This year my boyfriend and I were in Sihanoukville, a coastal city in Cambodia, known for its glorious beaches. To get to Kep it was less than an hour drive by motorbike. Kep is known for its delicious, fresh out of the water seafood. I unfortunately did not eat some, but that’s because I’m allergic to seafood, otherwise I recommend for individuals who visit this place, to go on and give it a try!
When we entered Kep, we were welcomed by a big statue of a crab, that was in the middle of the beach. It had writing underneath, saying ‘Welcome to Kep.’ There were many tourists, along with the locals who were relaxing by the beach. Some of the locals were plying instruments, trying to obtain income and others were dancing to music with their family members, enjoying the very hot weather, the sparkling sky and sea, food and new restaurants and drinks. Although Kep still has its holiday getaway feel to visiting it, it is not all newly developed housing and restaurants. There are still crab shacks and picturesque mountains and rural countryside views that make kep, Kep.
Throughout our trip to South-East Asia, coconuts were $1 and one of my favourite things to drink in Cambodia. They were everywhere and they were huge, unlike the ones we have back home in Australia. I saw locals and tourists drinking them, after all a coconut provides hydration and nutrition, plus it is especially good in the very hot humid weather which Cambodia is known for.
Image: Kep Beach
According to Lonely Planet, Kep was founded as a seaside retreat for the French elite in 1908 and a favoured haunt of Cambodian high-rollers during the 1960s (Lonely Planet, 2017). Out on the beaches there were lots of open teepee huts and colourful hammocks, which individuals could relax upon. We visited the Kep National Park, but it was not easy to find. There was no signs leading us there or telling us how far away we were from it. We drove along one path, but realised it was going to take us too far away from where we were, so we drove back. There was another option to go onto another road, but it was above us on a hill. We went there and had to drive on the vibrant orange sand, until we saw a person and they told us that we were on the right track. When we got there, we left our motorbike at the entrance of the national park. Some people who we passed along the way in the national park, did take their motorbike in, so it was optional what you chose to do with it. We had to pay to get in (4000r), but that was alright with us, because we wanted to see how preserved the park was and what was so historic about it. I have never been hiking before, but I was glad I had chosen to wear appropriate footwear on the day and clothes (long, elephant pants in order to keep the misquotes away from me and runners). We passed Led Zep Cafe along the hike and we were going to stop for a drink, but it was unfortunately closed. But I will advise others to go there and tell me what it was like! 🙂
There were helpful yellow signs along the way to guide us to the top, and they included small little facts on them. At the top of the hike there was a pagoda and a view of Kep and its sandy crystal white beaches. We managed to see extraordinary birds and a monkey ran past us, and we also had to walk around a pack of dogs. Lucky they weren’t viscous, but you have to be careful with the animals there, because you just never know when one is ready to attack. Walking down hill was easier to climb, than walking up hill. I think my boyfriend was starting to get sick of my constant, ‘Are we there yet?!’ speech, but the hot sun and constant sweating didn’t do wonders for my level of fitness. Never the less i persisted and we were there, back at the bottom of the hill.
Image: View from the top of the National Park
Kep, is also known for its famous pepper. So make sure you quickly stop by the pepper farm, or eat at a restaurant like we did, that had there famous peppers and let me tell you, they different, so flavoursome and unique, that I wanted to sprinkle them on everything I ate at the end.
On the way back to our destination, our hostel at Sihanoukville, we stopped by a bakery, that sold fresh sticks of bread, croissants, pastries and sweets. We could see the influence here that the french had on the Khmer people. The food here was great, plus they even had a mixture of all sorts of herbs and fresh spices. I can’t remember the name of it, but I do remember that it was the only bakery along the way. There were hardly any food shops on the road, while we were going to Kep, other than the food stands, which sold the basic packet of chips and bottled drinks. At kept, there were the restaurants and the seafood market and so I remember the feeling when we discovered this bakery, the feeling of familiarity, the feeling of home, being able to sit down and eat a pastry and have a coffee; I just knew we had to stop, have a look and sit down and eat something.
Image: Amazing bakery on the way to Kep
***Please note all images are my own 🙂