ABOUTAsia’s Senior Travel Advisor, Anna Betts, recently headed to the quaint seaside town of Kep, on Cambodia’s stunning coastline, to check out the recent refurbishments of the popular property Knai Bang Chatt, located in this former French Colonial coastal retreat.
I receive a warm welcome and a cold towel as I drop my bag at the reception of Knai Bang Chatt, I close my eyes and smell the sea breeze, the ocean is just meters away. The colour of the refreshing minty welcome drink goes well with the scheme of the place so far; washed out beach colours of sky and sand, weathered wood, stylish furniture and overall lightness.
Work is sometimes pleasure indeed and all this feels very well deserved after a long journey from Siem Reap.
My mission here is to meet with the new management, check the property since their latest refurbishment completion and see what is on offer activity wise.
Knai Bang Chatt is hidden behind an unassuming wall of rocks and pebbles and feels like a small oasis of tranquility directly on the Kep seafront.
The resort consists of immaculately manicured gardens with indigenous tropical plants, palm trees swaying in the wind and an open air restaurant with thatched roof. Driftwood decorates the sea front and Vann Molyvann’s legacy – the Blue Building – dominates the premises and is no doubt my favourite. French colonial minimalist beach chique – is my own invented description of the resort style, while the owners describe it with words such as rustic simplicity, understated elegance and inherent beauty of imperfection.
A perfect couples’ destination, great end to your Cambodian holiday – when it’s time to put your tired feet up, rest your eyes from seeing (too many?) temples and grab a book or enjoy a massage.
I slip into something more comfortable and say hello to the infinity pool. I feel like a part of the ocean and the fact that Kep doesn’t really have a “real” beach matters no longer.
Aside from the Blue Building, there are others, all different yet fitting together perfectly in this breezy hideaway, where Cambodia is just behind the gates with the jungle clad Kep Hill, genuine Crab Market (Psar Kdam), beach “shacks” selling mouthwatering prawns and crab with green pepper sauce and ice cold beer on tap for around US$1. Life can’t get better than this, or can it?
If staying still is not your cup of tea, Kep has a fair share of activities to offer. How about setting to sail a Hobbie Cat for an hour or two (skipper available), paddling into the sunset on a kayak, grabbing a mountain bike and exploring the nearby Kep Hill? All of this is possible from the Knai Bang Chatt outdoor activity center. If you can find enough active souls, a game of volleyball on the private sandy patch is another option to deserve a sunset drink in the Sailing Club later. Happy hour(s) is from 5 to 7 and there is no better place to watch a sunset or go for a stroll on the pier.
A private boat trip to the nearby Rabbit Island can also be arranged and you can you enjoy a seafood BBQ feast prepared by your KBC guide. Speaking of food, KBC offers fine dining in The Strand (restaurant on the premises) and The Sailing Club just next door – from the obvious suspects such as fresh local seafood one can enjoy also imported meats and culinary delights prepared from local vegetables.
Knai Bang Chatt definitely receives thumbs up from me. It ticks all the boxes for great, professional and friendly service, excellent location, tranquility, good night sleep and food and drinks. It’s hard to leave…
By Anna Betts, Senior Travel Advisor
ABOUTAsia Travel Advice:
Fancy spending your days swaying in hammocks and sipping cocktails as the sun sets? Kep makes for a great short extension to the cultural highlights of Siem Reap & Phnom Penh. Take a look at our example itinerary for inspiration.
Kep is a 3hr drive from the capital, Phnom Penh. There are regular and frequent flights connecting Siem Reap (and the temples of Angkor) with Phnom Penh.
Contact ABOUTAsia’s Senior Travel Advisors on firstname.lastname@example.org