Though early on the clouds hinted that the weather may be a bit changeable today, to us it looked good enough for a bit of a trek so we packed our rainy weather gear (just in case) into our small rucksack and were soon enough up and at them and wending our way down the main road to Kep National Park. The park stretches out all over the main hill that overlooks Kep and includes some of the other hills behind it, so it is a good way to get the old heart pumping. As soon as we reached the park entrance we saw signs advertising the ‘World Famous’ Led Zep cafe. Now I may be getting a touch jaded but things labelled as being ‘World Famous’ invariably fail to deliver and after quite a climb up the hillside to get to it, in the hope of trying out their delicacies, this one turned out to be no different than all the others, why it was not even open! What a ‘Whole Lotta Crap’, it had been a “Misty Mountain Hop’ that had left us feeling ‘Dazed and Confused’ and …. well you get the picture! (LOL)
The walk in the park though soon made up for our cafe issues as it turned out to be really nice, taking us through the lush green jungle of the hillside and by the time we had finished we worked out that we had actually walked somewhere between 10 and 12km. Early on we saw some really nice jungle plants and some strange insects, as well as quite a lot of the local bird and wildlife which was really cool but although we did hear them, we saw no monkeys today. It appeared that we were just about the only people out for the walk it was all so quiet. At one point we went on a bit of a diversionary walk to go and see a Buddha which was positioned in a tree, it was quite small and perfectly formed and made of wood and though we had seen few people offerings had still been placed underneath it. On the way up the hillside the views of the other mist shrouded hills was really amazing, we even managed to see our hotel from one of the viewpoints along the way.
After the views we carried on to reach the other side of the hill and on the way down came across a Butterfly farm, where they were also growing some really colourful flowers as well – possibly to attract the butterflies, which were quite colourful themselves. We had possibly seen better butterflies along the way on our little walk but who were we to complain as it only cost pennies to have a look around. From here we ventured forth and came across the Gibbon Guesthouse, the place was made up of loads of little huts and the like and here we stopped for a bite and a drink. We got chatting to the owners who were a nice couple from Australia who had come to Kep during a backpacking trip and fallen in love with the place, it was easy for us to see why as the place and the views from it were just beautiful even if they did need a bit of TLC.
Onwards we marched and as we neared civilisation once more it all got a little surreal as there were many grey ransacked old houses and other buildings that had the local cows investigating them – whether they had been damaged by the French or the Khmer (or perhaps even the cows) was anybodies guess but they sure looked dingy. We managed to finally reached the seafront, home to some of Kep’s more famous statues including one in the sea of a giant crab. This crustacean is synonymous with the area as it is the main ingredient in one of the region’s favourite and best known dishes and the advertising campaign must have worked albeit subliminally as after quite a brief respite back at the hotel we came back out. We hit the restaurants and guess what I ordered – the ‘World Famous’ Peppered Crab, Liz meanwhile plumped for some Curried Squid which I thought strange because I had not seen a statue of a Curried Squid at any point of our walk! Although ‘Famous’, both dishes were absolutely delicious and it was a really good way to end the day. On the way home our way was lit by the moon so even the Gods were shining on us for our last day in Kep!