Friends, let this be a lesson for you all: Getting crabs is not worth it. But since Kep, Cambodia is known for it world-class crab, you at least have to try. So I did! And don't get me wrong, crab meat is delicious, and the Kampot Pepper sauce slathering said crab is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. But the pure amount of WORK to eat it! And the mess! The time spent digging out teaspoons of flesh! I mean, there are countless other foods that are just as delicious and only one-tenth of the work.
I'm over it. You crab lovers can keep your sea bugs. I'm gonna stick with food that doesn't have a protective shell and sharp claws.
Alright. Now that I'm finished with that rant, let me tell you about Kep! It is a beautiful seaside town, with ocean breezes and hammocks galore, along with some lovely hiking trails. But that's about it. If you want any activities or entertainment, you'll have to bring your own.
Kep sure tries! There are blogs galore that will tell you the "Top Ten Things to Do in Kep," "Seven Things in Kep You Can't Miss," and "Where to Stay and Eat in Kep!" But if you really want to enjoy it, keep your expectations low.
I'm not saying don't go! Definitely visit Kep and Rabbit Island, because it is beautiful and chill and relaxing. But make sure you go to Kep with the expectation that it will be beautiful, chill, and relaxing. Go to Kep because you want to spend hours reading Harry Potter for the thousandth time or because you realized that Amazon Prime comes with thousands of free books so you just downloaded about a hundred on your Kindle! Go to Kep because you're overwhelmed with the number of people in the city and you want to swing in a hammock and avoid human interaction for a few hours. Go to Kep because you feel like you're going to hurl if you cycle by one more mound of foul-smelling garbage that has been sitting in the gutter for about a month. Go to Kep precisely because there is nothing to do and no one to see.
Maybe even go to Kep because the small National Park there is one of the few places in Cambodia where you can hike without a guide (it's landmine free)! It's small -- the longest trail is 8 km -- but it is a beautiful, dense jungle, complete with monkeys and birdsong and a few vistas! Just remember your bug spray, because there are some serious mosquito clouds if you stop moving. The park also gives you even more of that coveted solitude. In a half day of hiking, I ran into two people total, which is impressive in such a compact park.
And if you have the time, go to Rabbit Island because it is the nothingness of Kep on another level. Do like I did and rent yourself a primitive bungalow next to the water. Turn off your phone because the island only has electricity from 6-10pm, so you'll just run out of batteries anyway. Take some photos and make friends with the island animals. Eat some fresh-caught fish amok. If you can, make ordering food and drinks the only conversations you have with humans (you're allowed to talk to the animals, they never have much to say). Then, as night falls, take an evening swim, listen to an hour of local karaoke until the electricity switches off, get a lovely night's sleep, and wake up early to watch the sunrise and catch a boat back to the mainland.
So yeah, go to Kep and Rabbit Island and expect ONLY relaxation, sunshine, ocean breezes and views, exceptional sunsets, fresh fish, and peace. You won't be disappointed.