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Kep

Founded by the French in the 1920s for the colonial administration, Kep was Cambodia's first fashionable seaside destination. Often referred to as ‘Kep-sur-Mer’ or the St. Tropez of Southeast Asia, its tropical beaches tempted many elite Frenchmen and well-heeled Cambodians to escape the cities every weekend to bask in the sun on its pure white sandy shores under its shady palms and swim in its aquamarine waters.

Today it has a sleepy, slightly abandoned air to it, but the fishing village is rich in atmosphere and its rustic charm still draws crowds of Khmers at the end of the working week. Kep is also much-loved for its culinary speciality – blue crab – which is best enjoyed either within the main hot spot of this coastal town, the renowned crab market, or along the shore in the colourful restaurant bars. Tasting the delicacies here is unmissable as Kep’s fresh seafood has won it its reputation as the go-to foodie destination in Cambodia.

Another cultural highlight is the mixture of French and Khmer architecture dotted around the peaceful town. Once the holiday homes of Cambodia’s finest and wealthiest crowd, these renaissance villas are sadly not all intact today due to the Khmer Rouge’s devastation. However, a handful of forward-thinking luxury and boutique hotel brands have recently revived some of the buildings into glamorous properties. Their presence dotted around this peaceful town give it more of a high-brow feel than its neighbouring coastlines and islands.

A short scenic boat ride away lies the island of Koh Tonsay, otherwise known as Rabbit Island, which makes for an ideal daytrip for families and couples. Providing a real taste of rustic island life, this is the place for you if you are tempted by snorkelling, sunbathing and beach barbecues. The jungle-like Kep National Park is also nearby, home to flurries of butterflies, as is Kampot, which is famed around the world for its pepper.

Our favourite hotel here is without a doubt the sophisticated Knai Bang Chatt, with its killer combination of understated aesthetic and luxurious amenities. Its beautifully designed pool is a case in point as its sleek, infinity design offers views far into the horizon. During a stay here, we recommend watching the golden sun go down from the long jetty, from which wonderful sunsets can be enjoyed in all their glory – sure to be a memorable experience.

Kep is a great beachfront destination to relax and rejuvenate, particularly after an action-packed itinerary touring Cambodia’s cultural gem – the renowned Angkor Wat complex.

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So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India

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