Kep, Cambodia

Residents and tourists abandoned Kep’s smart villas and grand mansions while civil war, the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese occupation took their toll, but since the 1990s, this raffishly charming seaside outpost has been re-emerging from its shell. The sandy stretches aren’t the country’s finest, or the jungle the most extensive, but anyone with a hankering for adventure, a taste for seafood and an eye for architecture will discover a pearl on sleepy shores, far from the tide of mass tourism. Cambodia’s ‘riviera’ could be the unexpected highlight of your trip.

Recommended offers

See our boutique hotel deals

When to go

Weather-wise, November to March is the perfect time to visit; book ahead, as hotel beds will be in short supply. Beaches will also be busy with off-duty locals at weekends. Kep is best avoided during the height of the wet season (July to October): nobody likes sunbathing in the rain.

  • Best price guaranteed

    Found your stay cheaper? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher

  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    Phnom Penh is the closest airport (, 164km north of Kep, with good regional connections. International travellers are likely to fly in via Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Transfer in style – arrange a helicopter to Kampot (+855 (0)23 213 706;
  • Boats

    Plans are afoot to establish a direct hydrofoil service between the beautiful Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc and the coast of Cambodia, just a one-hour journey away. Most Cambodians still refer to this island as Koh Tral, lamenting its loss. Either way, this will be a great route once up and running for connections from Vietnam.
  • Trains

    After four decades of neglect, the railway link from Phnom Penh to Kep is closed for repairs.
  • Automobiles

    Kep lies three hours south of Phnom Penh by road. Forget self-drive: ask your hotel to charter a car with a driver – you can pay the driver to stay on so you have wheels to explore or hire a local driver once you arrive. If you’re travelling overland from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, arrange a hotel pick-up from the border at Prek Chak, near Ha Tien.
  • Taxis

    There are no metered taxis in Kep, so smart Smiths may opt to visit with their own chauffeured car. Hotels can arrange vehicles or local options include remorque-motos (a Cambodian tuk tuk) or motorbike taxis – a fun way to get around if it’s not raining.