The south coast of Cambodia is blessed with tropical white sand beaches, little islands, small fishing communities and national parks. It is a good place to relax, after being in the stressing city of Phnom Penh. It is also visited by very little number of tourists, since development here is very low at the moment.
Historically, the towns of Kep and Kampot where the most important centres in the region. Kep is no more than a fishing village on a small headland of palm-fringed coast, with narrow and grubby beaches, although it has a laid-back atmosphere which makes it a perfect place to just relax. It was founded as a colonial retreat for the French in 1908 and later was one of King Sihanouk’s favorite spots in Cambodia, where he used to entertain visiting foreign dignataries. The remains of magnificient colonial villas can be seen along the seafront, most of them destroyed by the Khmer Rouge guerrilla during the civil war.
We arrived to Kep by bus and found a guest house just by the sea. Enjoyed a couple of days there, just relaxing in the hammoks or strolling the coast line. We also did a day boat trip to one of the nearby islands, Koh Tonsay ( Rabbit Island). The island was a lot nicer than Kep seashore, with white sand and palm trees beaches, and an even more relaxed atmosphere. Just few tourists there, hanging on their hammoks, sunbathing, swimming or enjoying the pleasure of just doing nothing. The island perimeter could be explored in a couple of hours, but had a dense jungle in the middle that seemed quite impenetrable.
Three days after we moved to the riverside town of Kampot, which we wanted to use as a base to explore Bokor National Park and its abandoned hill station by motorbike. The bad news were that the road was closed due to improvement works on the pavement, so the only way to get there was with an organised trekking tour which we were not interested to join because of its elevated price. So we continued with our trip, heading to Sihanoukville on the next morning. We were not really interested in visiting this town, since we have read it is the main tourist town of Cambodia’s coast, full of tourists and well-to-do Khmers on the weekends. But we were hoping to arrange our Vietnam Tourist Visa there and thus leave Cambodia sometime soon.