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Cambodia’s smallest province in the coastal south-east of the country, Kep is a charming holiday spot known for its water-side life, seafood and coastal hiking.

Kep’s former heyday was in the first half of the 1900s, as a favourite holiday spot for French colonialists, and later, wealthy Cambodians, who made it the most prestigious beach town in Cambodia. It’s had a recent resurgence in popularity among those looking for a beach-side experience that’s slightly off the main backpacker trails. With a smattering of islands off the coastline too, Kep is a place to blend water-side adventures with laidback Cambodian life.

Best time to visit

Although Cambodia is great all year round, Kep is a beach destination, so for maximum sunshine the best time to visit is in the dry season (October to April). That said, the National Park is at its most beautiful in rainy season, when the many waterfalls here are brought to life. You’ll also benefit from less crowds and cheaper rates if you visit in rainy season.

Check the below table for the general idea of Kep weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 30.6 26.6 23.3
Feb 31.2 27 23.6
Mar 32.1 28.2 24.9
Apr 32.4 28.8 25.6
May 32.2 29.1 26
Jun 31.2 28.4 25.8
Jul 30.4 27.9 25.4
Aug 30.4 28 25.6
Sep 29.9 27.5 25.3
Oct 30.6 27.4 24.8
Nov 31.2 27.7 24.8
Dec 30.8 27.1 24

Kep’s current weather and 7-day forecast

KEP WEATHER

Here are top things to see & do in Kep:

Kep Beach

Heading around the peninsula to Kep Beach, you can enjoy a small trip of white sand and a little rocky beach. The slightly darker beaches than in Sihanoukville are mostly scattered with mangroves and black rocks. The coastline is lined with wide sidewalks; there are promontories with large statues. The sandy beaches are not as wide as in Sihanoukville but less crowded. The tranquility makes Kep Beach a nice escape to relax and soak in the warm waters. Also, it’s a great chance to see how the locals like to do for beach days. The Khmer families usually gather on nearby bamboo pavilions to laze in hammocks and enjoy the moments.

The Crab Market

Apart from the beaches, Kep is well known for fresh seafood. The seafood is cheap, plentiful and delicious - particularly the famous crabs. Approaching the Kep town, the Crab Market is a huge statue of a blue swimmer crab standing just off the shore, showing the town’s pride in their abundance of fresh crab.

The Pepper Plantations

Take your chance to visit the biggest organic peppercorn farm in Asia. Pepper grown in Kampot is considered the world’s best for decades. The pepper here derives its flavor from a mixture of the mineral soils, the sea air, and the bat guano deposited in caves around the hills.

Rabbit Island

Unlike the most other tropical islands in Southeast Asia, Rabbit Island, called Koh Tonsay in Khmer, is truly off the tourist path. Just 30-minute ferry from Kep, a-day trip at Rabbit Island is a perfect place to take a break and enjoy chilling time with a beer, some fresh food and ocean vibe. There’re two beaches suitable for swimming since they have white sand and shallow water. The island is settled by only seven families, who earn their living by small fishing and maintaining coconut plantation.

If you decide to stay in Kep a few days, there are a number good options, from budget guesthouses to luxurious resorts. However, it’s worth noting that a lot of accommodation is clustered on a hill off of Kampot Road, and transport to the beach or crab market is required. The silver lining is that they have excellent views and many have pools!

For budget travelers, the best choice is Kep Lodge (1 Pepper Street, bungalow with fan USD28), which is about 1.5km from the beach. The rooms here have excellent views over the National Park, and the in-house restaurant gets rave reviews. It’s very popular with expats, so make sure to book ahead!

A good mid-range option is The Beach House (Kep Beach, double room USD50), which has great views of the beach and a swimming pool. Or, there are a number of reasonably priced resorts, including Spring Valley Resort (National Route 33a, superior double room USD55), Vanna Hill Resort (Phum Thmey, superior double USD50) and Veranda Natural Resort (Hillside Road, deluxe bungalow USD85). The latter is a bit pricey, but it’s the perfect option for families.

And finally, if you want to stay at the very best of the best, then head to Knai Bang Chatt (Kep Beach, double room USD226). The resort has everything to really help you unwind and relax, including a saltwater horizon pool, hammocks, massage salas, an open-air restaurant, a library, spa, yoga sessions and much more.

This region of Cambodia is world famous for a variety of black pepper known as Kampot pepper, and it’s possible to visit local pepper farms in Kep and neighbouring Kampot Province to find out more. One of the pepper farms in Kep is Sothy’s Pepper Farm, where you can take a look at the farm, learn more about Kampot pepper and buy some to take home from the on-site shop.

The other reason people come to Kep is for the crab, and the Crab Market is the place to go to try it. The fish market is next door to a row of restaurants serving up fresh crab seasoned with Kampot pepper. Locals and visitors alike flock here as it’s like nowhere else in Cambodia.

Many people enjoy dining by the beach in Kep for the views and to feel the coastal breeze, and there are plentiful options by Kep Beach. A little further along the coast, Coconut Beach isn’t so much a beach in Kep as there’s no sand, but it is a spot where there are a number of low-key food shacks serving delicious seafood. All restaurants in Kep serve crab as well as a range of other fish, including red snapper, gold band snapper and tuna. Since Kep is a Khmer holiday resort too, most restaurants have a range of Khmer dishes on the menu too.

For international flavours, Koki serves proper hand-made pizzas, while the Kep Lodge Restaurant and Bar serves Swiss specialities such as fondue, as well as Khmer cuisine.

For high end dining in Kep, Strand is a great option, with the opportunity to have a romantic meal on a dock directly over the sea. The restaurant at Veranda Natural Resort in Kep National Park is also of excellent quality, with stunning views over the surrounding natural vistas an added bonus.

For drinks in the evening, Baraka, Be Be Bar and KepaCabana are the most popular spots.

Get in

From Kampot

The road is paved, smooth and well sign posted. 25 km, 30-45 min trip. Bus US$3 (2020). For a motorcycle taxi (US$2-3) or tuk-tuk (around US$6) be prepared to bargain like a local or pay a bit more. A tuk-tuk from PassApp is about US$10. Package day tours between the two towns often include a visit to nearby destinations such as Rabbit Island, the caves between Kampot and Kep, and a pepper plantation.

From Phnom Penh

The road is paved, smooth and well sign posted. Around 4 hr by bus. Several bus companies serve Kep (US$5-6) and offer various departure times between 07:00-15:00. 168 Phnom Penh Sorya bus company runs from the bus station near Phnom Penh's central market. Hua Lian is near Olympic Stadium (St 182, Oknha Tep Phan). Capitol Tours run from their offices in Phnom Penh. Hiring your own taxi should cost around USD40-50 (2½-3 hr).

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via rome2rio.com

From Sihanoukville

Minibuses take around 2 hr and cost around US$7 (shop around, prices vary). Departures are in the morning.

From Ha Tien, Vietnam

Motorbike taxis take 45 min and should cost over 100,000 dong (~US$5). Bargain hard and in dollars, it'll work out cheaper than in dong. It is a 45-min journey mainly on a dirt road.

Get around

Tuk-tuks are plentiful. Short trips around town should cost US$1-2, the price for a full day is between US$12-25. Some roads can be a little bumpy, but there is no major dust irritation like in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

Self-drive motorcycles can be rented for around US$7 per day for a small 125 cc or around US$14 for a 250 cc. Bicycles are also available for rent.

Contact us to get more information

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