Overview of Kep
Kep or Kep-sur-Mer in French is a southwestern province of Cambodia. It is subdivided into two districts : Kep and Damnak Chang’aeur. Kep, which is located just a few kilometers from Ha Tien, the border with Vietnam, used to be Cambodia’s most popular and prestigious beach town but has fallen on hard times in recent years. From the early 1900s until the 1960s, Kep was a thriving resort town for the French and Cambodian elite. A major misconception about Kep is that during the Khmer Rouge years, much of Kep’s French colonial era mansions and villas were destroyed. The truth is that it were the locals, being in need of money and food, that stripped down the villas so that they could exchange all these valuable parts in Vietnam for rice and cash. Many of Kep’s villas are abandoned, but some of the town’s former splendor is still apparent. The ocean is lined with wide sidewalks and large statues. King Sihanouk built a home overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, but it was never occupied and now sits empty. A good, paved road connects the town with Kampot. Kep’s beaches are mostly mangrove and black rock rather than the white sands of Sihanoukville. Several islands lie off the coast, Koh Thonsáy is just a short boat ride away. The town is well known for seafood – particularly the crab. In addition, Kep is home to an extensive national park.Since October 2010 there is an entrance fee of 5000 Riel ($1,25) There are now nearly 40 guesthouses, resorts and hotels in Kep. It is currently one of the fastest developing touristic areas in Cambodia with a focus on mid-range to high-end businesses.
Dry season runs from November to April on the back of the northeast monsoon. November to January are cooler while February to April are hot and dusty. November is the coolest month, April the hottest.
Wet season runs from May to October courtesy of the southwest monsoon. Wet season brings some 75% of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. July to September are the wettest months.
The interior of Kep peninsula is occupied by Kep National Park, degraded in recent years by illegal logging but finally guarded by a complement of rangers. An 8km circuit around the park, navigable by foot or mountain bike, starts at the park entrance behind Veranda ...