Hiking In Kep National Park - Jungle

Kep National Park, Cambodia – Travel Guide

No visit to Kep is complete without a visit to Cambodia’s smallest national park. Covering less than five square miles, Kep National Park doesn’t take long to explore. Dedicate half a day to immersing yourself in nature by exploring the trails and soaking in the sporadic views! 

The park includes a circular eight-kilometre concrete road, as well as numerous trails to various peaks and viewpoints dotted throughout the jungle. The road is gently undulating, offering easy walking and delivering impressive glimpses of Phu Quoc, Koh Tonsay and Kep Beach. The trails are more challenging, requiring a reasonable fitness level to navigate! 

During my most recent trip to Cambodia’s crab capital, I spent a day thoroughly exploring Kep National Park. The trails took longer than I expected and I finished the day exhausted. Make sure you take snacks and plenty of water if you plan to scamper up and down multiple trails in the park! 

Tim Ashdown – Writer at Southeast Asia Backpacker

Kep National Park – A Traveller’s Guide

Kep National Park Map & Resources

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Best Time to Visit Kep National Park

November to April is the best time to visit Kep National Park. This is the dry season in Cambodia. While other parts of the country can get super hot, Kep is blessed with a cool sea breeze, meaning temperatures rarely exceed 30ºC. 

The joy of Kep National Park is that the trees offer plenty of shade. Even on the hottest days, the park is cooler than much of the town.

During the wet season (May-October) many of the trails in Kep National Park can be un-traversable but the main paved route can be tackled any time of year. 

How Long Should You Spend in Kep National Park?

You can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an entire day in Kep National Park. 

It only takes a couple of hours to have a great experience, but if you want to circumnavigate the park, you’ll need to budget a little longer. The paved route is eight kilometres, requiring three to four hours to complete. 

If you plan to explore the smaller jungle trails, budget another two to three hours. And, if you’re going to stop for food or a drink at the famous Led Zep café, make sure you allocate some time for this too! 

Half a day is a good amount of time to spend in the park but if you’re feeling up to it, a whole day is even better! Thanks to the park’s small size, you can realistically say you’ve seen most of it in a day – something that’s not possible in most national parks! 

Opening Times & Entry Fees

Kep National Park officially opens around 08:00 but a lackadaisical approach to opening hours means the gate could be manned any time from 07:30-09:00, depending on the day. It doesn’t really matter what time you arrive. If the rangers haven’t rocked up yet, you can walk straight in regardless. 

The last entry to Kep National Park is at 16:00 and all visitors are required to leave by 17:30. 

Entry to the park costs $1USD for non-Cambodians which can be paid in dollars or riel. If there is no ranger at the gate, one might find you later during your visit. Or they might not. Have the money ready but don’t be surprised if you don’t need to pay, especially if you visit early in the day!

Where to Stay Near Kep National Park

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There is nowhere to stay within Kep National Park. However, there are some nice hotels right by the entrances:

Kep National Park is surrounded on three sides by Kep itself. This means almost anywhere in town is within easy walking distance of the park! Some of our favourite accommodation options in and around Kep are:

Things to Do in Kep National Park

1. Enjoy a Snack at Led Zep

Located less than a kilometre from the main entrance, Led Zep Café is a Kep National Park institution. Without the café, the park wouldn’t be the popular tourist attraction it is today. The owners are responsible for creating, marking and maintaining many of the hiking trails in the area. 

Led Zep Cafe Swing Kep National Park
Swing on over to Led Zep Café!

Assuming you don’t arrive before 10:00, pop in at the start of your visit to grab a map and to ask about the best routes to explore. The staff and owners are more than happy to help! 

The café itself features some beautiful seating and amazing views back over Kep and out to sea! Arrive when it’s busy and you’ll be treated to a show as everyone vies for the most Instagrammable spots!

Be Aware:

At the time of writing, the cafè is closed on Tuesdays. Google the opening times for the most up-to-date information! 

2. Walk the Sealed Road Around the Park

For the perfect introduction to Kep National Park, follow the eight-kilometre sealed road. It circumnavigates the park, giving access to the more adventurous trails. The road itself offers relatively easy walking. It’s undulating, with very few steep sections. There are lots of benches along the route, so you’ll find plenty of spots to rest and soak up the views.  

You’ll share the road with the odd motorcycle, so be prepared to move aside if you hear an engine zipping along! During our visit to the park, we only encountered two scooters all day, so they weren’t really a concern! 

Kep National Park Main Road – Scooter
The sealed road is easy to walk and easy to ride!

3. Walk Up to Phnom Kep

One of my favourite, albeit not very scenic, hikes in Kep National Park is up to Phnom Kep. At 286 metres, this is the highest point in the park but you wouldn’t know that from the top. There is no view and the summit is marked only by a small cairn and a sign. The route itself starts as a steep, sweat-inducing climb before flattening out a little. Prepare to clamber over, under and through the trees on your way to the summit! 

Be Warned

A lot of the quirky yellow signs and trail markers are ageing. During our last visit in 2024, they were fading and hard to spot from a distance. While the signs still exist, they’re infrequent on some jungle trails. Thankfully, cairns have sprung up along the routes, reassuring hikers that they’re on the right track! Some trails were also too overgrown to follow. Bear this in mind when organising your visit – you may have to adjust your plans depending on the condition of the trails when you arrive! 
Phnom Kep Sign, Kep National Park
The signs aren’t all as vibrant as they used to be!

4. Visit Sunset Rock

Arguably the most famous viewpoint in Kep National Park, Sunset Rock offers cracking views over the Gulf of Thailand. There are two main routes to reach the rock. One is up the Stairway to Heaven trail and the other is along the Nun’s Path. Both routes intersect before reaching Sunset Rock. The best option for you will depend on where you are in the park when you decide to go. 

5. Check Out the Abandoned Infrastructure

If you’ve not had your fill of Urbexing in Kep yet, then keep your eyes peeled for the abandoned structures around the park. These are interesting to nose about but be careful. The wooden structures are rotting away and can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention! 

Abandoned Building Kep National Park
Nature is taking back the empty wooden structures!

6. Experience the Viewing Tower

Don’t miss the 12-metre viewing tower. Built using the proceeds from selling carbon credits, the tower offers an astounding view of the surrounding forests and outskirts of Kep town. It doesn’t take long to reach from the main trail and is well worth the detour! 

7. Take on Some Other Trails

As well as Phnom Kep and Sunset Rock, there are plenty of other trails dotted throughout the park. The Little Buddha and Stone Horse are two more spots beloved by travellers. Take a photo of the map on the way in, or grab one from Led Zep Café, so you know where you’re going! 

Cairn, Hiking Kep National Park
When the trail markers fail you, follow the cairns!

How to Get to Kep National Park

Kep National Park is within easy walking distance of Kep town. If you’re right on the outskirts, you may want to get a tuk-tuk. The walk through town is exposed with very little shade! You can either use PassApp, the most popular Uber alternative in Cambodia or hail a tuk-tuk on the street – all the drivers know where the main entrance is!

Kep National Park Entrance
Looking back to the main entrance of Kep National Park!

There are two entrances to Kep National Park. The main one is near Veranda Natural Resort and Sunset Café. The other is beside Kep Mountain Lodge. Both entrances have a gate and small gatehouse which may or may not be manned by a park ranger. If you arrive before the rangers, you can just go around or underneath the gate. 

What to Bring to Kep National Park

Whether you’re visiting the national park for an hour or spending the entire day exploring, make sure you have the essentials! 

  • Water – more than you think you’ll need!
  • Snacks
  • Suncream
  • Insect repellent 
  • Sturdy shoes – you don’t want to wear sandals or flip-flops if you plan to explore some of the more rugged trails. 
  • Hiking poles – optional but useful on the steeper sections of trail.
  • Cash – for the entrance fee and a stop-off at Led Zep.
  • A map app – maps.me is the best option as it has some trails marked. They don’t appear on Google Maps. 

Where to Go Next:

Kampot: Just 45 minutes down the road from Kep is the backpacker hub of Kampot. The town is quickly becoming a must-visit spot for travellers in Cambodia. There’s an awesome vibe in Kampot and some great accommodation options! And if you haven’t had your fill of national parks, you can visit Bokor from Kampot. It offers a completely different experience to Kep National Park! 

Koh Tonsay: Known more commonly among travellers as Rabbit Island, Koh Tonsay is a great place to disconnect and unwind. Visit for an afternoon, or commit to a couple of days there. Accommodation is rustic but good value for money. There’s no WiFi and electricity only lasts for around six hours a day. There’s not much to do on Koh Tonsay, so take a book, buy a coconut and enjoy those beach vibes! 

Vietnam: Kep is only 30 km from the Vietnamese border, making it a perfect final stop in Cambodia. Tuk-tuk drivers in Kep are well used to taking people to the border, so you won’t have an issue finding transport!

Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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