Kep is built around the edges of a small jungle-clad peninsula that juts into the gulf of Thailand. In 1908, the town was established as a seaside retreat for Cambodia’s French colons. After Cambodia declared independence in 1953, Kep became a favourite resort for the country’s moneyed elite. In the 1970s and 80s, Kep’s villas were systematically bombed and looted by the Khmer Rouge and the invading Vietnamese. Kep remained a blackened ghost town until the early 2000s when tourism brought about its redevelopment. Today, paved roads link the town to the rest of Cambodia and most homes finally have electricity. Kep’s abandoned villas have all been bought up and several luxury hotels are currently in construction: it’s only a matter of time before the entire town is restored to its former glory.
(click photos to enlarge)