Kep Sur Mer (by the Sea) as it once was known, has a rich, glamorous history which was violently interrupted during the Khmer Rouge era. It is now in resurgence as a popular day trip excursion for visitors from nearby Kampot or even Phnom Penh.
The newly white sand Kep beach, the Crab Market and hip boutique hotels such as Knai Bang Chatt and it’s Kep Sailing Club have given this town its mojo back. Plans are also being made to transform this still sleepy town into a future eco-tourism destination.
History of Kep, Cambodia
During the 60s, sometimes known as Cambodia’s “golden age”, Kep was a vacation destination for the rich and famous.
“Kep during the sixties was like a kind of a Cote d’ Azur. It was frequented by rich people and high ranking people of the Kingdom, even the King and the Queen Mother”Om Rasadei to the Phnom Penh Post in 2001 (read)
Today, there are green shoots of the new glamour. Case in point, take a look at promotional videos for our pick for the best hotel in Kep – the Knai Bang Chatt and its Kep Sailing Club.
The Kep Sailing Club is enough good reason to take an excursion from nearby Kampot:
Kep is known as Krong Kaeb locally (“Kep Town”). What we love about Kep is the way the land sits along the sea. Soft hills make for a curvy drive along the water. French and modernist homes that used to host elegant parties are skeletons of their former selves – often with edgy graffiti.
Yet land prices are skyrocketing and the wealthy are once again returning to the Cambodian Riviera. Youtubers are circling with stories like the one below highlighting the best hotels and resorts in Kep.
Kep is also becoming known as a global foodie town. Appearing in TimeOut magazine’s “16 Most Underrated Food Cities”, Chanthy Yen, founder of Touk and chef of Parliament Pub & Parlour in Montreal, had this to say of Kep:
“The most underrated food city in the world that I’ve experienced would be Kep in Cambodia.”Chanthy Yen, chef at Parliament Pub & Parlour
Let’s hope the new glamour is able to maintain the effortless chic of the 60s.