Best Ways To Enjoy Kep, Cambodia's Beach Town

Best Ways To Enjoy Kep, Cambodia's Beach Town
Sarah
Sarah 
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Kep, a small beach town located in Cambodia, is rather sleepy. You won’t find hopping nightclubs, luxury shopping or famous museums. Instead, you will find plenty of amazing seafood, white-sand beaches and organic pepper farms.

Plan on spending 2-3 days here, depending on how much relaxation you want, before jettisoning off to Cambodia’s party beach town of Sihanoukville or the miraculous Angkor temples in Siem Reap. Amid all of the activity that Cambodia offers, Kep is the perfect location to relax and recharge your batteries.

Gorge on the sweetest crab you will ever eat

best ways to enjoy kep, cambodia's beach town | gorge on the sweetest crab you will ever eat

Most people don’t know what makes up Cambodian cuisine. If you have heard of any dish, it is most likely fish amok, which is a fish curry soup. It should not be surprising that Cambodia offers its fair share of seafood, given that its coastline is along the Gulf of Thailand. More specifically, Kep is famous for its crab.

While the crabs are not large, the meat is sweet and juicy. Kep Crab Market is located directly on the water. Here you will see local women walking back and forth into the ocean to grab their crab pots overflowing with crabs. The women bring in fresh crab throughout the day to sell to the many restaurants strategically located next to the Crab Market. Otherwise, the crabs are sold to locals and travelers alike, who buy crab directly from the women and then have one of the many vendors in the Crab Market cook the crabs for them.

The restaurants next to Kep Crab Market serve mostly crab, but all of them also offer other types of seafood, including fish, shrimp, squid, etc, as well as other Cambodian and Western dishes. The crab can be prepared any number of ways. You may order it steamed with butter, fried with Kampot pepper, and fried with a lime and chili sauce. The options are practically endless and it is always delicious! Eating the Kep crab is messy and hard work but entirely worth it!

Learn about one of the most famous peppers in the world

best ways to enjoy kep, cambodia's beach town | learn about one of the most famous peppers in the world

Although it is known as “Kampot pepper”, the organic pepper farms are easily accessible from Kep via tuk tuk (a small motorized vehicle) or motorbike. The drive to the farms takes approximately twenty minutes. One of the most popular pepper farms to visit is Sothy’s Pepper Farm.

Tours at Sothy’s are free but you may want to tip your guide. Throughout the tour, you will learn how to grow peppercorns. After maturing for three years, peppercorn vines may be cultivated for twenty years if they are properly taken care of.

While unripe peppercorns are green, all types of pepper come from the same type of peppercorns. Unripe green peppercorns are harvested, boiled for two minutes, and sun dried for a week. This makes black pepper. When you take the black skin off, you can make white pepper, which is less spicy. When peppercorns are ripe, they will be red. These red peppercorns are harvested, boiled for two minutes and sun dried for a week to produce red pepper.

Sothy’s makes all three types of pepper on their organic farm. During the tour, you will see and learn about this process in more depth. It is really interesting to learn about the process because you will be eating Kampot pepper on many dishes during your time in Cambodia.

Enjoy a beach day at Rabbit Island

best ways to enjoy kep, cambodia's beach town | enjoy a beach day at rabbit island

There is a beach located in Kep; however, it is located directly next to the main road. While pretty, you can hear the sound of the town all around you. It doesn’t exactly feel like a beautiful secluded beach. If you want a quieter beach experience, jump on the ferry to Rabbit Island. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes and they run throughout the day. A round-trip ticket costs 6.00 USD (24,000 KHR).

The beach on Rabbit Island is longer than the beach in Kep, so even though a lot of people venture to Rabbit Island for the day, you can easily find a remote beach chair to lounge on. The beach chairs and hammocks are, surprisingly, free of charge.

There are also a few restaurants set up along the beach so if you plan on being there all day, there is no need to pack a lunch. Many of the restaurants have happy hours that begin at 11 am and don’t stop until after the sunset, so be sure to take full advantage with a tropical drink in hand.

Kep is Cambodia's hidden gem

There is definitely something special about Kep. Just in case you haven’t had enough crab towards the end of your trip, you can take a picture with the large crab statue that both welcomes you to Kep and bids you farewell on your departure. The memories of the tasty crab, interesting learning experience at the pepper farms, and relaxing day at Rabbit Island are sure to last longer than the tan you are no doubt going to leave Kep with.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Sarah is a 24-year old travel-enthusiast who recently returned home to the United States after a year teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is a city-girl at heart, having lived in Phoenix,...Read more

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