A late start for us today - our pick-up for the bus wasn't until 12:15pm and we didn't have to check out until 11:30. We enjoyed a final breakfast at the Magic Sponge, cooked by Dan the owner as all of his usual Cambodian staff are enjoying their first day off for the Cambodian New Year holiday. Yesterday, they all got their six-monthly share of the tips from the money pig on the bar and were all quite excited when it was time to break it open!
So at lunchtime our tuk-tuk arrived to take us the vey short distance (about 3 minutes drive) to the bus stop! Soon, we were on our way; Kep isn't far and we arrived at about half 1 after catching another tuk-tuk to our hotel.
Kep is quite a sprawling place for such a small town (pop. about 4000) and we seem to be quite far away from the main beach and the bars and restaurants, so I think we'll be catching a few more tuk-tuks over the next few days! After settling into our room, we went off for a wander along the main road in the incredible midday heat. We made it about halfway to town and found the pier where boats leave daily for trips to Koh Tonsay, also known as Rabbit Island. Nearby, we found a minimart/ticket office and sorted out a trip to the island for tomorrow, plus our bus tickets back to Phnom Penh for Monday. We continued walking but soon spotted a tuk-tuk and hopped in.
We asked the driver to take us to the Sailing Club, at the far end of the town. This is quite a fancy place (apparently it costs $150+ per night to stay there!) but Calum from Jalan Jalan in Melaka had recommended it to us as a good spot for a sunset drink. We sat out on the deck at the front with a perfect view of the bay and enjoyed a few happy hour drinks as the sun disappeared - perfect, until we saw storm clouds slowly gathering behind us! Sure enough, the rain came pretty heavily and everyone made the most of the photo opportunites once the tables had been moved back under some shelter. We were joined by an annoying group of teenage European tourists, who were just there for a free view of the sunset and didn't intend spending any money if they could help it. One of them tried to order tap water and were told that they couldn't have one (er, you can't drink the tap water in Cambodia!) so then ordered a glass with some ice. Hmmm.... Another of the group sent back a banana split because they didn't like vanilla ice-cream! The staff were very good and managed to save the seafood buffet that had been laid out on tables outside ready for dinner. We weren't planning on eating there though - we were off to Kep's famous Crab Market.
At the Crab Market, your dinner is retrieved from the baskets floating in the sea in front of the restaurants and cooked fresh to order in one of several wooden shack-type buildings along the front. We had a look at a few before we were called into one by an eccentric Frenchman, who we were sure we'd seen earlier in the day shouting 'Happy New Year!' to us from the back of a motorbike! He was more than a little bit merry, but we managed to get our order in eventually - a stuffed crab and shrimp in butter and garlic. The shrimp was delicious but the crab was hard work! Not a lot of meat for all of the effort involved in picking it apart - maybe we picked the wrong place! Afterwards, we called in at another of the restaurants for dessert (banana flambe!) and a drink, before heading back to our lovely air-con room to cool down again! Looking forward to Rabbit Island tomorrow...