Kep

Travel Guide Asia Cambodia Kep

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Introduction

kep sonnenuntergang

kep sonnenuntergang

© miriheb

Kep is a seaside town in Cambodia with numerous fresh fish restaurants and a fine small beach. On weekends, this fisherman's town is a favourite among the inhabitants of Phnom Penh. Kep is a calmer, more peaceful alternative to Sihanoukville.

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Sights and Activities

Kep is a great home base for visits to deserted islands off the coast and for bike and hiking trips through the forested hills. There is a trail over Kep's mountain mountain bikes, scooters and jeeps for rent to explore the area or you could simply go for a walk through the woods. If you want to see the most beautiful beaches in Cambodia, don't miss the islands of Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) or Koh Poh (Coral Island). Koh Tonsay has three white beaches; however Koh Poh is even more beautiful. The coral surrounding this island makes for fascinating underwater explorations. There are also several colonial villas more or less in need of renovation, and some quite overgrown.

Angkaul Beach (45 min to the east near the Vietnamese border). Angkaul Beach was once the swimming beach for the Cambodian elite in the 1960s. The trip there might be long, but it is worth every minute. The 2 km long beach is clean with white sand and totally deserted except some fishermen. Now there are 6 deck chairs and parasols and a small shop selling cold drinks for the few tourists going there. The water is shallow but clean.
Caves. Around Kep there are 3 major caves, some with small shrines inside. The biggest and most impressive is near Kompong Trach (30 km from Kep). It boasts beautiful limestone formations and a nearby swimming cave.
Colonial Villas. There are around 100 or more old French villas, mostly destroyed by the Kep locals, returning after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime (and not by the Khmer Rouge as most travel guides tend to make you believe) and some of them overgrown like Angkor Wat, quite a spooky feeling. Some of them have been restored, but most of them are owned of rich military officials who are waiting to sell it at the highest price.
Kampot Pepper (at Phnom Voir mountain, about a 20-min drive from Kep). An absolute must is to visit the Pepper plantation. The pepper used to be the number one pepper in the world and all the good French restaurants had it. It is having a revival with a local NGO (Farmlink) helping promote and plant it again. edit
Kep Beach. A single, kilometre-long crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula. Dining platforms and seafood vendors line the road behind the beach. Busy on weekends, but often deserted during the week. The road through Kep traces the coastline to the beach and then circles back on itself. Cars and vans must pay admission to drive the loop (2,500-5,000 riel). Motorcycles and pedestrians are free. The loop is one-way only and the police do occasionally enforce the law, levying fines against violators.
Kep Mountain. There is an easy trail going full circle around the hill above Kep in the national park. It's a wonderful piece of jungle, in which it is quite probable to see some monkeys and other animals. The trail is about 8 km long (a 2-3 hour walk) and has a lot of directional signs made by Christian from the Led Zep Cafe. If you don't want to walk, the path is big enough to ride a bicycle or a motorbike. There are even some small benches to enjoy the view and have a rest during the walk.
Rabbit Island (a 20-minute boat trip from Kep Beach (~USD8-10 return if part of a tour; alternatively, get to the boat pier before 09:00 and share a USD20 boat ride with other travellers). Bungalows on Rabbit Island are quaint and cheap (from USD5 a night). The island is generally pretty quiet and is a gem of coastal Cambodia. Development is slow, though there is now a massage shack directly on the beach.
Kep National Park.

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Getting There

From Kampot: The road is paved, smooth and well sign posted. 25 km, 30-45 min trip. Bus USD2. For a motorcycle taxi (USD2-3) or tuk-tuk (around USD6) be prepared to bargain like a local or pay a bit more. Package day tours between the two towns often include a visit to nearby destinations such as Rabbit Island, the caves between Kampot and Kep, and a pepper plantation.
From Phnom Penh: The road is paved, smooth and well sign posted. Around 4 hr by bus. Several bus companies serve Kep (USD5-6) and offer various departure times between 07:00-15:00. 168 Phnom Penh Sorya bus company runs from the bus station near Phnom Penh's central market. Hua Lian is near Olympic Stadium (St 182, Oknha Tep Phan). Capitol Tours run from their offices in Phnom Penh. Hiring your own taxi should cost around USD40-50 (2.5 to 3 hr).
From Sihanoukville: Minibuses take around 2 hr and cost around USD7 (shop around, prices vary). Departures are in the morning.
From Ha Tien, Vietnam: Motorbike taxis take 45 min and should cost over 100,000 dong (~USD5). Bargain hard and in dollars, it'll work out cheaper than in dong. It is a 45-min journey mainly on a dirt road.

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Getting Around

Tuk-tuks are plentiful. Short trips around town should cost USD1-2, the price for a full day is between USD12-25. Some roads can be a little bumpy, but there is no major dust irritation like in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

Self-drive motorcycles can be rented for around USD7 per day for a small 125 cc or around USD14 for a 250 cc. Bicycles are also available for rent.

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Eat

Kep is famous for its crabs. The crab market (a 10 minute walk or USD1 tuk-tuk ride from Kep Beach) has line-caught crabs held in floating cages in the sea. Depending on the size of the crustaceans and your bargaining skills a kilogram of crabs should cost 10,000-20,000 riel. Vendors can steam your purchases in the boiling pots in the market or your hotel may also cook them for you. No visit to Kep is complete without having a least one meal of the fresh crabs, reputedly the best in Cambodia.

Several seafood restaurants line the seashore near crab market. They have terraces built over the sea to provide stunning sunset views of Phu Quoc and Bokor National Park while you enjoy crabs cooked with fresh Kampot peppercorns. If you head there early afternoon you can watch fisherman unload their catch of the day.

Breezes Lounge & Restaurant, National Road 33 (halfway between Kep Beach & Ferry Pier), ☏ +855 97 6759072. Set in a beautiful, quiet and green area, and is a good spot to unwind near the sea. Serves imaginative food with an emphasis on Asian (sea)food. Try the Khmer fish wrap, chilli & rum prawns or Asian beef stew. With comfortable chairs, a lounge bed, jazz music and a beautiful garden this place is not only about food and provides a pleasant upmarket alternative in Kep. Showers available for swimmers (guests only).
Kep Lodge Restaurant and Bar. The comfortable bar is replete with pool table and offers a good selection of Khmer and Western dishes including Swiss specialties cheese fondue and raclette. Music and liveliness can be enjoyed until midnight. Happy hour (17:30-19:00) lubricates the sun's decent over the infinity pool. Mojiot and draft beer available.
Kep Thmey Seafood Restaurant (At the far end of the crab market), ✉ vetsina@mfone.com.kh. 08:00-22:00. Like all the other restaurants near the crab market, Kep Thmey is noted for crab and shrimp in green pepper. From USD3.
Kimly Restaurant. Established and popular but possibly becoming complacent in success. Located towards the end of the row of seafood restaurants near the crab market. Shrimps or crabs with spicy sauce are notable, although this applies to all the restaurants on the row.
Led Zep Cafe (Mountain trek road, just after Le Bout Du Monde). Its elevated position offers breeze and good views overlooking Kep and the ocean. The small menu offers burritos, pizzas and pancakes. There's a range of detailed maps of Kep and its surroundings. The helpful French owner has been living in Kep since 2004 and provides interesting company. Mountain bikes are available for rent. A good place to relax with a cold beer or a cappuccino.
Veranda Restaurant & Bar, Kep Mountain Hillside, ☏ +855 12 888619. 06:30-22:00. Main restaurant at the Veranda Natural Resort with a great view of the gulf, especially at morning and sunset. Beside their popular bakery shop, the restaurant offers seafood dishes, as well as Western and Asian food and brunch. The brunch is a lovely indulgence for a fair price. The service is excellent as well.
Holy Crab, Crab Market. Holy Crab is one of the nicest of the generally basic restaurants at the Crab Market. You can still find the seafood staples you should try in Kep, but everything is served in a nice ambiance. Wonderful for a leisurely dinner or enjoying a nightcap by the water.

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Drink

Baraka. Closes around 22:30. A popular hang out for local expats, also a cosy place to enjoy an excellent sea side pizza and some great cocktails. They now boast an upstairs terrace overlooking the ocean. A truly stunning place for Kep's famous sunsets.
Jungle Bar. On the small hill behind the Kep beach, Mary is running this late night bar, which features a pool table and a good sound system. Stays open until late.
MaMa Cambodia. On the other side of Kep, near the Kep market, on the main road, Mrs Soki has opened this popular restaurant/bar which not only serves inexpensive local dishes, but also has a pool table and a nice open air bar. Open until late.

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Sleep

Prices are higher here than in the rest of the country. Things are squeezed at the budget end. A basic room that would cost USD5 elsewhere is USD10 in Kep. Ask the bus ticket sellers to put you onto something cheap. As Kep is a resort area, there is no problem finding good offerings in the mid- to high-price ranges.

The Beach House Kep, Right on the beach (behind the white lady statue on Kep Beach Rd). USD40-55.
Boathouse, 33A Sangkat Pray Thom, ☏ +855 97 5724444, +855 77-430298. Check-in: Anytime, check-out: 12:00. Charming wooden rooms or fan/air-con, cheaper rooms with shared bathroom in concrete building. Traditional Khmer-style, tropical garden with stylish huts, views on the national park. Restaurant serving fine and traditional Khmer & Western food. Friendly family atmosphere. Free Wi-Fi. Motorcycle rental is available. USD8-30.
Botanica, National Rd 33a, ☏ +855 97 8998614, ✉ info@kep-botanica.com. Guesthouse with 6 bungalows, each with shower and fan or air con. Restaurant serves world food. Pool table, petanque, book exchange. The young garden is becoming established. USD10-25.
Brise de Kep, 18-19 Kep Beach Rd (Near the guesthouses on Kep Beach near the south roundabout), ☏ +855 36 6336339. All rooms have hot water and TV. The only Western TV channel is Fashion Channel. The adjoining restaurant looks good, but isn't. USD12 (fan) USD15 (air-con).
Knai Bang Chatt (Next to the Sailing Club). One of the fanciest places in all Cambodia, this complex has only three seaside villas. Book two and they'll guarantee that the entire place is yours. Great swimming pool, free Wi-Fi. A real private hide away. USD160-350.
Masada Resort, Pepper St 2 (below the national park, opposite Tree Top), ☏ +855 97 5062338, ✉ info@masadaresort.com. Check-in: 13:30, check-out: 11:30. Five bungalows with air-con and private balconies set in a tropical garden. Infinity pool with salt water with view of the National Park. The lounge with sofas and pool table offers panoramic sea view. USD50.
Kep Lodge (info@keplodge.com), Pepper Street 1d (below the National Park), ☏ +855 92 43 53 30. Offering great views from the Deluxe bungalows down to the Gulf of Thailand. Thirteen private bungalows with hot shower, minibar, tea and coffee maker, desk and a big private terrace with a hammock and sofa - full breakfast included. A popular infinity salt-water swimming pool, free bicycles, fast & free WiFi all over the lodge, a book exchange and lots of games can be found at the Lodge. New first floor restaurant, with lounge. Has a lively bar, pool table and restaurant serving local and Swiss food. Can also be used as a meeting room. Outside guest can use their pool when consuming USD5/person for free . USD30-80.
Raingsey Bungalow (info@raingsey-bungalow-kep.com), Kep Mountain Hillside Rd (Same road as Vanna and Veranda), ☏ +855 11 558197. Eight wooden bungalows set in a tropical garden. Private balconies give access to the palm-shaded swimming pool. Air con, en suite bath, hot water, restaurant with sea views. Wi-Fi. USD60.
Sovanna, 777 Ocean Blvd, ✉ Starinn_kepcity@yahoo.com. Small 13-room hotel. All rooms are smartly decorated and have sea views. Small pool, comfortable restaurant and bar. USD25-40.
Tree Top Bungalows, Pepper Street (Below the national park next to Kep Lodge), ☏ +855 12-515191. Check-out: 12:00. Set in a beautiful garden next to Kep Lodge overlooking the sea with both Bokor Hill Station and Phu Quoc in view, this place offers a wide range of accommodation ranging from USD4 double fan basic rooms, tree house style rooms through to shared bathroom rooms to rooms with private baths. USD 4-20.
Villa Romonea, Street 33, ☏ +855 12 879486. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. On the sea, villa with six rooms is on a two-hectare property with a six hole golf course, an infinity swimming pool and a tennis court. It is private and has all the amenities. USD150-190.
Kepmandou Guest House, Road 33 Seaside Road, ☏ +855 97-7958723. Check-out: 12:00. Dorm and single/double rooms with shared bathroom. Free Wi-fi. dorm bed USD4. room from USD7, hammocks with a sea view USD1.50. (

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet bars are starting to appear in most major towns in Cambodia. Connection speeds vary as does the quality of the computers. The best places to go online definately are Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and outside of these centers it's generally also more expensive. In general prices are not much more than US1-2 an hour. Remember to take off your shoes when you enter as a sign of respect and to watch out for small shrines that are on the ground.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code of Cambodia is 855. To call out of Cambodia, dial 001 followed by the country code and telephone number of the other party. Many of the internet bars also have international calling options and you can also arrange calls at post offices. Services are usually run by the governmental telecommunication network Camintel. You can find telephone cards in many shops, starting from serveral US dollars to around US$50. Samart, Mobitel and Shinawrata are the main mobile phone providers, with Mobitel offering the best and most widespread services, although calling from outside towns (countryside) is still tricky.

Post

Cambodia's national postal service offers a wide range of services, though in general things go slowly and are not always very reliable. That said, things have been getting better over the years, and you can expect for your postcard or letter to finally arrive after 5-10, depending from where you send it (avoid small towns) and to where you send it. Prices are around 2000-2,500 Riel to countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and it's slightly more expensive sending it from more remote places in the provinces. Post offices in Cambodia generally are open from around 8:00am to 5:00pm, with some regional variations. Sendings parcels is only possible from the capital Phnom Penh and it's very expensive as well. You might be better to send it from Thailand, or otherwise check private companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are more reliable and might even be cheaper!

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Accommodation in Kep

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This is version 20. Last edited at 8:26 on Oct 25, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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