Travel to Kampot in a shared taxi
After breakfast, we prepare our backpacks and wait for our transport to Kampot, our next destination from where we want to visit the deserted villas of Kep, a bit further along the coastline. This time we travel by a shared taxi, something we have not done yet. And it will turn out to be an unforgettable experience. Four passengers sit at the front and we, at the rear, just as well. This is all but comfortable, but as it is only a 2.5-hour drive, we just undergo the experience.
Arranging transport to Bokor for tomorrow
Upon arrival in Kampot, our driver drops us at the guesthouse of our choice. We inspect a room and decide to stay. The place also has a cozy dining area and a pool table. After we meet Johan; we talk a bit about the places we visited in Cambodia and what the highlights were to us. He also wants to visit Bokor Hill Station tomorrow, so we decide to book the trip together at another guesthouse nearby. But it appears their 4WD is broken. Back on the street, a guy from a competitor hostel offers the journey to Bokor at 2$ cheaper than suggested in our guesthouse, so we eagerly accept.
A Cambodian Riviera from the past
Back at our guesthouse, two drivers are waiting to transport us to Kep, a Cambodian Riviera from the past, where nowadays not much activity can be found anymore. A flourishing location in the past, but nowadays the deserted villas of Kep, a collection of stately and derelict houses, are the main attraction in this town.
Many Cambodians try to find a job in the tourism sector
First, our drivers drop us at the beach. My travel companion goes for a swim and then – something that occurred to him several times during this journey already – falls asleep on the beach. While he is taking an afternoon nap, I start talking to my driver. He too complains again about the virtually non-existent efforts of his government to help their people in finding jobs. That is why just about every somewhat English speaking Cambodian wants to get involved in the tourism industry. Corruption amongst politicians is also a significant problem in Cambodia, he states.
The deserted villas of Kep are examples of modernist architecture
Around 4 o’clock, my partner wakes up, and we drive on to the center of this town; nothing worth mentioning about that. We take a side road, and there we see some of the deserted villas of Kep. These empty buildings, constructed between 1950 and 1970, are all that remains of the Cambodian modernist architecture. The New Khmer Architecture – as it is also known – is a blend of traditional Kmer style with modernist movements as Bauhaus and Le Corbusier. As the late afternoon sun creates a beautiful backlight, I stop to take a few pictures. Around half-past five, we arrive back in Kampot.
Having dinner at a seafood restaurant
We take a shower and select a restaurant situated along the river and known for its seafood to have dinner. As the place is somewhat located outside the center, we hump on the back of a motorbike to reach it. My mate decides to eat goat meat, and I order grilled fish. Afterward, our driver brings us back to the guesthouse and tries in vain to spend some trips along the way. We saw the deserted villas of Kep today, and we have already booked our trip to Bokor Hill Station for tomorrow. As our Cambodian holiday is nearing its end, we have no further plans here in Kampot.