The sleepy seaside town of Kep wasn’t always so sleepy. Before Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kicked everybody out, this was Cambodia’s major tourist destination. Evidence of this can be seen everywhere, from the hollowed out remains of what were once lavish beach resorts to the overgrown tennis courts.
The city is now under reconstruction: all the devastated homes are being transformed in luxury pied a terre, by expats, or rich visitors. The city has still an incredible charm: you have a nice charming hotel, with bungalows and a swimming pool, waiting for you, the Champey inn. They will indicate you the best places around; take a bike and go see the rice fields, the temples around. Also, go the Rabbit island: although there is no charming beach in Kep, the island has one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. It takes a boat ride of 30 minutes to go, all the fishermen are waiting to take you there. You’ll find basic accommodation, and plenty of restaurants on the island. One of the best deals you will ever find in south east Asia, for an unspoiled paradise!
Although far off the beaten track for most tourists, Kep is just over 100 kilometers from the main regional port of Sihanoukville and is also an ideal destination for anyone wanting to see first hand the devastation that the Pol Pot regime created.
Once majestic hotels and resorts, now reduced to empty skeletons are dotted all over the area. A newish but bullet ridden Mercedes in the driveway of one of the hotels is reputed by locals to be last used by Pol Pot before he was driven into hiding.
Definitely worth going there for 3 or 4 days ! ( i go there myself almost every year and i never get used to its beauty)
Not to be missed also is the town of Kampot, 20 km of Kep. This a beautiful, sleepy colonial town, full of charm. Go and wallk in the old streets, to feel a flavor of the french times, go have a walk along the river, sit and have a beer for the sunset. A nice hotel has just opened along the banks: it belongs to the people who made the famous and delicious bar FCC in Phnom penh, so it will be charming, and worth going to.
One day in kampot is not too much, and don’t forget to buy the world famous Kampot Pepper at the market: it’s very cheap there, and it is one of the best peppers in the world. Your friends will love it.