Ghost Houses of Kep
by Anna Buckley
After Christina leaves Phnom Penh and the gorgeous hotel she travels to the seaside town of Kep.
Kep was a playground for the wealthy in the 1960s and 70s. After Pol Pot it never recovered, holiday mansions remain empty. Here are some of the vacant sixties houses I discovered when I traveled there.
I love the strange angles.
The sweeping curves of the verandas.
This house was a series of open rooms with a staircase leading to a roof deck.
These were just a few of what have come to be described as the ghost houses of Kep. Most of them are uninhabited and all are in varying states of decay. It was really eerie to see such modern fifties and sixties ruins.
Being in Cambodia affected me so deeply it became a huge part of my first book.
Here is an excerpt from, AWAKENING THE LOST WOMAN, where Christina discovers the houses…
As we walked through the lobby the concierge explained that scattered throughout Kep were many abandoned houses. They were built by wealthy Cambodians who were driven out or murdered during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror.
I climbed into the tuk-tuk still puzzled at why Cindy had bothered. We headed down the hill and followed the coastal road, still not quite sure exactly what I was meant to be looking at. The driver slowed and turned onto a dirt road, eventually pulling up to an overgrown wall and a steep set of stone stairs.
‘Come, house this way,’ he said in broken English.
I followed him up the stairs till we reached a landing and there I saw it. Standing across from me were the ruins of an elegant modernist mansion. Sweeping curved walls, big open rooms, stone and cement construction, all slowly being taken over by the jungle.
It was the first of many light filled fifties and sixties modern houses. Metal posts holding up expansive verandas, crazy pave facades, external stairways leading to roof decks with views out over the bay. Eerily not a soul in sight, none of the houses restored, inhabited by ghosts. He pointed out the bullet holes and the grenade damage and I realised Pol Pot must have meted out a particularly savage form of punishment on this place and its people.
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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.