UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

Kep province, located on the Cambodian's coast near the Vietnamese border, is one of Cambodia's youngest. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most unknown.

The eponymous city (also known as Kep-Sur-Mer) has been a highly prized holiday location from the early 20th century to the 60's by Cambodian and French elites alike. However, it was only in 2008, when the government of Cambodia was trying to ignite a new spark of interest for its littoral, that Kep became a province of its own.

If this little peninsular city, backed by mountains while fronted by the ocean, is still as charming as it ever was, it keeps shadowing the rest of the province. Indeed, most of the guidebooks barely mention the city, as if it was still part of the larger Kampot province surrounding it.

Of course, the town is highlighted, along with its crab market and its colonial architecture. Equally praised is Rabbit Island, a couple of miles offshore. Sadly, the countryside is forgotten most of the time.

Yet, it is filled with resources, both natural and cultural. Mangroves, fishing villages, and pepper plantations scatter the province, and clearly deserve your particular attention. Between high grounds and deep waters, Kep province offers landscapes that you will find nowhere else in Cambodia. However, to fully enjoy it, you might have to get off the beaten tracks.

Posted in English.

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