Kep is the name of the smallest province in Cambodia. It is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc to the south, and entirely surrounded otherwise by the Kampot Province. It is also the name of the Province’s capital, as well as the seaside resort, once known as the most popular in Cambodia. After being neglected for decades, it is being rediscovered in its full glow in the recent years.
Transport in and around Kep
Roads are in a pretty good shape in Kep City, the capital of the Kep Province, as well as in the other parts of the Province. There are not many ways to get to Kep, due to its small size and position. From Phnom Penh, it is possible to get to Kep by bus. Ticket prices vary, but are pretty cheap, and are generally between $5 and $10, for this 4-hour trip. Of course, a taxi could also be used for this trip, which would cost around $40, and shorten the trip by some 2 hours. From nearby town of Kampot, one can also use bus to get here, which costs around $2. It is also the cheapest way of getting to Kep, which takes around 20 minutes. Finally, getting to Kep from Sihanoukville is possible by hopping into a minibus, for a two-hour journey which costs around $5.
Much like getting to Kep, getting around it is also cheap. There are three ways to move around the city and resort, including the ever-present tuk tuks, motorbikes, and bicycles. Naturally, since the city and resort are not big, walking is also a good option.
For those who prefer riding, there will be no problems getting a tuk tuk. There are all over the place, and fares for a ride are very cheap, depending on one’s bargaining skills, of course. A usual ride costs around $1, and tuk tuks can be rented for the entire day for about $10.Motorbikes are also plentiful in Kep, similarly to tuk tuks. They can be rented for around $5, for the smaller ones, and $15 for the bigger ones. Roads are pretty well maintained, so tourists might consider this as an option when planning a trip to some of the surrounding sites.
Bicycles can be rented at pretty much any hotel or guesthouse in Kep. Like pretty much everything else in Kep, there is no fixed price for renting a bicycle, but it is generally pretty cheap.
Accommodation in Kep
Most of the hotels in Kep are small and cheap. Budget hotels are the main accommodation option in Kep, with prices ranging from $5 to $30 per night. Other accommodation options in the city and surrounding beach and Koh Tonsay Island include guesthouses and B&Bs ran by the locals. Prices vary depending on the location and conditions, but are pretty cheap, especially for those with good bargaining skills. Of course, there are also luxury resorts, costing $300 and higher for an overnight stay.
Kep is being rapidly modernized, especially in the recent years. Beside the seaside resort and islands of the Kep Archipelago, there are also some interesting sites to explore and visit around Kep, such as the Kep National Park and surrounding caves.
Koh Tonsay, much better known by its westernized name Rabbit Island, is located about 4.5 kilometers southwest of Kep City. It is the only island in the Kep Archipelago, out of 13, which has been arranged for visitors. Sandy white beaches, shallow sea, and unique bioluminescent algae which glow around the Island at night are what makes this Island a must-see tourist attraction in Cambodia. One can reach the Rabbit Island by one of the boats arriving from Kep for around $5.
Kep Beach is the main attraction of Kep City itself. It is about a kilometer long stretch of black-sand beach, and also the name of a popular resort located here.
Phnom Sar Sear is a nature site located 14 kilometers south of Kep. The site features two natural caves-Phnom Dorei Sar and Phnom Ach Prochiev-which tourists can explore. On the mountaintop sits a colorful, finely sculpted stupa built in 1964, which houses a Buddha relic.
Kep National Park covers around 50 square kilometers in the center of Kep Province. Kep National Park is a tropical forest and consists of three main mountains—Krasaing, KepToch, and Kep Thom. The Park gives a great view of the sea and colonial buildings in Kep City. It is also being developed as the green oasis for eco-tourism.
Kompong Trach Caves are located around 35 kilometers to the northeast of Kep. The limestone caves are quite big and big reclining Buddha as well as some smaller statues are found inside. There is also a small lake inside the cave (the 'Swimming Cave'), located about 10min drive from the main cave.
Angkul Beach, or, literally translated “Secret Beach”, is a remote beach to the east from Kep. The beach is hidden by a number of coconut trees, and there a small fishing village and a small temple on the hill behind it.Salt fields are located on the road to the Angkul Beach. This area is famous for producing salt and salt fields are huge. When the whether is hot, this can be an unpleasant place to be at.
Kampot Pepper Plantations - the Kampot Pepper is one of the best in the world and has a reputation of being a delicacy. One of the major sites of producing the Kampot Pepper is near Phnom Voir, a mountain about a 20 min-drive from Kep. It is possible to buy fresh and/or dried black pepper directly from the fields.