Kep.

We left Koh Rong Samloem by the first express ferry back to Sihanoukville. At the port at Koh Rong Samloem we purchased tickets for a bus to Kep for $6 each. They told us the bus would leave at 11.30am which would be perfect timing for us. We were told to wait in the ‘Jasmine Cafe’ by the port at Sihanoukville and someone would come and collect us. We were all starving as we didn’t have time for breakfast so we ordered some food to go as we arrived at ‘Jasmine Cafe’ at 11.15am we explained that we had tickets for a bus but we were told they’re normally late so don’t worry if they’re not on time. An hour passed and they still hadn’t shown up, Leila rang the number on the ticket but they weren’t any help so she asked the Cafe staff to help. Once we got through we were told we missed the bus and we had to get on the next one at 1pm. Kep is roughly just over a 3 hour drive from Sihanoukville so it was annoying we were already leaving late but there was nothing we could do. Finally someone came to pick us up and we all bundled into a mini van with another family and couple, we thought the mini van was taking us to the bus station but we were wrong, it was our bus to Kep! It was crammed, we were all hungover and tired which made the journey unbearable. We dropped off the other passengers in Kampot and then we had 30 minutes till we reached Kep.

We arrived in Kep with instructions from our ‘Air B&B’ owners to meet their house keeper Rodger at the ‘White Horse’. We jumped in a tuk-tuk to the white horse and Roger was there waiting for us. Unfortunately he only spoke French but we managed to get by and all squeezed into his car. We arrived at the ‘Air B&B’ and it was stunning, you could open both sides of the house up to let the outdoors in. There was a swimming pool for us to use but it was getting late by this point and the only thing we had on our mind was food!

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After showing us around Rodger called a tuk-tuk to come pick us up and take us to the shops. He arrived about twenty minutes later and we were on our way. There was only two tiny convenience stores to head to as the market had shut but we managed to get a few things. We also made a stop off at the Deli which had beautiful meat, bread and cakes! We stocked up and headed back to make some sausage and egg baps for dinner. Then we headed to bed.

The next morning we woke up to find something had been in and eaten half of our bread. Confused what it could be we threw the rest out and wrapped everything else up! That morning we had planned to go to the Veg market to get a few bits and then to the famous Kep crab market. Leila had never tried crab before so she was excited as she had heard great things about Kep crab! We managed to get what we needed from the Veg market and then headed to the crab market to choose our crab. As soon as you arrive you’re inadated with people trying to sell you their crabs. We went with Daisy and Sammi’s lead on this one as we had never picked a crab before. They told us to get bigger ones otherwise when it’s cooked there will be hardly any meat. We brought two crabs for $15 ($15 a Kg) and then paid $2 for them to be cooked. They prepare them and then cook them with oil, small amount of water, garlic, ginger, famous Kampot pepper and a sweet chilli type sauce. Once it’s cooked you buy a drink from another stall to sit down at their tables. We all sat down to tuck in. The expectations were not let down! The taste was amazing, it was so good we all wish we had a crab each! Although, it was extremely messy to eat! The lady who served us our drinks gave us some lemon water to wash our fingers in and then we were on our way back to the ‘Air B&B’ to relax for the rest of the day.

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The next morning we woke up to find something had been in again but had tucked into the dry rice this time! Still unsure what it could be we tried to put everything we could into the fridge to try to stop our bits being eaten! That day we were heading into Kampot to go to ‘Teuk Chhou Zoo’. We were heading here as Aprille wanted to see some elephants and we couldn’t make it to the area where they are in Cambodia so the best we could do with the time we had was to go to a zoo. We weren’t expecting a lot from the zoo as the reviews weren’t great but we thought we would go to see what it was like. We paid for a taxi to take us to the zoo, market, supermarket in Kampot and then back to the villa for $60 for the whole day. Our ‘Air B&B’ host told us to meet the taxi at ‘Kep Gardens’ as it was behind the villa and they would know where this place was. We took a walk there to wait for the taxi and when we arrived we realised it was a school. We were warmly welcomed by an Australian couple who explained they moved here and opened the school in 2006. They told us it was open until 8pm that night so Leila and Aprille said as soon as they are back from the zoo they would pop back over to help out with the classes. After a short walk around the school and some cuddles with the five-week old puppies, our taxi arrived and we were on our way.

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When we arrived at the zoo it lived up to the reviews. The animals seemed distressed and the cages were tiny and dirty. You could buy bananas from the stalls and water to feed the animals and every animal wanted a banana. We even fed the ostriches and bears bananas too. To us it seemed like this was the only way the animals were being fed. There was also a cheetah in a cage with a hole in big enough for it to put its claw through and get someone! After a walk around it was back in the car to head to the market, supermarket and then back to the villa.

We arrived back at around 4.30pm. Leila and Aprille walked straight to the school to help out for the evening while everyone else chilled and helped make dinner. At the school they helped out with the reading. Pupils would come out every fifteen minutes and choose books on their reading levels. They would have to correct any mistakes made by the pupils and ask them questions about the books. Before they knew it, it was 7pm and time to head back. Leila wished she had longer in Kep to go back and volunteer but unfortunately we were heading for Phomn Phen in the morning. When Leila and Aprille arrived back at the villa there was a bowl smashed out on the lawn. When we got back into the house we were told the plate was out there due to an enormous spider in the girls bedroom. Sammi had managed to get it inside the bowl and then slide it from the bedroom to the entrance before throwing it out to get it away! We were thankful it was gone though considering a few days before we saw a girl who’s leg was really bad due to a spider bite! We also had a visit from a large lizard, we thought this could have possibly been the visitor that was tucking into our food.

We woke up the next morning after hearing a bit of a racket through the night. The girls filled us in that the animal had woken them up and the solar power had run out so they had got up to see what it was. They said all they could see was beady eyes and a tail which they thought could belong to a cat. We packed up our last bits and at 8.30am the taxi arrived to pick us up to take us to Phnom Penh. It cost $50 to take us all the way which was a good price considering it was about a 3-4 hour drive away.

Tip: When heading to Kep make sure you go to the crab market and try the crab, it was delicious!

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