Skip the Bali crowd and venture out to this serene Cambodian beach town.
The small province of Kep, on Cambodia’s southwestern tip, is unlike the more populous areas in the country we’re always hearing about. It operates at a slower, quieter pace, and though Cambodia’s economy benefits greatly from tourism, this seaside retreat offers a unique, affordable, and quieter alternative to Southeast Asia’s more trafficked destinations, like Bali and Siem Reap. It is a locale rich in activities—cultural, athletic, and rejuvenating.
Kep has no shortage of lodging that’s only a short walk from the Gulf of Thailand—a popular meditation oasis. Picturesque, colonial-style boutique hotels, such as the treehouse-inspired Tara Lodge Haven of Peace, tend to draw yogis and quiet beach seekers. Located on a small dirt road, beset by lush, green trees and other quaint B&Bs, the Tara Lodge features spacious second-floor cottages with breathtaking balcony views of the surrounding forest and gulf. Relax by the swimming pool, indulge at the spa, and mindfully enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the treehouse-style café: Here you’ll find long wooden tables for mingling, surrounded by thick foliage and gorgeous views of vibrant plants, birds, lizards, and other wildlife—plus the freshest fruit smoothie life has to offer.
Tara Lodge is a quick jaunt (less than 150 meters) from the Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation retreat: an ideal destination for those interested in yoga, Reiki, and sound-healing sessions. And during our stay, the lodge manager Alexis (delightfully friendly and French) was full of local recommendations to fit every temperament.
Kep’s most notable food feature is its Crab Market—a huge, open-air forum where fishermen drag crab cages right out of the ocean and merchants wait to sell their daily hauls to locals and tourists alike. The market buzzes with dozens of languages …