Only 8 kilometres from the quiet Cambodian town of Kampot lies the entrance to Bokor Mountain in Bokor National Park. Reputedly home to wild elephants and tigers it boasts a beautiful landscape most famous for the abandoned Bokor Hill Station, a new luxury casino and hotel complex, waterfalls and some great hiking opportunities.
Getting To Bokor National Park
Getting to Bokor Mountain takes you along a scenic drive from town on a newly constructed road that is in great condition. In the past the route was quite treacherous but since 2012 and the construction of the new casino this has all changed. There is no passenger entrance fee to the park, but a scooter will cost 2000 Riel (50c US).
Riding A Scooter Or Motorcycle
The best way to get to Bokor National Park! It is 32 kilometres from the entrance to the end of the road on Bokor Mountain through some steep, curvy terrain. Traffic is minimal. While the distance is not great you can easily expect this to take up to two hours one way to get to the abandoned casino depending on the power of your ride and how often you stop to take photos. You can rent bikes in Kampot for between $5-20 depending on the size of bike you would like. Due to the steep inclines a full tank of fuel is a good idea. There is a fuel station at the corner of the turn-off. To fill up a scooter should cost about $4-5
Taking A Tour
Different tour companies offer day trips to Bokor National Park for up to $25. Most of these include a snack lunch.
Taxi Or Tuk Tuk
If you have enough people in your group you can negotiate a price with a tuk tuk or taxi for the day. Although by the time you add up the costs of doing this it will be much more cost-effective to rent a scooter for the day. If you aren’t a confident rider consider spending a few days riding around the town of Kampot first to get your skills up.
Bokor Mountain is notorious for cloudy conditions and sporadic rain. Rolling clouds can bring visibility down to almost zero in a matter of seconds. It is also a lot cooler up at 1080m than what you may be used to. Due to this we recommend bringing at least a poncho or rain jacket and warm clothes. It can get cold up on the mountain!
Things To See And Do On Bokor Mountain
- At Bokor Hill Station is Le Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino which was built in 1925. Abandoned by the French since the 1940s, it is now a shell of its former self but makes for an interesting time exploring the old building. Located on the edge of a cliff when visibility is good you are offered spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand, the Southern Cambodian islands and Phu Quoc island.
- An old Catholic church remains unoccupied closer to the new casino and also makes for an eery sight.
- Thansur Bokor Highland Resort is a new 5 star development housing a hotel, casino, restaurants and cafes. It is worth stopping by just to check out the immense scope of plans they have for the entire area. If things go through, this will be one of the largest resort complexes in SE Asia.
- Popokvil waterfall is another great stopping off point to snap some pictures. Popokvil, meaning ‘swirling clouds’ is an appropriate name for the cascades. These are best visited in the wet season when the falls are at their most impressive.
- There are plenty of hikes around Bokor Mountain to go on as well and guides can be hired from either Kampot or the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort. Do be careful to not venture off the paths due to the possibility of land mines still being hidden. The area has been cleared twice, but it is always better to be safe than sorry!
- Lok Yeay Mao Monument is a large meditating Buddha that overlooks the coast. It will be one of the first attractions you get to as you ride up into Bokor National Park and is worth parking up and walking to the top for the view.
- Behind the new resort is Wat Sampove Pram. A small pagoda and temple with many Buddha statues around it is definitely worth stopping by to check out and enjoy the amazing scenery
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