Kep (Apr 7-9): Crab Market, National Park, and Some Darn Good Fish!

My next destination after Phnom Penh was Kep. I had the option of taking the early bus at 7am (and be ready by 6:30am) or wait until 12pm (and be ready by 11:30am). Since I had already done quite a few early mornings, I naturally opted for the later time for $8USD/$10.95AUD. I was told that it would only take about 3.5 hours, so I wasn’t too concerned. I actually ended up waking up quite early (thanks to a couple in my room, if you catch my drift.. cough cough) so I decided to get up and ready for the day, check out, and go to Decathlon so that I could get a bigger bag to put my backpack and painting in. It took about 45 minutes each way, so by the time I got back, I had about an hour and a half to eat something before I’d get picked up. However, it was the slowest service ever! I ordered a burger and it took over an hour – I thought I might just have to leave without eating. Luckily, I got my burger with about five minutes to spare, so I ate it as fast as I could but felt bad because there was a couple who had ordered before me and one of them was STILL waiting for their food. Right when I finished eating, my tuktuk came and picked me up to take me to the bus station. Then I had to take my ticket to the ticket booth and she gave me a different ticket with a bottle of water, and told me to board the bus cause it would be leaving in about 15 minutes. The bus ride took way longer than expected (at least an hour late) due to horrible traffic getting out of Phnom Penh, as well as horrible traffic along the main road. I think we arrived in Kep at about 5:30pm, and I was able to get the bus to stop at the end of my hostel’s road (because I was staying outside of the main city of Kep). I was staying in a place called Khmer House Hostel and I got my own bedroom and bathroom for $7USD/$9.58AUD per night.

I had only booked one night but I loved the idea of having my own room, so I extended for another night. However, the room was SO hot – I only had a fan above me so it was starfish-sleeping-position the entire night. I had dinner at the hostel that night (apparently they have their own restaurant at the Crab Market as well) and I decided to order fish with peppercorn sauce.

Kep is known for two things – the seafood, and the pepper (which actually comes from its neighbouring city, Kampot) so I decided to try both in one go for $7USD/$9.58AUD. It was absolutely amazing! The hostel owner definitely knows what she’s doing when it comes to cooking. I decided to call it an early night since I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

On Monday morning, I got up and decided to check out the famous Crab Market and then go for a hike in the National Park. Even though I was quite far from the city, I decided to walk because it was only about 20 minutes away. Again though, it was in 39-degree weather (with the humidex), so I started melting pretty fast. I went to the Crab Market first, which seemed to be mostly locals. It was cool watching some of the people swimming in the water, collecting the traps filled with crabs, and I even got to watch the ladies sorting through the crabs and saw some of the famous blue crabs.

Even though Kep’s symbol is a crab and it has the Crab Market, ordering crab is actually starting to be frowned upon because the crabs have been overtrapped, so many people don’t want to support the industry anymore. I therefore made sure that I stuck to ordering fish at the restaurants (which was still just as good!). After awhile at the Fish Market, I walked towards the entrance to the national park, which took another 15-20 minutes. I was already completely sweating and out of breath before even making it to the entrance. When I got to the entrance, there was a man sleeping in the stand, so I made sure to walk through the gravel extra loudly so that he knew I was coming. I had to pay $1USD/$1.37AUD and sign myself into the book. Then I was on my way! It was supposed to be an 8km round trip and take about 2 hours. However, I realised that the path going around the outside was really just an old road, so I got bored after about an hour. When I made it halfway, I noticed that there was a Transverse Path that basically cut straight towards the entrance that I came through, but went through the forest and straight up a hill. I figured I might as well try it because it seemed more like a hike than what I was doing, but after less than five minutes later, I started to regret my decision. It was hot, there were leaves all over the path (I’m not sure if anyone else really walked there), and there were a lot more mosquitoes.

After about an hour of walking through the forest, I just wanted to get out so I walked south until I found another exit and then walked along the coastline. One thing I noticed about Kep was that there were signs everywhere that said “Cleanest City,” but it was so dirty everywhere! Litter was all over the streets and the beaches, and it really took away from the whole thing (much of Cambodia was like this though, with the exception of Koh Rong Samloem). After walking along the coast for about a half hour, I decided to get some lunch since it was nearly 2pm.

I went to a taco place called Beachside Tacos, and I may have had the most amazing fish tacos I’ve had in my life! They were cooked perfectly, had so much flavour, and were so delicious.

Plus three tacos, a Pepsi, and a milkshake only cost me $4.65USD/$6.36AUD! After eating, I was thinking about going to the beach but it was so busy and I didn’t know where I’d keep my stuff, so I just walked back to the hostel.

I showered and then went to watch the sunset, but the sun got hidden behind the clouds on the way down.

Therefore, I went back to the hostel and had dinner with a guy from Portugal. By the time we finished dinner, it was too late for me to book a bus for the following morning, so the hostel owner told me to come at 8 the next morning to book a bus.

On Tuesday morning, I got up and went straight to the counter to book a bus to Kampot for 10:30am. That way, I had a couple hours to pack up my stuff and have breakfast before leaving. Love always

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