I spent my last full weekend in the beachside town of Kep, which is about a 2 hour drive from Phnom Penh. It’s a sleepy, quiet village with not much to do. In other words, it was perfect! I stayed at a resort called Veranda, which is up on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. It reminded me of the Ewok Village from Star Wars VI. There were dogs and cats everywhere. For me, they were a fun addition to the experience, although I could understand how others might think dogs and cats wandering through the kitchen and dining area might be unsatisfactory. Here’s my room.
More after the jump …
On Saturday, I went for a hike in Kep National Forest. I took an 8 km route that surrounded a “phnom” (hill). I didn’t run into another person the entire route, although I did encounter a cow and two dogs who were guarding a house.
Probably the most interesting part of the hike was after I left the park and was walking along the road. I encountered several decaying houses, like the one below, which were likely hotels or villas abandoned when the Khmer Rouge took power. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Kep was a popular vacation destination for wealthy Cambodians as well as the French. The Khmer Rouge destroyed what they could in Kep; to them, it was a simple of bourgeois excess. At its heyday, Kep even had a casino. Now, like Ta Prohm (the “Tomb Raider” temple I visited a few weeks ago), nature is pushing back, slowly consuming the ruins. The link earlier in this paragraph has a nice summary about Kep’s former glory from the Phnom Post, a local newspaper.
After the hike (on which I burned 784 calories), I relaxed in the library at the top of the resort, drinking iced coffee and eating tiramisu while overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Tomorrow, I will take in the local food specialties: crabs and green peppercorns, including a visit to a pepper farm. Should be “exciting.”