Kep itself is about 40 minutes from the Vietnam/Cambodian border. An old French town, it is now known for its speciality of crab and the fact that its a sleepy beach town with a jungle in the middle. Despite being ‘sleepy’, there is much to do and see, including beautiful sunsets over the sea, the crazy Crab Market and the wild monkeys that roam the town!
Our hostel was beautiful. It was run by an expat French couple, who were lovely. They owned a puppy, cat and two kittens! The hostel has different types of accommodation within a large plot of land, where you will see chickens, lizards and some creepy crawlies! A great thing about this hostel is that the rooms include mosquito nets, which if you didn’t know, is needed in Cambodia (not including Phnom Penh and Siem Reap).
Things to do in Kep, Cambodia.
One of the main things to do in Kep is to visit the local and beautiful beach. As most tourists don’t stop off in Kep, the beaches are very peaceful. Lying on the beach, you may find yourself dribbling, Surrounding the beach, on the road, are many street vendors, cooking up very delicious street food and snacks. If you get a little hungry, make sure to try these out. Not only are they cheap, but they are some of the best food we ate in Kep.
Make sure you venture into the jungle!
Another attraction in Kep is the huge jungle that runs through the middle of the town. Here there are hikes, waterfalls, tree-top cafes and lots of wildlife! We decided to hike into the jungle to see the local waterfall. After a long, hot and very sweaty hike through the jungle, we arrived at the waterfall. All the way up we babbled on about how excited we were to cool off in the cold water, one of us even made a joke at how terrible it would be if there was no water. Nothing could have prepared us for the disappointment we felt when we stumbled upon the waterfall. We all sort of stood there in silence, unsure if we were in the right place. We were met with a small pile of dry rocks with a sign saying ‘Waterfall’ next to it. Hot and angry, we decided to hike back out of the Jungle and head to the beach for a dip in the sea, Lizzie and Ellie decided to continue to see if they had more luck with the hike. We visited the waterfall in July so make sure you check with the locals before venturing out!
On our way back down through the jungle, we stopped off at the Led Zepp Cafe. This is a beautiful cafe that is built like a tree house, high up within the jungle. From there you can have a drink and some food whilst looking out at the uninterrupted views of Kep and surrounding areas. The only noise around you is the call of the local monkeys and various bird noises. It is beautiful and well worth visiting.
Also, if you enjoy seafood, make sure you visit the crab market. Here they sell fresh seafood and also have many small restaurants that are built above the sea. Again, very beautiful. Our friends (who love seafood) said that the crab was one of the best they had ever tasted!
Rabbit Island day trip!
Not far from Kep is a small island called Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay). Although it is called Rabbit Island, there are no rabbits! (I know, shocking!) Here you can either take a day trip to visit the beautiful beach, or you can stay the night. But just to warn you, at around 9pm, they shut off all the electricity. This means that there is no fan, air-con or wifi! But the little huts where people were staying looked beautiful!
Getting from Kep to Rabbit Island is very simple. You can book the trip through your hostel or a local tour shop they will arrange for a taxi to pick you up and take you to the boat port. From there you wait for the small local fishing boat to come, and jump into it off the pier. The boat trip is around 15 minutes.
Don’t be disheartened when you arrive at Rabbit Island. They drop you off from the boat at the ‘ugly’ side of the island. Where the sea is slimy, the sand is covered with litter and the smell is disgusting. Once everyone has got off the boat, however, a local will walk you through a small jungle (about 5 minutes) to the other side of the island. And boy, what a huge contrast! The sand is very fine and white. The sea is crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise colour. The only sound you will hear are the local and friendly dogs and cats and the sea. The sea is quite shallow and not strong at all, so it is perfect for a relaxing day. You can also rent out snorkelling gear to see some of the beautiful marine life.
If you get hungry or fancy a drink there are a few local restaurants and shops on the beach. They sell everything from a full meal to a bottle of Jack Daniels! The food there was lovely and we each had a couple of reasonably priced cocktails!
If you do visit Rabbit Island, make sure you ask what time you have to be back at the other side of the island and keep an eye on the time. The boat will not wait for you and you have to make your own way back to the boat pick up point.
Whilst Kep can seem quite small, the people are lovely and there is lots of wildlife and nature. I’m glad we split up our travel to Phnom Penh by staying here. It is one of the places we do encourage people to visit at some point! There is much to see and much to do, make sure you go and see for yourself!