2019 PromotionsKep & Borkor National Park
Kep-sur-Mer is filled with modern-day ruins

Kep and Bokor National Park Tour

Kep and Bokor National Park are astonishing remnants of a glorious era when Kampuchea was a French colony, ending with a notorious war and the tyrannical rule by the Khmer Rouge. This part of Cambodia is relatively unknown to most visitors. You will see an ancient forest, a colorful seaside village, and an astounding modern-day archaeological site.

Day One: Venture South to Kep Sur Mer

Depart Phnom Penh early this morning with your guide and driver in an air-conditioned vehicle. Depending on your interests you can make stops at as many as three seldom-visited Angkor-period archaeological sites along the route to Kep and Phnom Chisor, where you hike to the top of a hill for spectacular views of the countryside, or one of the villages along the way where magnificent silk textiles have been made for hundreds of years. Arrive in Kep late afternoon.Kep-sur-Mer was once home to 1200 private villas, all destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. Take time to explore the nearby beach market, where fresh seafood arrives almost hourly.

Travel by road from Phnom Penh to the southernmost shores of Cambodia to see the ruins of modern history. Kep and Bokor National Park are a fragile yet frightening reminder of a war that was really not so long ago. Stay in the seaside town of Kep sur Mer, with fresh seafood at your doorstep, and see amazing remnants of a 20th century war that created modern-day archaeological ruins.

Bokor National ParkDay Two: Unbelievable Bokor

This morning you embark on the two-hour drive to the top of Bokor National Park, stopping along the way for photos and maybe a glimpse of some of the rare animals in this forest preserve. The first stop at the summit is the ruins of King Sihanouk's villa, which has magnificent views of the farmlands and sea below. Continue to the two-tiered Popokvil Falls for a picnic. Then you climb to one of the highest points on the mountain to explore the cavernous ruins of the Casino, with its garishly-colored lichens, intriguing graffiti and views of the ruins of the hotels and villas that made up this French Hill Station. After a stop at the Catholic church you return to Kep in time for a dip in the pool and a fabulous sunset.

Day Three: A Temple in a Cave, and a Rabbitless Island

If you are adventurous, wander down the road to the colorful beach market for a bowl of noodles and fresh mango and papaya instead of the hotel breakfast. Afterwards, you visit one of the pre-Angkor period temple ruins, which may require a climb up a steep hillside or a trip through a pristine mangrove forest. Kep's charming harbor, where boats arrive laden with shrimp.Then continue to Rabbit Island (which has no rabbits of any kind), a beautiful and undeveloped place) where you may explore following a barbecue lunch. Return to Kep later in the afternoon.

Day Four: Kompot - Salt & Pepper

The morning is free for you to enjoy the pool or explore the beach market. Later, we return you to Phnom Penh airport in time for your departure flight. If time permits you can make a stop in the colonial town of Kompot, not far from Kep. Kompot is best known for its pepper, which is much sought after by foodies, and its unique sea salt. You will want to buy some of both to take home.

Things you need to know about Kep: This part of Cambodia is still very unspoiled. Telephone services is limited to cellular phones and there is no electricity aside from your hotel's generator. This trip requires walking and climbing stairs, so it is not recommended for guests with serious physical limitations. You may extend your stay to overnight on Rabbit Island at an additional cost.

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Photos: Douglas Thompson