Over the Pchum Ben holiday last week, I visited Kep, a seaside town about a three hour drive from Phnom Penh. We needed a break from the noise of Phnom Penh and Kep was the perfect reprieve to escape. The lush green landscape, cascading mountains in the background, spectacular sunsets, fresh seafood, and laid back lifestyle was what we needed to break away from the urban jungle. Our time there was short, but it was just enough to remind us the beauty of nature in this resplendent retreat. Slow down, escape the noise and join me on this photo tour to get a taste of tranquility and nature in Kep, Kampot, and Bokor.
Once known as the St. Tropez (Kep Sur Mer) of Southeast Asia, the quaint town once housed beautiful villas owned by the late King Father Sihanouk, and other wealthy Cambodians and expats. When the Khmer Rouge took over, villas were abandoned, some destroyed, and of course neglected. Now with peace and stability, Kep is slowly gaining back it's quintessential charm and reputation as an oasis of paradise.
On the road to Kampot, we see a little girl waiting to cross the street on her oversized bicycle with the lush trees in the background. The rainy season, while at it's worst causes flooding, brings forth the best views of the countryside with emerald hues across the country, from the lush green rice paddies to the coconut trees.
Our final destination that day was to see Phnom Bokor. As we climbed up the mountain the hot sun was replaced by deep jungles, dense fog, and cool misty air. As we arrived at the top, an unexpected and pleasant surprise was to see an old, large, and active pagoda surrounded with people making offerings for the Pchum Ben holiday. With the fog, cool air, and colorful flags, for a moment I thought we were in Tibet rather than Cambodia.
As we drove down the mountain it started to rain heavily. The roads going to/from the mountain were one of the best in Cambodia, clean, maintained, no potholes, well lit, good signs, and guards monitoring it. People also drove better going up/down the mountain with the twists and turns. In the rainy season the weather changes quickly from sunny skies to zero visibility. As we went down it started to pour rain and visibility became difficult.