Kep, a province on Cambodia’s southern coast, is a former resort town known throughout Cambodia for its relaxed, sun-dappled beaches and mouth-wateringly fresh crabs. In recent years, the province has undergone a revival, with many foreign and domestic visitors making the trip to indulge in its luxurious beachside resorts, tropical islands, and toothsome seafood.
During Cambodia’s golden years before 1970, this lush coastal region was a seaside playground for affluent. Although Kep’s beaches may not be in the same league as those in Preah Sihanouk, travelers seek out its tranquil atmosphere and unadulterated coasts.
A small section of the beach doubles as a regular crab-trading depot and the Crab Market (Psar Kdam) on the water’s edge serves as a popular tourist destination. Fishermen bring in baskets of crabs by the boatload, and waterfront restaurants cook them fresh, usually boiled with a few fragrant sticks of famed Kampot pepper. Fish, squid and prawns are also on offer, often cooking slowly over coals at the front of all the restaurants.
For a relaxing day trip, visitors often travel to a nearby island such as Rabbit Island (Koh Thonsáy), which is only a short boat ride off Kep’s coast. Here, you’ll find beautiful seaside views, bamboo platforms and basic bungalows, and plenty of rustic charm. A boat back during the evening sunset is not to be missed.
Those looking to take a break from beachside lounging may wish to visit some of the local limestone caves, some of which contain holy shrines.