hour drive from Kampot…
If you want to be out dining & partying after 21.00 then this is NOT the place to come. If you want loads of western style bars & food, or if you prefer the robust infrastructure of a commercial tourist resort, then it is NOT the place to come. If you want crystal clear sea, 100s of meters of prestine sand, jet skis, parascending, banana rides, donuts & sunloungers, this is certainly NOT the place for you.
But if you don’t … take a visit to Kep; you might just like it!
Kep is full of charm & although tourism is growing, it still retains that amazing feel of local life in a fishing village.
The article below describes the town. Although written by The Telegraph in 2011, very little appears to have changed since then. Asia meets France by the seaside
Things to do
1. Cycle along the seafront from the pier to Rabbit Island, past the beach & then to the Crab Market.
2. Stop off at the beach for a paddle.
Try a fruit smoothie in one of the traditional food shacks or try one of the newer French coffee shops.
3. Crab Market
A visit to the crab market is a must! During the day, women wade out into the sea to constantly empty & then reset the crab pots. Along the dock you can watch them selling live crabs. Next to this, is the fish market selling cooked crab and BBQ’d Red Snapper, Bass, giant prawns & squid.
4. Dining out in the fish restaurants
If you fancy a sit down meal there are a string of restaurants & bars also selling local crab, fish & local Khmer dishes (a must if you’ve come here to try the Kep Crab in Kampot pepper).
5. Walk in the Kep National Park.
Just before you get to the roundabout at the start of the town (where the road forks off to the crab market) you will see a dirt track on left by the Veranda Resort. This dirt road is a service road which loops around the hill through the park. The service road makes for easy hiking & everything is signposted in terms of kms & approx walking time.
6. Visit Rabbit Island
Worth a visit for the chilled out atmosphere (lazy dogs, cats & chickens chill on the beach alongside visitors). You can also stay here in one of the straw huts/bungalows (if you enjoy going back to basics). The sea is clearer for swimming & worth a snorkel.
It cost $7 for a return ticket leaving at 9.30 from the pier ($25 per boat if there are more than 6 of you).
Places to stay
There are plenty of places to stay from budget to Eco Resorts. We stayed at Le Kep Bungalows which had only been open a month & has an amazing pool.
Rooms were $20 & Bungalows $35 per night. We stayed in both during our 5 night stay.
Frankly I’m glad that some people dislike Kep. They can keep to the party beaches in SihanoukVille & leave this town to people who enjoy a more authentic laid back place.