Kep

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Kep is a seaside resort area in Cambodia and includes the small town of the same name which is the capital of Kep Province.

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Hotels

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  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Kep

  • Angkaul Beach (45 min to the east near the Vietnamese border). Angkaul Beach is was once the swimming beach for the Cambodian elite in the 1960s. The trip there might be long, but it is worth every minute. The 2 km long beach is clean with white sand and totally deserted except some fishermen. Now there are 6 deck chairs and parasols and a small shop selling cold drinks for the few tourists going there. The water is shallow but clean. Truly a paradise beach and a must-see.
  • Caves. Around Kep there are 3 major caves, some with small shrines inside. The biggest and most impressive is near Kompong Trach (30 km from Kep). It boasts beautiful limestone formations and a nearby swimming cave.
  • Colonial Villas. There are around 100 or more old French villas, mostly destroyed by the Kep locals, returning after the fall of the Khmer rouge regime (and not by the Khmer Rouge itself as most travel guides tend to make you believe) and some of them overgrown like Angkor Wat, quite a spooky feeling. Some of them have been restored, but most of them are in possession of rich military officials who are waiting to sell it at the highest price.
  • Kampot Pepper (at Phnom Voir mountain, about a 20 min drive from Kep). An absolute must is to visit the Pepper plantation. The pepper used to be the number one pepper in the world and all the good French restaurants had it. It is having a revival at the moment with some local NGO (Farmlink) helping promote and plant it again.
  • Kep Beach. A single, kilometre long crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula. Dining platforms and seafood vendors line the road behind the beach. Busy on weekends, but often deserted during the week. The road through Kep traces the coastline to the beach and then circles back on itself. Cars and vans must pay admission to drive the loop (2,500-5,000 riel). Motorcycles and pedestrians are free. The loop is one-way only and the police do occasionally enforce the law, levying fines against violators.
  • Kep Mountain. There is an easy trail going full circle around the hill above Kep in the national park. It's a wonderful piece of jungle, in which it is quite probable to see some monkeys and other animals. The trail is about 8 km long (a 2-3 hour walk) and has a lot of directional signs made by Christian from the Led Zep Cafe. If you don't want to walk, the path is big enough to ride a bicycle or a motorbike. There are even some small benches to enjoy the view and have a rest during the walk.
  • Rabbit Island (A 20 minute boat trip from Kep Beach (~USD8-10 return if part of a tour; alternatively, get to the boat pier before 09:00 and share a USD20 boat ride with other travellers). Bungalows on Rabbit Island are quaint and cheap (from USD5 a night). The island is generally pretty quiet and is a gem of coastal Cambodia. Development is slow, though there is now a massage shack directly on the beach.
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About Kep

Background

Kep was Cambodia's top seaside destination until eclipsed in the 1960s by Sihanoukville (and, soon after, decades of civil war). The town is full of ruined shells of old villas, destroyed in the Khmer Rouge days and during the subsequent Civil War.

Today's Kep has recently become established as a Khmer holiday spot and is slowly being rediscovered by travellers. An unfortunate attitude of "milk the foreigner" pervades the local businesses, unlike in nearby Kampot, which makes bargaining a necessity.

Activities

  • Lida Massage, National Road,  +855 12 953427. Great Massages (Thai, oil, or steam) for only USD7, located just next to the Kep Lodge.
  • Sailing Club (Next to the crab market). Rent catamarans, kayaks, and even a speedboat. They also have a restaurant with some special foods.
  • Swim. While Kep Beach doesn't have the world's nicest sand, it's still enjoyable to go for a swim in the calm, cool water, as lots of Cambodian kids do every day! There are wooden lounge chairs spread along the beach, occasionally with a Cambodian woman requesting USD1 to use them. Lots of cold drink vendors nearby and a decent place to watch the sunset too. Don't believe the gloom and doom that some guide books write about the beaches in Kep, they're actually quite nice. Also, going for a swim at night in the sea off Rabbit Island results in phosphorescent (bio luminescent) algae glowing all around you, which is an absolutely magical experience.

Food

Kep is famous for its crabs. The crab market (a 10 minute walk or USD1 tuk-tuk ride from Kep Beach) has line-caught crabs held in floating cages in the sea. Depending on the size of the crustaceans and your bargaining skills a kilogram of crabs should cost 10,000-20,000 riel. Vendors can steam your purchases in the boiling pots in the market or your hotel may also cook them for you. No visit to Kep is complete without having a least one meal of the fresh crabs, reputedly the best in Cambodia.

Several seafood restaurants line the seashore near crab market. They have terraces built over the sea to provide stunning sunset views of Phu Quoc and Bokor National Park while you enjoy crabs cooked with fresh Kampot peppercorns. If you head there early afternoon you can watch fisherman unload their catch of the day.

  • Breezes Lounge & Restaurant, National Road 33 (Halfway between Kep Beach & Ferry Pier),  +855 97 6759072. Set in a beautiful, quiet and green area, and is a good spot to unwind near the sea. Serves imaginative food with an emphasis on Asian (sea)food. Try the Khmer fish wrap, chilli & rum prawns or Asian beef stew. With comfortable chairs, a lounge bed, jazz music and a beautiful garden this place is not only about food and provides a pleasant upmarket alternative in Kep. Showers available for swimmers (guests only) and free pick-up and return service (with tuk-tuk) for dinner when called in advance.
  • Kep Lodge Restaurant and Bar. The comfortable bar is replete with pool table and offers a good selection of Khmer and Western dishes including Swiss specialties cheese fondue and raclette. Music and liveliness can be enjoyed until midnight. Happy hour (17:30-19:00) lubricates the sun's decent over the infinity pool. Mojiot and draft beer available.
  • Kep Thmey Seafood Restaurant (At the far end of the crab market), e-mail: vetsina@mfone.com.kh. 08:00-22:00. Like all the other restaurants near the crab market, Kep Thmey is noted for crab and shrimp in green pepper. USD3+.
  • Kimly Restaurant. Established and popular but possibly becoming complacent in success. Located towards the end of the row of seafood restaurants near the crab market. Shrimps or crabs with spicy sauce are cited as notable, though this applies to all the restaurants on the row.
  • Led Zep Cafe (Mountain trek road, just after Le Bout Du Monde). Its elevated position offers breeze and good views overlooking Kep and the ocean. The small menu offers burritos, pizzas, and pancakes. There's a range of detailed maps of Kep and its surroundings. The helpful French owner has been living in Kep for 5 years and provides interesting company. Mountain bikes are available for rent. A good place to relax with a cold beer or a cappuccino.
  • Veranda Restaurant & Bar, Kep Mountain Hillside,  +855 12 888619. 06:30-22:00. Main restaurant at the Veranda Natural Resort with a great ocean view and sunset, beside their popular bakery shop, the restaurant offering professional seafood dishes, as well as Western and Asian food.

Drinks

  • Baraka. A popular hang out for local expats, also a cosy place to enjoy an excellent sea side pizza and some great cocktails. They now boast an upstairs terrace overlooking the ocean. A truly stunning place for Kep's famous sunsets.
  • Kukuluku, National Rd,  +855 12 6078777. morning till late. Guesthouse on the sea shore also has a small bar with good music. The location is hard to beat, right on the sea, with some great sunset views for the honeymooners and all other romantic folks out there. Also have a restaurant, try the steak and the big selection of crepes. Recently hosted some live music sessions on the beach.
  •    Toucan - Restaurant Bar Tapas (In the middle of the Crab Market),  +855 97 85310 57, e-mail: soki_toucan@yahoo.com. 09:00-03:00. Great decor and a pool table. Stays open very late and attracts a nice mix of locals and tourists. Free Wi-Fi. Motorbikes for rent.

Shopping

There are money changers at the Crab Market that will exchange euros, dong, US dollars, and riel. If you're fresh in over the border, note that the riel is maintained at around 4,000 to the dollar. Anyone offering much off this is a crook. The market traders will have no problem in breaking large denomination dollar bills.

  • ATMs. There are none in Kep. Veranda Natural Resort and Kep Lodge offer cash advances on Visa and MasterCard cards but levy a service charge of 5%. The nearest ATM is at the Canadia Bank in Kampot (about 25 km away).
  • Kep Souvenir (At Ana's Travel & Restaurant near the beach, at the roundabout (during the rainy season it's at Kep Lodge)). 10:00-18:00. The Kep Souvenir stand offers you a wide range of local products like salt & pepper shakers, t-shirts, silk bags and postcards.
  • Kep Supermarket (Near the pier to Rabbit Island). 07:00-20:00. A limited selection of wine, spirits, beers, snacks, and some Western food. There is also a fridge and you can buy cheese, butter and cuts. They also cater milk and tea.
  • Lili Perles (Near the Crab Market),  +855 17 306550. daytime. Sells beads from all over the world for very reasonable prices. Lily and Stephane, the owners, have been doing this for years and their collection is huge and very tasteful. They also have a small school for free, teaching French to the local people.
  • Sun Supermarket. 08:00-20:00. The second supermarket in Kep with a great selection of Western food, drinks, and snacks. Further there are some postcards of Kep and a good selection of toys for the children.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kep on Wikivoyage.

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