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KEP CITY

kep
Kep City is a municipality in Cambodia with the status of a province. Kep is just a few kilometres from the border with Vietnam located and used to be Cambodia's most popular beach town but has fallen on hard times in recent years (especially due to the Khmer Rouge). Many of Kep's, mostly French villas are abandoned, but some of the town's former splendour is still apparent.
 
The see is lined with huge sidewalks and some large statues that now seem largely out of place. The king built a palace overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, but it was never furnished and now sits empty. A good, paved road connects the small town with the 15km far away Kampot. The slightly darker beaches than in Sihanoukville are mostly scattered with mangroves and black rocks, but Koh Thonsay (Rabbit Island) is just a short boat ride away (approx. ½h).
 
Kep appears to be experiencing something of a renaissance, with several mid-range and luxury guesthouses and bungalows recently opened or still under construction. The seafood is cheap, plentiful and delicious - particularly the quite famous crabs. Kep is also home to an extensive national park covering some mountains with deep green jungle.
 
The French established Kep City during the colonial time in 1908. Today Kep is mainly popular to the domestic tourists, who choose Kep as their holiday destination. What's more, Kep offers great seafood and magnificent views of the mountains and the beaches.
 
Taking a boat to the nearby islands is also a breathtaking experience. Another itinerary, which must not be missed, is an excursion to the serene waterfalls of 'Tuk Chhou" situated about 10 km from Kampot. Kep City is located in the Southwest of Phnom Penh. The city is accessible by the National Road No 3 from Phnom Penh via Kampot province (173 km) or by the National Road No 2 from Phnom Penh via Takeo province. 
 
Especially during the Sixties, during the time of Sang Kum Reas Ni Yum the city was developed as a beautiful seaside tourist resort for the rich and government. The story related to the name of Kep said that there was a king named Sa Kor Reach, who had a mighty spell. He put a sleeping spell on a commander at AngKor Thum, than stole the commander's white horse and fled together with his troop to the Southwestern seaside.
 
When he took a rest at the seaside, he was overhauled by the commander's troops, who chased him from behind. Suddenly, he got on the horseback; the horse reared, and made him fall down on the ground together with the saddle. Then, he got on the horseback again and fled away without picking up the saddle, because the commander's troops almost approached him. So that's why this area was called ' Kep Seh ' meaning ' the saddle ', nowadays it's only called ' Kep '.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE
Kep City municipality is 336 square kilometres big. It's located in the South of the country and is bordering to the North, East and West with Kampot and to the South with the Gulf of Thailand. The province has not so much typical plain wet area like other provinces of Cambodia, as there are some foothills from the Elephant Mountains coming from Kampot province. You can see not so sparse grey limestone hills akin to the Vietnamese ones. Nevertheless there are areas covered with rice fields and other agricultural plantations.

The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
 
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees.
 
December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
 
General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November- March (20-26c)
- Hot season: March- May (29c -34c)
- Rainy season: May - October (22-30c, with humidity up to 90%.)
POPULATION
The current population in this municipality is about 40,280 people or 0,3% of the country?s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 20,130 male and 20,150 female. The population density is therefore 119 people per square kilometre.
HOW TO GET THERE ?
Bus: 
To/From Phnom Penh:
Via paved and in comparative good condition National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot and from there additional 25km to Kep. This road is more recommendable than the alternative National Highway No 2 leading to National Highway No 3 via Takeo province.
 
The buses to Kampot departure each day at 7:30am and midday around 1:15pm from the central bus station near the central market (Sorya Bus Company; No 168). You may also take a bus directly to Kep taking National Highway No 2 and for the last strip Major Road No 31, which is a little bumpy. The prices with a usual old air-con bus for both ways are around US$4 per a person and trip. The trip usually takes approx. 4-5h. To go back to Phnom Penh you just have to contact your guesthouse in Kep and they?ll organize everything for you with pleasure.
 
From Kampot: The road from Kampot to Kep is paved and smooth. 25km, 30-45 minute trip. Follow the road from Kampot to the White Horse Monument and turn right. At the next main turnoff, turn right to the beach/market area. Moto dups charge about $2-$3 one-way and $6 round trip.
 
Share Taxis:
Going from Phnom Penh with a share taxi you can find one at Phsar Dumkor in Phnom Penh or opposite of central bus station. The prices are between 22,000 -28,000Riel/person or $26-$32 for a private taxi. The 3 hours ride is shorter as with the slowly bus.
 
Motorbike Info:
Via paved and in comparative good condition National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot and from there additional 25km to Kep via Major Road No 33. This road is more recommendable than the alternative National Highway No 2 leading to National Highway No 3 via Takeo province. You may also head directly to Kep taking National Highway No 2 and for the last strip Major Road No 31, which is a little bumpy and dusty during dry season.
 
From Kampot: The road from Kampot to Kep is paved and smooth. 25km, 30-45 minute trip. Follow the road from Kampot to the White Horse Monument and turn right. At the next main turnoff, turn again right to the beach/market area. You're in the centre of the town.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Kep Beach 
A single, kilometer long crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula. Dining platforms and seafood vendors line the road behind the beach. Busy on weekends but often deserted during the week. The road through Kep traces the coastline to the beach and then circles back on itself. Cars and vans must pay admission to drive the loop (2500R - 5000R). Motorcycles and pedestrians are free. Be aware that the loop is an one-way street and the police do occasionally enforce the law, levy fines against violators.
 
Koh Ton Say Resort
Koh Ton Say Resort is the natural resort locating at the Southeast of Kep town in 4.5-kilometer distance from the town, and has two beaches suitable for swimming because they have white sand and shallow water. At the bottom of the sea, there are varied fish, plant and coral, which enable the research on ecology.
 
The name Koh Ton Say comes from the word Rum Say meaning Spread out. Because when the King, Sa Kor Reach is hopeless for struggle due to his troop and parties break off, he leads the remaining troop acrossing the sea to an island in front of Kep town, then his troop spread out there. So that we call the island Koh Rum Say, after that we call Koh Ton Say until now.
 
Koh Ton Say has two-square kilometer landarea. Before, prisoners were sent here for correcting and defending the island. The tourist infrastructures at the island were constructed during the Sang Kum Reas Ni Yum time such as path of horse cart around the island, wooden motel and restaurant, clean-water system and other administrative buildings etc. But, because of the past more than two decades of war and natural disaster, these infrastructures have almost completely been damaged. Nowadays, the island settled by seven families, who earn their living by small fishing and maintaining coconut plantation.
 
Phnom Sar Sear
Phnom Sar Sear is a nature and cultural site located about 14 Kilometers southwest of Kep city. this mountain is called Phnom Sar Sear because, according to Khmer legend mentioned above, when Prince Sakor Reach led the troops to this place, he got off his horse and moved furtively2 ahead of his pursuers along the mountainside, where at that time there was an island to which he fled. Thus, the mountain was called Phnom Sar Sear.
 
Phnom Sar Sear is composed of three small mountains about 1.5 square kilometers. It is about 40 meters high. The site features two natural caves-Phnom Dorei Sar and Phnom Ach Prochiev-which tourists can explore. In Phnom Damrei Sar cave, there is a beautiful mountain well called Viel Sre Muoy Roy. In the past, this site was also popular with filmmakers.
 
At the foot of the mountain are a number of small halls where clergymen and nuns meditate. Along the way to the mountaintop, there is a Buddhist pagoda where monks live. On the mountaintop sits a colorful, finely sculpted stupa built in 1964 by Prince Rasmei Sophoan. A place of worship, it also houses a Buddha relic.
 
The fresh air and beautiful natural scenery make Phnom Sar Sear popular with tourists throughout the year. From the mountaintop, visitors have an excellent view of rice pad-dies, the islands and the sea below, as well as the distant mountains. Buddhists go there to pray for good fortune.
 
Phnom Sar Sear Resort
Phnom Sar Sear Resort is the natural and cultural resort locating at the Southeast in 14-kilometer distance from the provincial town of Kam Pot. When the King, Sa Kor Reach and his troop arrive at the seaside area, he gets off the horseback and move furtively along the mountain side (at that time the mountain was an island) for fleeing. So that, We call the mountain Sar Sear means move furtively. Phnom Sar Sear consists of three-small mountains having approximate 1.5-square kilometer landarea. The mountain with approximate 40-meter height.
 
Tourists can enjoy themselves in the mountain caves such as the cave of Phnom Ach Pro Chiev and especially the cave of Phnom Dam Rey Sar where we found a great architecture of Viel Sre 100 inside. On the mountaintop of Sar Sear there is an artistic and color full Stupa built in 1964 by the princess, Rasmey Sou Phoan. The Stupa is the worshipping place where we believe in the three sacred objects of Buddhist and the cremated ash of Buddhist also kept. From the mountain foot to the top, there are meandering stairs, pagodas with monks, and many cottages for nuns and laymen. Phnom Sar Sear has beautiful natural scenery for all seasons.
 
On the mountaintop, we can view the scene of rice fields, forest, local villages, island, vast sea etc. The mountain is also the worshipping place for people who go there for praying and wishing for happiness and other fortunes in Buddhism.
 
Salt Manufacturing
Salt Manufacturing is well known in Cambodia and found in the seaside province of Kampot. The product assured for local consumption and exportation.
 
Wat Samot Reangsey
Wat Samot Reangsey, Kep City is one of those sites which you should not miss while you are on your Kep City Tours. Kep is popular as a serene seaside city tucked away 173 kilometers to the south west of Phnom Penh. The city was founded in 1908 during the times of the French colonization. The city was received its seaside resort in the 1960s during the Prince Norodom Sihanouk's Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime. It is interesting to know that the name of the city was derived from the French words 'le cap' or 'cape' in English. Wat Samot Reangsey, Kep City is one of the well known Tourist Attractions in Kep City.
 
Wat Samot Reangsey, Kep City is actually a historical site and its ancient buildings date back to years ago. Wat Samot Reangsey in Kep City is located in the Kep Village of the Kep Commune. Arriving here is easy and hassles-free and the most convenient route is the one from the provincial town. A journey of mere 2 km. will fetch you to this destination. It will take around 20 minutes to reach Wat Samot Reangsey, Kep City. This place remains a must visit for you as it will give you a fascinating insight into the history and culture of the land. travel.mapsofworld.com offers complete online information on Wat Samot Reangsey, Kep City.
 
Zoo
Zoo, Kep City is one of the most visited sites among the various Tourist Attractions in Kep City. Kep is a seaside city tucked away 173 kilometers to the south west of Phnom Penh. History has it that it was founded in 1908 during the times of the French colonization. Kep City was transformed into a beautiful seaside resort during the Prince Norodom Sihanouk's Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime in the 1960s.The name of the city is derived from the French words 'le cap' or 'cape' in English.
 
Today, Kep City has evolved into one of the major tourist destinations in Cambodia with its natural splendor and cultural sites. Zoo, Kep City is one of the most popular and most frequently visited places in this part of Kep City.Zoo, Kep City actually refer to the Teuk Chhou Zoo which is a private zoo. It is located at a distance of 2.5 km away from the provincial town. If you are traveling from Kep, a 45 minutes' drive will take you conveniently to the zoo. This Zoo in Kep City is located in Thmei Village in the Prey Thom Commune in the Kep District. It is home to several species of plant and animal species which are native to the land.
 
Zoo, Kep City features different animals including lions and tigers and their cubs, elephants, monkeys of different species, snakes, deer, bears including a couple of sun bears, otter and many more. This is a wonderful place to spend a fun filled with your family and especially, the children are simply going to love the experience. The ticket for the entry includes a small charge if you want to drive your car through the zoo. The ticket includes access to the national park. Inside, you can even make a splash or take a cool dip in the crystal clear water of the Teuk Chhou River.Apart from the Zoo, Kep City, there are several other attraction sites which tourists can visit and these are Koh Ton Say Resort, Phnom Sar Sear, Veal Lumher and Wat Samot Reangsey.
WHERE TO EAT ?
Kep's most popular tourist activity is having a fresh seafood picnic on the waterfront. The road opposite Kep Beach is lined with picnic platforms. Just rent a mat or find an empty platform and the vendors will present you fresh, sometimes still alive crabs, prawns, squid and fish from which you can choose. Be clear about how much food you want and the cost before they begin to prepare your meal. All of the other restaurants/bars in Kep are connected to the guesthouses.
 
The Crab Market:
The Crab Market in Kep is a perfect place to get all your seafood. There are plenty of small cosy restaurants which line the shore where you can eat and drink while watching the fishermen bring in their catch. Best time to pop in is for the magnificent sunset. All the seafood is fairly fresh! Ask for the Crab Curry or for the delicious stingray! Prices are quite reasonable. Enjoy it!
 
The Beach House: (tel:012/240090)
This restaurant offers a large selection of reasonably priced and tasty Western and Khmer food. Large range of fresh seafood. The full bar (including cappuccino machine) has a fantastic selection of fresh fruit juices and lots of cocktails. E.g. try the Teenycolada, an alcohol free cocktail!
 
Vanna Bungalows: (tel:012/755038)
The restaurant features lovely home cooked Khmer food with a big range of seafood. Western food is also available. The large dinning area can accommodate large groups as you may come with a bunch of people starving for fresh seafood.
 
Kep Beach Guesthouse: (tel: 012/820831)
This place offers a smaller range of food, but has a nice surrounding as it sits right next to the shore. The food is very delicious and comes at reasonable prices. The fresh prawns with Kampot pepper is a dish you shouldn’t miss here. It’s opened until 9:30pm.
 
Star Inn: (tel: 011/765999)
The restaurant is located opposite of the major beach just right next to all the small bamboo shacks. It features a rooftop restaurant serving Khmer and Western food including seafood. There is also a stylish separate beachfront bar overlooking Kep Beach. The prices are upscale.
 

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