Cambodia, Days 15-17 – Comatose in Kep – Jasmine Valley Resort

If Kampot was sleepy, then Kep was downright comatose!!

When planning our holiday it seemed that Kep was just a short drive down the road from Kampot. 25km shouldn’t take long should it? 20 minutes perhaps? Throw in one ridiculously waterlogged red clay road in the middle of the monsoon and an underpowered tuk tuk  and you can double that! What could have been just another mundane transit between two towns became an adventure! Ineffectually trying to dodge the orange spray from passing trucks, driving rain sneaking through the plastic shower curtain that surrounds our valiant steed, hearts in mouths every time we immerse our axles in a puddle of rusty soup…this is what travel memories are made of!!

Turning right at the white horse (navigation is via monuments in this part of the world…turn left at the giant durian, go straight ahead at the salt workers statue, turn back at the 2000 monument, etc, etc…),we found ourselves in the extremely odd little town called Kep.

Kep was hot property back in the 1960s when the debonair young Prince Sihanouk decided that he needed a beachside boudoir in which to spend his copious spare time. Numerous sprawling mansions subsequently sprang up around the tiny town, but unfortunately the renaissance was short lived. The 70s brought the Khmer Rouge to Cambodia, making resort holidays an impossible luxury and driving the locals to ransacking the buildings for anything that could be traded for food and other basic necessities. However, the buildings remain, dilapidated shells harkening back to happier times.

As mentioned in my last blog entry most of my photos from Kep got accidently deleted. Thankfully many remain, including a video of our incredible hut in the tree-tops at the Jasmine Valley Resort, but of those that disappeared there were shots from our hike around the Kep National Park, Kampot pepper crab at Kimly restaurant, and the township of Kep itself.

We loved Kep, and wish that we had spent three nights there and one less in Kampot, but that’s hindsight for you! The eco-resort we stayed at was amazing, and it’s really disappointing that I don’t have any photos to show it off adequately. Our hut was situated on stilts, placing us up amongst the treetops, yet nestled in the middle of a long sweeping valley that extended form the mountains all the way down to the seaside. All day we lounged around on our ‘balcony’ enjoying the cool breezes that swept through the trees. Check out the video to see what it looks like (if you can ignore my extremely poor camera holding technique!). Unfortunately the glare was playing tricks with the camera, so while it’s not obvious in the video, we could actually see all the way to the ocean from our balcony.


The view from our table at Kimly Restaurant, renowned for their Kampot pepper crab!

Abandoned building

Another abandoned building

And another!

The entrance to the National Park. It was a fantastic loop walk that actually backs right onto the resort at which we were staying.

National Park entrance

The trail from the resort up to the National Park loop road

The garden/jungle at Jasmine Valley Resort

Freshly cooked coconut waffles for breakfast!! The food at this place was simply sensational!

The first skate bowl ever to be built in Cambodia, at Jasmine Valley Resort (the owner used to skate heaps in his youth, and still gets on a board every now and again!)

The swimming ‘pool’. Dangle your feet in the water and you’ll get a complimentary fish pedicure!

Seen better times…


This massive gecko (about 20-30cm long!!) thought it was fun to talk to us during the night and to cling to the wall right above the loo. We called him Gordon. He shat on the stairs and took great pleasure in watching us step in it in the dark.

Chilling out while waiting for our transport to Sihanoukville (looking kind of guilty as well…??)