Update: Yikes! I forgot to update this until I discovered several people had visited recently. The Kep Sea Festival has been postponed until next year. You can read about it on a later blog, Kep Sea Festival Postponed. Sorry about the oversight.
I ran across this article in the Phnom Penh Post the other day: Thousands expected for Cambodia’s Sea Festival. Of course it reminded me of last year’s inaugural Sea Festival in Sihanoukville. Here in the middle of the rainy season, we tend to forget how busy it gets in the high season and Sihanoukville was packed for the Sea Festival last year. I can hardly imagine how little Kep is going to handle the traffic.
Anyway, we’ll see. Traffic jams aside, I’m sure the Sea Festival will boost Kep’s image just as it boosted Sihanoukville’s. I can’t guarantee that the Sea Festival is responsible for it, but it seems like more than a coincidence that our formerly empty-in-the-rainy-season town gets crowded with Cambodian weekend holiday makers almost every weekend now.
One thing that seemed a little weird to me last year was how few foreign visitors attended the Sea Festival. I have no idea why, but I saw very few, whether it was at the jet ski races, the food stalls, or the New Year’s Eve shows, I know there were plenty of them in town, but the majority of them steered clear of the festivities at the festival.
We’ll see what happens this year in Kep. One thing’s for sure, if you’re planning on staying in Kep between 30 December 2012 and 2 January 2013, you’d better book your Hotel in Kep, Cambodia right now unless you want to sleep on the beach, because according to Cambodian officials, there are only 372 guesthouse and hotel rooms in Kep. I’m sure there are actually more, but not that many more.
None of this is written to put you off going. On the contrary, it could be an amazing time to visit. If last year’s Sihanoukville Sea Festival is anything to go by, the crowds tend to gather together around events, leaving plenty of space elsewhere, if you want to take a breather from it all.
There aren’t that many places on the Cambodian coast that have the infrastructure to deal with large crowds. My guess is that next year, if it doesn’t go to Koh Kong, it will come back to Sihanoukville, but they’ll hold some events at Otres Beach.
Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up about the Sea Festival.
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