Everything I was looking for at Sihanoukville, be it a quiet beach town, a soothing beach to swim, beach bed or a Khmer style swings in case of Cambodia, and having some nice chilled juice lying on either of them enjoying the view of the beach; the town Kep just had it all and I was so disappointed, with myself of course with every possible justified reason for choosing just an overnight stop here!! How could I do that?
Before I say anything, if you are looking for a quintessential beach town in Cambodia, Kep is the option I will ask you to go for. It is simply charming a town; simple, developing, yet not losing much of that old typical Cambodian look. Kampot (another town by the river and very popular among the tourists, which is very close to Kep, just an hour’s driving distance) and Kep at the very first look have the old European country look, and this touch of modern blend with the old has been one of the drawing factors of this place for me. Upon my first very moment of arrival here, I fell in love with the place and I can’t tell you how much I had to regret my inefficient decision-making power. However, you definitely need to know all the good things about this small-in-name-but-rich-in-grace place, called Kep.
Kep is a town by the river with the bonus of a beach at one of the southern tips of Cambodia. From Kampot the roads here change to glossy concrete than the most of the highways still under construction, the drive actually gets beautiful all of a sudden with a smiling summery blue sky adorned by pure white cotton-candy clouds, then so much green dabbed on both sides of the concretes, it was a cheerful so cheerful, especially after Sihanoukville.
Kep is very tourist-friendly (though this is appropriate for the entire country) as if it’s developed as per the suitability of its foreign tourists. There’s nothing wrong or negative in it though, the culture or tradition of these places have not been harmed by this modernisation. It’s just that the old heritage has been given a tinge of polished shine to move smoothly with the well-advanced world.
Few points of Kep:
Kep is well connected from Phnom Penh/ Sihanoukville or Kampot. There are direct buses available taking about 6 hours/ 4:30 hours/ 1 hour respectively from the above places. Bus ticket may cost about USD 7-10 per person. A private car may take about USD 50.00 for 2 people.
You may hire a bike to travel across the town or Tuk-Tuk is available at a cheap price with a little bargain at times. For travelling to other cities, you will get direct buses. Your hotel may assist you here.
Where to stay:
there are quite a few places in Kep to stay at. There are resorts by the river & Beach area. There are few old-style Khmer house resorts, then there are ample home-stays & hostels of a different budget. So, stay options are moderately good in this town.
Kep is a place where you can spend 4-7 days quite easily. Although there are quite a few to-do-things available which will keep you active and busy every day, even then, it doesn’t feel boring, by not doing anything than a stroll across the town, enjoy local seafood and just relax. This town has such a positive happy vibe that you will love staying here for a longer time.
If you are a foodie, then you must try local fresh seafood made in Cambodian style. Otherwise, there are other cuisines like Italian, American or cafes are available. Food may cost from 2-3 USD per person per meal.
Sightseeing: will be on the next post.. do come back next week..