Kep was the fashionable beach resort in Cambodia in the 60s. Its legacy survives in a ghost town of half-collapsed and moss-stained concrete villas dotted around the town.
Even the King’s is no more than a shell. Some now house squatter families, one or two have been replaced with flash new three storied houses for the new Cambodian rich, others have disappeared completely, leaving just the boundary wall.
But as well as the decay there’s a sense that this place is on the cusp of rapid change. It has a lovely setting, looking across to the Vietnamese Island of Phu Quoc, a backdrop of low jungle covered hills and a view of distant Bokar Mountain rising dramatically from the sea. (A major French pre-war hill resort, now a crumbling set of buildings use for horror films.)
It doesn’t really have much of a beach though. You have to go to one of the little islands or across into Vietnam, jut down the road.
It has its crabs as its major claim to fame. A giant concrete version sits on the sea front. You eat them down the crab market, fried with green local peppercorns.