Monday, 10 December 2007

Kep-sur-Mer

Kep, or Kep-sur-Mer as this place was known during the French colonial years, is quite an interesting little seaside resort on the Cambodian South coast. Up until the 1960's Kep was Cambodia's Riveria. The king and his family had (and still have) a property there, and so did many other well-to do and influential Cambodian families. Only a four hour drive from Phnom Penh, Cambodia's elite would come down on weekends to party and play.


During the Khmer Rouge era the little village was destroyed by war - and became a ghost town. The stylish 60's villas built by Cambodian students of the famous French architect Le Corbusier decayed, and today you can still see the ruins of many grand homes and properties reflecting what was a golden era of modern Cambodian architecture.


But slowly, things are changing and Kep is kicking back into life. Guests houses have opened and foreigners and Phnom Penh expats are buying up the old houses to restore them. It's a fascinating blend of the grandeur of the past, decades of terror and war and a revival that is just beginning to attract more tourists.

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