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Archive for August, 2008

creepy

One of my last photos taken in Phnom Penh, July 10.

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new site up

After a bit of a struggle I’ve finished with a new website:

www.ericbrandtimages.com

Check it out. Frequent updates guaranteed.

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(I’ve been back in the US for over three weeks right now, which explains the huge gap between posts. Here’s the last stop on my Cambodian adventure)

kep crab restaurants

Kep exceeded all possible expectations. Nearly every expat I met told me not to leave Cambodia without a visit to Kep. Their descriptions were kind of vague for a place that was supposedly so cool, a place where there wasn’t much to do but relax and eat crab. I added it to my itinerary as an afterthought, thinking it might make a good spot to wrap up four months in Southeast Asia. And it was.

kep

From the turn of the century through the 1960s, Kep was the premier resort in Cambodia. French and Cambodian elites built spectacular villas in the hills overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. King Sihanouk had an estate in the area as well as a nearly-complete palace that he never had a chance to occupy. The civil war and Khmer Rouge years devastated Kep. The elites abandoned their villas, which were looted and often used as government and Khmer Rouge hideouts.

abandoned villa

Today Kep is a sleepy beachside town that’s slowly being rediscovered by Cambodians and tourists alike.
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon after a four hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, and the place was practically somnolent. A laid-back motodop greeted me and took me to Botanica Bungalows, Kep’s cheapest option at $8/per night. Botanica offered a couple rusty bikes for guests, a necessity for a thorough exploration of the area.

along the coast

I spent the next 36 hours biking aimlessly, lazing in hammocks, and poking around abandoned villas (more on this in a future post). It was possibly the most relaxing 36 hours of my life.

fishing boat

A fishing boat with the prime minister’s villa in the background. Hun Sen was in town while I was there, which meant I had to take care not to get plastered by his motorcade as I biked.

gas station

Typical small-town Cambodian gas station.

crab statue

Kep’s popularity is interesting, because for a resort it has a terrible beach. The real draw is its fresh seafood, especially crab.

kampot pepper crab

No trip to Kep is complete without a plate of Kampot Pepper Crab. At $10 it was fairly overpriced, but it might have been the most delicious seafood I’ve ever had. Definitely some MSG involved.

bicycle vendor

Bicycle vendor selling some sort of refreshments.

orphanage

These kids were hanging out at what I think is an orphanage.

kids

One of my favorite photos from Cambodia.

girl

anguish

clowning

kid with knife

Not sure what this kid was doing playing with a knife.

curious

In a few years Kep will be unrecognizable. Big hotels and resorts are already in the early stages of construction, and soon it’ll be nothing more than a smaller version of Sihanoukville.

More photos from Kep here.

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