Kep is the smallest province in Cambodia, yet it has a lot to offer. it is a province that is located next to the Gulf of Thailand, which makes it consist of a beautiful beach. The province is an important visitor attraction that consists of many natural sites. In addition, Kep also has its own fascinating history as well. During the 1950s and 1960s, Kep was a popular site for the Cambodian Royal family, Cambodian elite, and foreigners. When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia from 1975 to 1970, Kep was abandoned and turned into a ghost town. There are a lot of abandoned mansions in Kep right now, that remained from the past. Nowadays, Kep has come back to its life and became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cambodia.
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Kep is one of the four coastal provinces in Cambodia. its province (pronounced Kaep) is located in the South of Cambodia, bordering to Kampot province, and fronting the Gulf of Thailand. it will take only 20 kilometers from the town of Kampot. Kep is the smallest and the populous province of Cambodia, covering 336 square kilometers with a population of only 41,789. The provincial capital of Kep province is Kep Municipality.
Environment / Vibe
Kep province is the smallest province with the least populous, therefore Kep is a calm, sleepy, and peaceful province, which is an ideal place for getting away from the city crowd. The town is so peaceful during the weekdays, yet it gets a little crowded during holidays and weekends. There are some foothills from the Elephant Mountains in Kep, plus the uncrowded beach, which make Kep an ideal destination for people who want a peaceful getaway.
Weather / Climate
Cambodia is a tropical country, so it is warm and humid all year round. The weather in Cambodia is divided into two seasons, which are dry season (November to April) and the rainy season (May to October). The coolest months are December and January, and during these two months there is not any rain, so these two months are ideal for traveling, especially by boat.
I cannot argue over the fact that Cambodian people are so friendly and social. You will often find locals sharing whatever snacks they are having when they are sitting next to you on the bus. They smile a lot even to strangers,. Cambodian people might be shy when they first see a foreigner, but believe me they want to make friends.
Because Kep is rapidly becoming a Khmer holiday spot, currently there are a lot of hotels and guesthouses there, ranging from 5USD to 500USD.
Samanea Beach Resort & Spa
If you want a luxurious hotel to stay in during your holiday at Kep, we recommend you to choose Samanea Beach Resort & Spa. The hotel is along the seashore of Kep, consisting of 12 private villas. You can enjoy the private white sand beach while sipping your cocktail. And the hotel can help you to organize your trip at kep as well.
Location : Kep road (33A), Kep province, Cambodia
Price : ~ 170USD
Mobile : +855 (0) 882 400 600
Email : [email protected]
Website : samanea-resort.com
Botanica Guest House
Botanica Guest House is a budget hotel with the price starting from 16USD. There are only 8 rooms in this guesthouse, so it is a great place to get away. It also has an outdoor swimming pool within a lush garden.
Location: Kep road (33A), Kep province, Cambodia
Price: start from 14USD
Mobile : +855 (0) 978 998 614
Places to eat
“When in Kep, we eat crab”, this is a phrase that I just came up with. Kep is so famous for its crab as well as other seafood. There is a market in Kep that is known as “Crab Market”.I highly recommend you to eat at Kep Crab Market (Phsar Kdam). Crabs, squids, shrimps, fishes are freshly caught. You can even get a cooked version of freshly caught seafood from some vendors as well. Grilled squid with Koh Kong fish sauce is my favorite, and it is so affordable as well.
If you want to sit down and enjoy your food instead of food hunting at the market, there are a wide selection of restaurants thereby the market for you. A lot of seafood restaurants are along the seashore near the Kep Crab Market. Most of the shops have terraces built over the sea which provide a great sea view. And if you do not like seafood, don’t worry, there are some restaurants offering western food as well such as pizza, pasta, fried chicken, etc.
Kep beach is the only beach in Kep province. Development in the area does not affect the beauty of Kep beach, yet the beach is getting better than ever. The beach is a little crowded during weekends and holidays, but it is not fully packed. You can find some vendors selling a variety of food along the beach. There is a white lady statue located at the eastern end of the Kep beach. The statue is known as Sela Cham P’dey. The statue is nude and Cambodian people always cover up her body with clothes and bags, but the wind often blows them away. So everytime you visit Kep, I am sure you will always see the statue in different types of clothes.
The Kep Crab market / Phsar Kdam
You know what it is when you first hear the name “Kep Crab Market”. Kep Crab Market or Phsar Kdam is so popular among tourists and locals. The most famous thing here, of course, is crab. At the Kep Crab Market, you will often see locals pull crab traps out of the ocean and then sell the crabs right away on the wooden boardwalk. There are a lot more to offer at Phsar Kdam, including squid, fish, shrimp, and other varieties of freshly caught seafood. Moreover, you can find a lot of vendors selling cute little souvenirs such as handmade bracelets, seashell, etc.
Kep National Park
Another famous tourist attraction in Kep province, it is Kep National Park. Kep National Park is situated near the Kep town. Kep National Park is not well developed yet, which makes it a great place for adventurers. The park is covered with jungle, which is also a home to an array of exotic birds, insects, and other animals as well. The circle trail is about 8 km long. If you do not want to walk, you can ride a bicycle or a motorbike. So what are you waiting for? Head up to the hills, enjoy hiking, and nature. Please make sure that you leave the park before the sun sets, because there is no light in the park during nighttime.
Rabbit Island / Koh Tonsay
There are quite a number of islands located near Kep provinces, however, Koh Tonsay (also known as Rabbit Island) is the most well known one. Koh Tonsay is about 4.5 kilometers southwest of Kep, approximately 20 to 30 minutes boat ride from Kep. Koh Tonsay is famous for its white sand beach, and shallow crystal clear sea, which is proper for swimming. Compared to Koh Rong, or Koh Rong Samloem in Sihanoukville, Koh Tonsay is much quieter and tranquil. There are several homestays, guesthouses and restaurants there, so you can spend a night there without worrying about meals and accomodation.
Abandoned mansions of Kep, Cambodia
Until these days, there are many mansions in Kep remaining abandoned. Those mansions were built with a unique blend of European architectural design and traditional Khmer architecture style. During the Khmer Rouge Regime, these mansions were abandoned. You can spot bullet pockmarks on the exterior of some mansions along the Kep coast, as some of the mansions were used as outposts for the Khmer Rouge army. You can visit some of the mansions and take some photos there, I am sure that it would turn out pretty aesthetic.
Many people overlook Kep as it is a small town, and assume that Kep has nothing to offer. However, as you can see above that Kep is a very interesting destination and should be on your travel bucket list when you visit Cambodia. Kep is a little tiny town where you can enjoy nature and it is the best for adventuring. You can spend some time walking on the beach, watching the sunset, hiking at Kep National Park, exploring the abandoned mansions, hopping in a hammock and drinking fresh coconut juice, and especially visiting Kep Crab Market and enjoying all the great food. Sounds like a great place to go, right? So do not forget to visit Kep province when you visit Cambodia.
Please include attribution to tripily.co with this graphic.