Kep: a charming seaside town with sensational seafood
Whilst the small seaside town of Kep is not as slick as Sihanoukville, what makes it special is its laid-back charm, peaceful atmosphere, colonial elegance, deserted offshore island and amazing seafood.
Fine-dining is mostly absent in Kep, but dining on some of the finest seafood in Asia in local wood-shack restaurants is a highlight. The must-try local specialty is pepper crab which made headlines after being featured in famous chef Rick Stein’s TV series.
Work up an appetite before feasting on sumptuous seafood by hiking or mountain biking the 8km circuit of Kep National Park, which snakes through dense forest featuring butterflies, temples and viewing platforms.
A popular retreat for the French elite in the early 20th century, Kep’s crumbling colonial villas scattered around town are relics of its pre-civil war heyday (it was heavily looted during Khmer Rouge rule).
One of Cambodia’s most unspoilt islands, Rabbit Island, is just a short boat-ride away from Kep and well worth taking a day-trip to for a desert-island experience and great snorkeling. The nearby town of Kampot is also worth a visit to explore Angkor-era cave temples, the vast National Park and Bokor Mountain with stunning views across the Gulf of Thailand, abandoned stately villas and waterfalls.