4 good reasons to go to Kep, Cambodia

The perfect recipe for a joint birthday party with your best friend – travel with a group of friends and family to Kep, on the south coast of Cambodia. Which is exactly what my BFF Helen and I did recently. Why did we pick Kep? I’ve been there before and liked it a lot, it’s hot and coastal and very laid back. And it has a few extra attractions to seal the deal.

1. Crabs and peppercorns

Kep is famous for it’s bountiful supply of delicious crab. Next to the fish markets in town are a row of crab/seafood restaurants, built out over the sea on stilts. There is no better way to have dinner than to pick one of these restaurants and order up a large serve of crab in peppercorn sauce (Kampot peppercorns are another local speciality). Wash it all down with cold beers while listening to the sea wash under your floorboards, and get your hands very sticky pulling apart a dozen or so freshly cooked crabs, cut in half and covered in sauce. Or maybe the squid in peppercorn sauce for a change? There may be a power-cut while you are eating, it doesn’t matter, candle light will do nicely.

2. Kep Lodge

There has been a big increase of accommodation in Kep in the last three years (from a low base), but I’m sticking with my original favourite, Kep Lodge. A boutique lodge with only a handful of cabins and a big open air communal restaurant/bar and ┬ápool, it’s a couple of hundreds of metres back up the hill, amongst lush vegetation, and it’s great value too – very affordable and very comfortable. My front deck with its armchairs and hammock was a great excuse for a siesta, and the pool and bar were both good options to cool off.

3. Rabbit Island

View my previous post to see why this is such a bonus: Rabbit Island.

4. Kep fish markets

In addition to spending lunch or dinner in the crab restaurants, a visit next door to the fish markets is a must-do. This is a true village market, with locals selling to locals, although there are often a few tourists with cameras wandering around as well. The crab traps are brought ashore here and their bounty immediately put up for sale, as well as the current catch of squid and a variety of fish. Many locals come here for a meal fresh off the BBQ, and it’s great lunch option for us too. There are stalls for clothes, shoes, homewares, basic electronics, and plenty of fruit and veges. And you can’t miss the durian, the smell is impossible to ignore. It’s a small market and a great place to browse, people watch, and chat with the locals.

Where would you like to have your next birthday party?

Top 3 Tranquil luxury getaways in Australia

It’s the end of the year, time to reminisce, and I’ve been thinking about luxury, tranquility, getting away from it all. Not my normal mode of travel I must admit, that is usually more about comfort, interest and convenience, but every now and then I break out and indulge. Here’s my three favourites (so far) in Australia.


Calabash Bay luxury villa, Berowra Waters, Australia

  • Calabash Bay Lodge Accessible only by boat, surrounded by the azure waters of Berowra Waters, the eucalypt bush and limestone cliffs, this luxury holiday house is perfect for a weekend with friends, food, drink, books and music. I can sit on one of the balconies with a glass of wine and watch the jetty below for hours as the sky and water change colour.


    Seven Spirit Bay wilderness lodge, Arnhem Land

    • Seven Spirit Bay Lodge. In the upper reaches of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, is one of the original luxury outback lodges of Australia, a plane ride and 4-wheel drive trek past Darwin. I remember sitting by the spectacular pool on the first night, looking over the bay below, with three shark fins circling and crocodile tracks up the sandy beach – this may look like a tropical paradise but this sea is not for swimming in – the pool is fantastic though. As is the ancient rock art, the bush walks, the crocodile spotting, the deep sea fishing, the flora and fauna. All while being spoilt in my “habitat”, an individual private octagonal suite set into the bush, five of the walls are glass louvres to take in the view.


    a glamping

    • Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay. I think these guys invented glamping – the most luxurious form of camping I’ve ever had. My ‘room’ is a raised platform with a huge two roomed “tent” set amongst the paperbark trees. There’s an excellant bar and restaurant in the golden glowing two-storey ‘treehouse’ that is the center of the camp. In the morning we borrow a canoe from the camp and float down the tranquil river to one of the many beaches and bays on the nearby coastline. My tip for tranquility is to check what time the tide turns before heading off in the kayak, otherwise tranquil can quickly become adventure seeking bonding experience!

    Which other luxury get-away-from-it-all spots have you enjoyed – what should I have on my wishlist?