Kep, being the smallest province of Cambodia, is a rising destination recently for foreigners. Kep Cambodia is not only a small lovely coastal town but it also brings an exquisite feeling of calmness and tranquility for visitors once they come here.
How to get to Kep Cambodia
Kep city is Southern of Cambodia, it borders Kampot to the North, West and East; and it is the neighborhood of the Gulf of Thailand in the South. The city is of close proximity to Kampot, which is a more popular tourism spot than Kep. From Kampot, it takes roughly 30 to 45 minutes to drive, so the city is often visited by people in one-day trip.
This town wraps inside a long history of Cambodia because it used to be the resort town of the French and Cambodian high-flyers until the late 1970s. Nowadays, Kep is actually most preferred by local people. However, it starts to welcome more and more foreigners coming for a few days in order to unwind their body and mind. If you depart from Phnom Penh, the total traveling time is 3 – 4 hours per way, by road.
>> Suggested Cambodia itinerary from Phnom Penh to Kep: Grand Cambodia 16 Days
Things to do in Kep Cambodia
If you have an opportunity to make your way to Kep, make sure that you will not miss these 5 things to do in Kep:
Relaxing on the beach
If you are an ocean lover but looking for a quiet place to indulge yourself into the water, Kep is the place you are seeking. The beach area in Kep cannot be comparable to Sihanoukville. Although it is a much smaller beach area, it is difficult to get crowded unless during the weekend. On a sunny day, dipping in the blue crystal water and lying on the white sandy beach will make you feel like staying in paradise. In here, you can also find places to sign up for the kayaking and stand-up paddle.
One of the best times, to many people, that Kep beach is the most charming and romantic is when the sun goes down. There are more and more bars and restaurants on the beach-side being opened, serving cold drinks and fresh seafood nowadays.
>> Suggested beach escape tour: Relaxing Cambodia 11 Days
Experiencing seafood market and stack
This is the second most interesting activity in Kep. There is a variety of seafood, but its crab will definitely make you to be mouthwatering. In Kep, the local people even erect a giant statue of a crab following by the line “Welcome to Kep” to indicate their pride in this traditional dish. You can walk to a Crab market in Kep to buy some fresh kilos of crab that have been caught freshly from the ocean every hour.
Seafood food is cooked and served in plenty of ways. But if you come here, you will easily catch a sight of people making barbeque seafood. Kep people have a very simple way of making barbecue in which squids and shrimps are put on the wooden sticks over the charcoal oven. Many restaurants next to the beach can be found here, it is surely better than far-away restaurants.
>> Suggested Kep tour to enjoy barbeque seafood: Southern Cambodia 5 Days
Exploring the antique French villas
A long period of Kep in history was attached to the existence of a seaside resort town. During the years of the 1950s and 1960s, the Khmer people built mansions on this land but they soon became abandoned after that due to the war. Nowadays, some of the colonial houses are renovated, on the other hand, many houses are left in emptiness. Some of the houses were skillfully as well as artistically designed, which will make photogenic pictures of you.
Trekking in the Kep National Park
Kep National Park is relatively small and it just takes a quick drive from the town center. Many pieces of insects and animals such as lizards, monkey, butterflies are co-existing in this natural reserve. Interestingly, this is one of the places in Cambodia that you can do hiking without a tour guide. Local authorities, together with the founder of a café named Led Zep, have paved the way for tourism in this national park. In particular, they have created a network of trails wrapping around the mountain which is suitable for a motorbike ride. In order to reach the peak, you can do some easy hiking and after getting to the top, a panorama view of Kep will be open up.
Visiting a local pepper farm
Actually this pepper farm belongs to the neighboring town of Kep where famous kind of pepper is grown. The farms exactly lie around the area of Phnom Voar Mountain; you can search for some families’ farm to visit. I did a visit to the Sothy’s Pepper Farm and it was so fascinating. There, you can learn more about how pepper is grown, processed; and have the opportunity to taste some local products made from the pepper. Of course, they also sell pepper to visitors.
To fully explore Kep, you should spend here at least 2 full days in your schedule of Cambodia tours. If you are on a tight schedule, it is advisable that you contact a travel agency who can organize a day trip from Kampot for you.
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Despite being a small town, Kep is loaded with lovely things that will certainly steal everybody’s hearts. Especially for those who are aiming to reach new and tranquil lands, Kep Cambodia is on the bucket list.
Minh Vu – Travel Specialist