Kep an attractive seaside resort
Kep is an attractive seaside resort. A dark green forest covers the headland, the sea lies on three sides, brightly colored fishing boats dot the surface of its sparkling waters on a sunny day. It was late in afternoon when we arrived, the city quiet and peaceful. Kep is warm all year round with a tropical climate. Temperature rarely drops below 16 degrees Celsius in winter and above 27 degree Celsius in summer!
Seaside Resort of Kep
The seaside resort of Kep was very popular with the French during the first period of the reign of Prince Norodom Sihanouk (1941-1955). Many fine villa’s were built-in the area. The French Colonials and Khmer elite came here to enjoy the seaside resort away from city life in Phnom Penh. King Sihanouk built a home overlooking the ocean at Kep, it was never lived in and remains empty to this day. The wide paved walkways along the ocean front are a reminder of its past popularity as a fashionable seaside resort.
During the period of Khmer Rouge regime many villa’s were ransacked and burnt. Black and gutted shells overtaken by vegetation is all that remains of the villa’s to show that this was once an important seaside resort area. Kep is gradually gaining in popularity again because of its natural attractions and budding tourism industry. Building of Eco-lodges, seaside hotels, motels and guesthouses has increased across the region in recent years with demand. Kep is still popular with the Khmer people for weekend picnics, when they take advantage of the hammocks to recline in, enjoy the sea breeze and crab specialty, ‘spicy Kep pepper crab’.
In the hills behind Kep city is the Kep National Park, an evergreen forested region. If you like hiking an 8km long trail winds around the hillside through the Kep forest. The hike takes about three hours. Visitors pay an entrance fee of 5000 Riel ($1.25) to enter the National Park.
The Beachhouse, a seaside hotel
In Kep city we stayed at the Beachhouse, a seaside hotel set in a lofty place with fabulous views. There is a panoramic view of the green forested headland and ocean from our balcony on the first floor. Directly below us at the end of a pier, jutting out into the sea is a large statue of a very pale lady, Yeah Mao, a fisherman’s wife. Apparently when her husband didn’t return from the sea, legend has it that she went out looking for him and perished in a storm. She looked so lonely, a few of us decided to walk out along the jetty to for a closer look before dinner.
Below the Beachhouse, at a street junction stand statues of monkeys, very lifelike when you come across them unexpectedly. There are many statues throughout the Kep seaside resort area, including a large blue crab, representative of the district, famous for its crab dishes.
The Beachhouse is an attractive seaside hotel, a thatched roof over the bar and dining area gives it a very tropical appearance and relaxing atmosphere. On our night there we dined by the glistening pool under the stars, enjoyed delicious freshly cooked sea-food and local dishes (mouth-watering). After which, most of us were ready for a good nights sleep and looking forward to what adventures tomorrow would bring. Tariffs at the Beach house: Double or twin room US.$35 per night.Family room US$50.per night.
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