We were in Kep just for the day. We found the entire town to be pretty abandoned, except at the Beach area.
- Statues (Dolphins, Shiva, Vishnu, Crab, White Horse, White Lady): This town has more statues at roundabouts than any other we’ve been to. It’s actually a weird mix: the White Lady is wearing too little clothing and has too strange of a pose for it to be locally-inspired, and there’s a Dolphin statue with a woman in quite scanty clothing. On the other hand, Shiva and Vishnu seem to be in their traditional poses (based on museum art), and the White Horse is as expected – though on the local map, it looks more like a White Unicorn. No one seems to take much notice of these, and I got a few weird looks for taking their photos.
- Independence Monument: This place was completely deserted, and it looked just like the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh.
- Crab Restaurants: There is a battalion of crab shacks standing on stilts in the water. There is much debate about which one(s) are the best, though they don’t seem super different from one another. When the recommended one (So Kheang) was closed, they sent us next door to a place called Sunset View. Though it was noon during high season, we had the restaurant to ourselves until the very end, when a French family arrived. The crab came whole, including the eyes, pretty much as it had been in the sea; it was a tiny bit creepily fresh. It was also delicious, dipped in the pepper sauce, without extra butter or anything else to mask the taste. I also ordered the grilled fish. Though some recommend against eating river fish, it was very tender and delicious, and didn’t make me sick in the least.
- Kep Beach: This is a nice, white sand beach. Surprisingly, we even saw locals here: most of them were sitting on the cement separating the sidewalk from the beach, picnicking. Though it was a weekday, it was a bit of a party atmosphere, with fish, fruit, and other victuals shared among friends. There were two Khmer families in the water, though of course, they were all completely covered up, in dark shirts and long shorts; some were even swimming in jeans. The Westerners on the beach were not as respectful, sporting bikinis as they sunbathed. The weather was nice for sleeping on the beach too, especially if you had a blanket to try to keep the overactive bugs away. Definitely recommended for a day at the beach.
What We Missed
- Crab Market: We intended to go to this hotbed of crustacean negotiation. However, after the vast quantity of crab we ate at lunch, we couldn’t fathom eating more of it. This link has a good guide to haggling at the market though.
- Kep National Park: I didn’t see this place except on our map, but I figured they must have some hiking opportunities somewhere. We didn’t get to this though.
- Vipassana Thurac Meditation: This is rumored to be one of those ten-day silent meditation retreats. Given our recent retreating, we opted out. Also, silence for ten days??!
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