Kep was originally set up for the Cambodian French elite back in 1908. Luxurious villa ruins can be still be found across the area, reviving memories of what it once was a glorious French colonial resort town. Nowadays Kep is a sleepy seaside town that despite lacking an actual ‘centre’ it is making a comeback among Cambodia’s top destinations.
Kep is the smallest province in Cambodia, covering only 336 km2. It is entirely surrounded by Kampot province with exception of 16 km of coastline in front of the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc. Kep is famous for its amazing seafood (particularly for its fresh crab) and wonderful sunsets. Kep beach, once a lifeless stretch of rocks and grey sand, is now ‘importing’ sand from nearby Kampot. The kilometre-long beach is topped-up every two weeks, making it more appealing and welcoming for visitors.
The province comprises 13 islands and islets located at the east side of the Kep Peninsula. The main island – Koh Thonsay or ‘Rabbit Island’ is one of the most easily accessible and also one of the least developed; there are very few residents, no electricity and no motor vehicles. The atmosphere in this island is incredibly peaceful and there are a few businesses renting snorkels, masks and serving incredible seafood.