We spent a few days in the sleepy Kep and explored some of its charm. The best way to do that is by riding around and exploring. That is exactly what we did. There are heaps of broad and empty streets and back streets to explore.
A lot of the ghost town feeling comes form the many half finished and run down French colonial villas. These are tucked away behind jungle in the most beautiful spots. The one below had an incredible view and we sat on the roof for a while.
Some are being renovated and others are doomed to collapse in the future. We were told that land grabbing was quite common here after the Khmer Rouge and some high military officials claimed some of these villas and the surrounding land as their own. They are not interested in up keeping them , but in the rising land value. Eventually they will sell them to the right buyer. We did see a few for sale signs.
Kep and Kampot are littered with cool statues on roundabouts. It was great to see these as we rode past.
We stopped for lunch at Kep beach and trusted a street vendor to fry us some mystery meat. It was very tasty with the chilly sauce! I really hope we didn’t eat dog.
A bit further out, you can find traditional Khmer houses and country life as it is common in Cambodia. Lots of rice paddies and small huts where the friendliest and happiest people seem to live.
It is definitely worth riding off on one of the many dirt roads to get a bit deeper into the jungle. The trail up to Jasmin Valley is a short and nice option.
We also found a hidden Wat situated on top of a hill. We joined a Khmer woman and her motorbike. It seems like she was interested in our money and not our company to visit the temple together.
A bit of a storm seemed to roll in on the way back, but the locals were out everywhere. They love riding their bikes to a nice spot, get off, eat some street food and chat. This seems like a pretty good way to pass time to us as well!
One day we decided to do a little bit of hiking in the Kep National Park, but settled on this bench with a beautiful view. We got stuck talking about some serious life stuff and then it started to rain quite heavily, so we decided to go back.
Of course no visit to Kep is complete without having tasted crab from one of the many restaurants at the crab market. Bear in mind that this is quite out of the way and a decent walk from beach square which is an even more decent walk from actual Kep. There are many large guest houses in Kep, however less near beach square and the crab market. Bacoma Guesthouse is a comfortable walk from both of these.
We watched as the fishermen pulled in their crab cages over the sunset while sharing a plate of boiled crab and a Cambodia beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Back at Bacoma, we went to have a shower and found the little shower huts invested with large, four-winged flying things! I guessed they must be young dragonflies, but I am not sure. Then we watched and filmed a Cambodia-sized gecko eat a ton of them. Wings were still hanging out of his mouth as he already prepared to snatch the next one. Amazing.