Kep beach

Kep beach

A white-out

More on Kep

Once a rather dreary stretch of grey sand, Kep Beach has been transformed into a squeaky, shiny white beach thanks to an ambitious importation of sand from nearby Kampot, which has the sand but no beach. Despite having to be regularly topped-up, Kep Beach is now a pleasant spot for sun worshippers.

Travelfish says:

Since the French colonists selected Kep-sur-Mer as their holiday destination of choice in 1908, this somnolent seaside town has welcomed discerning tourists. In its golden age of the 1950s and ’60s, fancy sports cars, daring bikinis and lavish villas rang to the sounds of laughter and the clink of Champagne glasses.

kepbeach2

There’s a beach tucked in there somewhere…

Led by Phnom Penh expats, followed by backpackers and more and more Cambodians, Kep and its beach are undergoing a revival. Sand is now the town’s biggest import.

kepbeach1

On a choppy day.

Formerly, part of Kep’s charm lay in its incongruous rating as a city, when the whole province only has 40,000 inhabitants. Many days, you were likely to encounter more cows and monkeys than residents. Ruined villas, delicious crabs, a generously bottomed statue and island views were the mainstay of entertainment. The beach, sadly, was uninspiring and those who liked the feel of silicon between the toes hot-footed it across the channel to Rabbit Island.

kepbeach

Somebody had a sudden bout of modesty.

Sand deliveries are now made every two weeks and have somewhat changed all that. Extra top-ups are timed to coincide with high-crowd days and holidays. The sand is filtered before it’s deposited and a team of workers clean the beach every morning and pull the sand back from the sea. This is some serious beach maintenance. Of course, time and tide wait for no beach, so at the end of the fortnight the gritty black stuff makes a reappearance.

The new kilometre-long beach is longer and much more welcoming than before. On holiday weekends, it’s packed with Cambodians families floating in inner tubes, consuming their bodyweight in crab and holding impromptu parties. During the week, it’s quiet and you’re unlikely to be disturbed. So dig out your two-piece, pack the Pastis, fire up that convertible, and follow in French footprints in the squeaky white sand.

Contact details for Kep beach

Coordinates (for GPS): 104º17'38.82" E, 10º28'44.39" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Free

Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

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Our top 3 other sights and activities in and around Kep

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Crab market
Crab market

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