Simon N. Ostheimer explores the glittering past of Kep and the Cambodian Riviera


The history of Cambodia’s southern coastline, like that of much of the country, is littered with stories of boom and bust. Prior to the civil war (1967-75), the fishing town of Kampot, sitting in the shadow of Bokor Mountain, was known for its bountiful hauls of seafood. Today, the industry is more subdued, with squid boats heading out to sea at night, recognisable by their green lanterns that draw the curious cephalopods to the surface by replicating the soft glow of the moon. While it’s a fairly well-populated town, the atmosphere is still sleepy and forgotten.

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