Kep (Kep-sur-Mer) was founded as a seaside retreat for the French colonial elite back in 1908 and the Cambodian high-rollers in the 1960s. After years of horror and decadence, today the town is back on the tourist trail with its laid back vibe and spectacular sunsets. The city now attracts a more culture crowd that rather spend time lounging by the shoreline with a bottle of wine than partying on the infamous Police Beach in the nearby island of Koh Rong.
A small but pleasant crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula. This white sandy beach is a popular spot with the locals, particularly during national holidays, but remains practically deserted the rest of the time. The beach is well maintained and easily accessible from the city and nearby accommodation. Just a 20 minute boat trip from Kep beach, sits Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island. It is easy to rent a former fishing boat to take you across the water to this rustic island. The island is generally pretty quiet and is a gem of coastal Cambodia. Development is slow, though there are now a few massage shacks directly on the beach
In most towns in Cambodia, the market is the center of local life and Kep’s famous Crab Market is no exception. Standing at the centre of the town, the market is the busiest place in the city. No visit to Kep is complete without having a least one meal of the fresh crabs, reputedly the best in Cambodia. Next to the market sits a row of shacks selling the the famous Kep crab with pepper, notable among them is Crab Kitchen, sitting just by the beginning of the market.
Set in a restored traditional wooden fishermans cottage, built directly over the sea, The Sailing Club Restaurant & Bar has a casual and family friendly atmosphere, making this the ideal place to relax and enjoy Kep’s breathtaking sunsets. With its beachside location and luxurious feel, The Sailing Club is an absolute must when in any visit to Kep.
There are around 100 or more old colonial and modernist villas, mostly destroyed following the town’s demise under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Some of them have been overgrown by nature like Angkor Wat and have quite a spooky feel to them. Nonetheless, some of them have been restored to their former glory, when they used to be frequented by Camodia’s creme de la creme, and house stylish boutique resorts and restaurants.