Kep is a cozy coastal town in the southwest of Cambodia . You do not find many tourists, but let it have its charm. You will experience here the typical local feeling that you are often looking for as a traveler. Are you traveling to Kep soon? Read on, because in this article I tell you more about my experiences and I share seven tips with you.
1. The Crab Market is more than just crab
The most famous attraction of Kep is undoubtedly the Crab Market. Krab is by the way what the town is known for. However, other than the name suggests, there is more to do than just eating crab.So you can taste delicious waffles, but also fish and many kinds of fruit and vegetables. Moreover, in the evening there is cheap and good quality street food, at the various stalls present. Think of noodles and spicy papaya salad. But also the refreshing drink made from sugar cane. Finally, there is the Samut Coffee case. Try the tasty iced coffee.
And then there is the sunset, to view from the moored platforms. Your evening can start worse?Do not be alarmed: for crab dishes, you pay $ 10 or more quickly. The prices in the restaurants on this market are a lot higher than you are used to.
2. Choose the ‘right’ trail in Kep National Park
The national park of Kep is, in my opinion, the highlight of this region. I would like to give you a tip: look carefully at the map which trail you want to walk.
Because I went for a walk without really reading me and even found it a bit boring. It was not very challenging and I did not really have the idea to make a hike through the jungle. Rather a refreshing forest walk.But when I came to a checkpoint, I saw on the map that I had walked the most standard route and there were many other trails through the jungle.
That is why I decided to go into the jungle via ‘Nuns’ Path’ and then ended up in a real adventure , sometimes even getting lost. The result of all this was that I had covered two trails and with that 16 kilometers.
3. Do not expect too much from Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)
Contrary to what many other websites claim, I do not think Rabbit Island is such a paradise. In any case, do not expect large white sand beaches, clear water and such things. The island honestly disappointed me. And when you make the 2-hour walk on the island, you will encounter a lot of plastic junk. However, if you just want to spend a day relaxing in a hammock, reading a book or lying on the beach, then a trip is best.
4. Sleep in the middle of the jungle in a comfortable bungalow
The bungalow I slept in is one of the best I’ve had during my travels. All slightly better than a basic backpacker’s cabin. Very well finished, nice details, a private balcony with hammock and also a very nice mattress. And do not forget: good Wi-Fi. The best part is that you stay in the middle of the jungle. You sleep on the edge of the aforementioned national park, where you walk in a minute or 10. So it is not people or construction work you are confronted with, but whistling birds and the tranquility of nature.
The resort in question is Bird of Paradise . The English owner, his Cambodian wife and the cats will make your stay extra pleasant. Are you simply looking for a cheap yet comfortable room? Then I can recommend Visal Sak Guesthouse . I slept there the last night of my stay in Kep.
5. Rent a bicycle and discover local life
At many guesthouses and resorts you can rent a (simple) city bike for free. Do this and drive along the beach towards the Koh Tonsay Pier and beyond. On your way you pass a striking statue of a crab:
Near the pier you immediately notice the difference with the environment around the beach. Little to no hotels, hardly tourists, but more local life. Nice to cycle through. You will also find the cafe Coffee Kep, run by an American. You can eat delicious sandwiches and fresh cakes. However, despite the fact that the name gave me hope, I found the coffee disappointing. Be sure to also take one of the side streets to see how the local people live there. Do not be surprised if you see a cow standing by the road or if there is a child climbing in the trees.
6. Skip Sihanoukville and travel directly to Koh Rong Samloem
Do you doubt the next destination? Sihanoukville or nearby Kampot are obvious. If you opt for the former and are looking for paradise beaches, then I advise you to travel directly to Koh Rong Samloem . Sihanoukville is in fact no longer what it used to be, although there is still a nice atmosphere around Otres.
I myself bought an open return ticket for Koh Rong Samloem for $ 27, so I arrived on the island that same afternoon. About 3 hours drive to Sihanoukville and a little later the transfer by boat. And this turned out to be a good choice. Koh Rong Samloem has become my favorite destination in Cambodia. Koh Rong or Koh Ta Kiev are also options to go via Kep. The choice is yours.