Koh Rong, Kep & Kampot | What to see in the south of Cambodia?

Koh Rong, Kep & Kampot | What to see in the south of Cambodia?

It had been some time since we’d seen the sea, so we were looking forward to arriving on Koh Rong, one of Cambodia’s south-western islands, to relax and enjoy the beach. This stopover is just in time to recharge our batteries and get a tan!




Before heading to the islands of Koh Rong, your first stop is at Sihanoukville, a small, uninteresting town with a reputation for debauchery, but we hadn’t noticed anything except the numerous tuk tuks trying to sell you marijuana and cocaine. The town is the departure point for the boat to the Cambodian islands. Beware, prices are skyrocketing here, as you’re arriving in a tourist area of course. In low season, as hotels and restaurants are often empty, prices are easier to negotiate, and we had no trouble finding accommodation in a guesthouse not far from the port. ($10 for the room). We hadn’t booked any accommodation anywhere in Cambodia and never had any trouble finding a place to sleep in May 2015!



We tried out the barbecues offering grilled shellfish and vegetables: shrimps, squid, fish and potatoes, garlic bread… a real treat for only 4 dollars/person (food is more expensive and you’ll hardly find any street food in town).

Finally, we took advantage of the many discounts offered by the bars to sit on Serendipity beach, in wicker chairs, on cool sand, with our cocktail in hand! And yes, it doesn’t hurt once in a while… quite the contrary! Our stage was far too short to enjoy Sihanoukville’s famous beaches: Victory Beach with its beautiful coconut beach or Otres Beach for its sunset and crystal-clear water!

If you must spend a night in Sihanoukville, we recommend the Chochi Garden, which apparently appeals to many travelers. This centrally-located hotel, run by an Italian woman, has a long layout with rooms and bungalows. (expect to pay around $15 for a bungalow).



Did you know that the Kho Lanta team filmed on the island of Koh Rong? And yes, on the other side of the island, everything needed to accommodate the production team and film the candidates has been built: a hotel, base camps…

The weather wasn’t with us at the start of the trip (end of May 2015) and we were treated to a heavy monsoon, I’d even say the deluge on Sihanoukville as early as 7 a.m. and on a rainy day on Koh Rong! We even wondered if the boat was going to leave, and I could already see myself throwing up overboard!


Cambodia | beach | koh rong


Finally it rains, but the boat sails on a sea of oil… incredible! It’s a 2-hour crossing to Koh Rong. This party island is both big and small, as everything is concentrated on the same avenue in Koh Rong village: multiple guesthouses and restaurants for backpackers await you! If you’re looking for relaxation, avoid staying in the center of town, preferring small, more expensive bungalows overlooking the beach. This will prevent you from having rats roaming around your room and noise until 4am. We come to Koh rong to relax, swim and enjoy the translucent waters. Our stopover on this island wasn’t long, as we had to continue south to Kep and Kampot, but we would have stayed longer in our bungalow, nestled in the hills, as it was a real haven of peace, away from the party!

Our stay was enhanced by the charm of theWhite beach hotel. At the very end of the main beach, the hotel is much quieter than the backpacker hotels near the pier. The view of the white sandy beach from the hammock on the bedroom terrace, will immediately take you away from it all and invite you to idleness, because that’s what we come here for in Koh Rong. A place away from the center and the noise, where you feel like you’re alone in the world!

Visit 45 in high season (early November to late May) and 55 in low season (from the beginning of June to the end of October) for a double room and 50 in high season and 70 in low season for a 4-bed room. All this without breakfast, which costs about 5$/pers at the restaurant.


Cambodia | beach | koh rong


If I were to come back here, I would probably choose to stay at the Paradise Bungalow, at Coral Reef Resort or Reef on the beach to enjoy the white sandy beach and I would also go to the island of Koh Rong Samloem for its tranquility, its family atmosphere and because it’s still protected from mass tourism. Take the opportunity to swim at night and see the phosphorescent plankton. There would be no need to take an organized boat tour, just swim a few minutes straight out from 4K beach to see some. Don’t expect to see those blue waves washed up on the sand (that’s on instagram) but rather a small group of fireflies.

There are boat trips that offer BBQ/sunset/Plankton packages to visit Ko Rong Sanloem, Long beach, Snorkeling near the beaches of Coconut beach, Lonely beach, Bay chap beach…

For the anecdote, avoid booking the night boat ($10) offered by the village tours, to go and see the phosphorescent plankton, it’s a bit of a rip-off as you have to be in the water and swimming to catch a glimpse of a few lights! And don’t forget that you have to be in extreme darkness to see them, so forget full moons. Save your money for aperitifs, it’s a sure thing!

Cambodia | beach | koh rong


Kep, it’s one of our favorites at the Cambodge. We had everything we needed to enjoy this little seaside town famous for its delicious crab: sunny weather, fresh produce markets and a villa with pool and motorcycle at our disposal! When you think villa, you think kitchen, you think Antoine in the kitchen. We could have stayed a few days longer in this French-style mini seaside resort! And yes in Kep, there are many French expatriates, a French bakery and other French products such as la vache qui rit! Mind you, there’s only a very small beach where you can relax and sunbathe.

Kampot is world-renowned for its green pepper, which is used in all the world’s cuisines. The “Kampot pepper ” as it is called, is renowned worldwide for being one of the best and one of the most expensive! We are so much more at Kep that we have chosen not to go to Kampot. This small, more British town, located 40 minutes by motorcycle from Kep, is well known for its colonial houses and is also a great place to live. Rent a bike in Kampot and explore the surrounding countryside. You’ll pass through rice paddies, salt marshes and small villages.


Today, there’s a wide variety of accommodation in Kep or Kampot to suit all tastes and budgets. Here is our small selection

  • A Kampot: in the guesthouse My parents for $10 a night, you get a nice room. Bike rental. There is also the fish Island Bungalow with mountain views.
  • A Kep:

– In the Bacoma guest house which is $15 a night or Rega guesthouse more remote from the city center, which costs $10 a night.

– The Inn Spring Valley, is an affordable, authentic resort for €30 per double room, including breakfast! Pool and garden top!

– In the villa Saat where we stayed. Ideal for family and friends to enjoy the house, kitchen and pool!

Knai Bang Chatt Resort to have a hotel with its feet in the water and in the sand.

– Visit Samanea Beach Resort & spa: a complex of 12 villas offering magnificent sea views

  • Visit the Kep market for shrimp and fish kebabs and the famous crab dish! Expect to pay at least $5 for a small plate with 2 small crabs drizzled with green pepper sauce, and $8 for a large plate. It’s worth the indulgence!
  • You can dine at Kepa Cabana, love the pun! This well-known restaurant is recommended by some of the French people we have met. Venture to Kimly to enjoy green pepper crab. It’s delicious, but for a hungry person like me, I’d need 2 plates!
  • The French restaurant: the breeze of Kep.

Not far from here is the Knai Bang Chatt Resort with its waterside swimming pool, hanging rattan armchairs and the Sailing club. Sit here at sunset, where the view is breathtaking, and enjoy a taste of the « crab cake »

Cambodia | kep

Cambodia | kep

Cambodia | Kep




We admit that we were a bit in lazy mode, but we decided to take our motorcycle and explore the area at our own pace. For those in a hurry or lost, Marie and manu offer a motorcycle tour of Kep, a “kep otherwise ” as the name of their agency. Let’s start with Kep and its famous crab market, the « crab market » next to the many restaurants. You have to get there early in the morning, around 9am, to watch the crabs and other shellfish arriving on the quay, and to watch the exchanges – it’s quite an art. What’s more, you get to enjoy freshly caught shrimp, squid and crab – and that’s priceless!


Cambodia | kep | kampot

Cambodge | kep

Cambodia | kep | crab market

Cambodia | kep | crab market


In the vicinity of kep, about ½ hour by motorcycle, you can visit the farm with hundreds of butterflies free of charge, as well as pepper plantations including that of “Sothy’s farm ” presented by the owner. Tasting this pepper is very interesting and a delight for spice lovers like us. We succumbed and bought our little sachets. A 160g bag of red or white pepper costs $11 and keeps for a very long time. Be sure to check that “Kampot green pepper” to avoid ending up with ground pepper. The motorcycle loop allows you to see many scenes of life in the rice fields and discover the salt marshes. The landscapes are beautiful, with picturesque fishing villages. Despite the good feedback, we didn’t do the 8 kilometers in Kep National Park either. Next time? We were dying to jump into the pool at our villa!








Cambodia | kep

Cambodia | kep





















Practical information | Kep and Kampot

  • Kep ->Phnom Penh (bus $5/p /departure at 1:30 p.m., journey time 4h)



I’ve heard of the island of Koh Tonsay also known as Rabbit Island, which is wilder and hipper. From Kep, take a boat directly from the pier. You may only find private boats that charge $25 for a round trip, but with several people, it’s worth it. Alternatively, go to an agency near Kep’s main beach and pay around $10 for a round trip. Allow 30 minutes for the crossing. You can return it whenever you like, simply by calling the number on your ticket.


You’ll be spoilt for choice with bungalows on Koh Tonsay starting at $7 a night.


We really enjoyed this part of southern Cambodia. It’s perfect at the end of your stay to relax and enjoy Kep’s gentle way of life. We also invite you to read all our articles on Cambodia to help you prepare for your trip:


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Cambodge | koh rong | kep | kampot | plage | conseil | voyage