Kep

Kep is another small, quiet town in the southern coast of Cambodia. Less than an hour from Kampot, it shares a number of attractions with the riverside town. The Kampot/Kep area offers jungle trekking to the Bokor National Park/Bokor Hill Station, guided river and countryside tours, caves, ruins, island and fishing trips, as well as tours to the pepper plantations and durian farms near both towns.

Up until the late 1960s, Kep was Cambodia’s top seaside resort town. There had been a lot of seaside villas for the rich Khmers as well as for foreign guests in Kep. For those who wanted cold mountain air, though, they went to the hotel in the Bokor Station Hill in Kampot.

At present, however, Kep’s villas—like the buildings in Bokor—lie in ruins. What used to be the premier beach town is now more known for its crab shacks and delicious seafood. Restaurant owners take pride in the freshness of their catch. One very popular dish is the Kampot Pepper Crab—it is fresh crab that is either fried or steamed, with a generous amount of green and black Kampot pepper.

It is also possible to go beachcombing in Kep. From the small town, Rabbit Island is just around 20-40 minutes away by boat. The island is undeveloped and there are no structures aside from some basic bungalows and beach restaurant shacks. The white sand beaches are secluded and the water is clear. One can snorkel, swim, or just laze around.

For those who like to be more active, there are trekking and biking opportunities in Kep. The trail is a dirt service road around Kep Mountain—an 8-km loop—and it is easy enough even for those who are not used to mountain climbing. This can be arranged with tour operators, either in Kep or Kampot. Sights along the trail include old pagodas, monkeys and other animals, and wonderful views. The town of Kampot, the Elephant Mountains, as well as the beaches can also be seen in the distance.

When planning to go to Kep, enough cash should be brought, as there are no banking services. The nearest banks are in Kampot. There is internet connection though, and even Wifi, in the growing number of guesthouses and hotels in this small, seaside town.

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