Discovering Bokor Hill in Cambodia

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Discovering Bokor Hill in Cambodia
Discovering Bokor Hill in Cambodia

Bokor Hill is a collection of French colonial buildings in Kampot. It is one of Cambodia’s attractions that visitors should not miss when travelling to this country.

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Bokor Hill

Bokor Hill or Bokor Hill Station was a high-class French Hotel and Casino complex that was built in the early 1920s to give the French colonialist everything they needed for a summer retreat and to get a break from the countries intense heat. The hill is at an elevation of nearly 1050 meters and was once a gorgeous mountaintop collection of buildings that included several structures, including a post office, church, royal residence, hotel and cemetery.

It was a high-class French Hotel and Casino complex that was built in the early 1920s
It was a high-class French Hotel and Casino complex that was built in the early 1920s

Bokor Hill Station is quite historical, intriguing and exciting and makes it possible to see these mountaintop buildings that are now in a quite dilapidated state. On reaching the top and cruising through the mist you get to admire the hidden sights (if permitted by the weather).

One place to stop at before reaching the top is Black Palace, which are about two thirds up the road. This was a former summer retreat of King Sihanouk and abandoned decades ago and is now covered in startlingly orange lichen. It is relatively close to a new Buddha statue, as well as a cafe that can offer refreshments before reaching the summit.

How to get there

Bokor hill
Bokor hill

The quickest and most efficient way to reach Bokor is either hiring a moto dop or self-driving a motorbike – the breathtaking vistas and swooping curves give a very rewarding ride.

The upward journey can take in the region of 90 minutes to complete, so make sure to have enough fuel in the tank before setting off. Other options include taxis that are easily arranged through guesthouses   or for the most determined cyclists; the climb can be attempted using a mountain bike. These are available to hire in several places throughout Kampot town.