Adventurous travellers looking for a fantastic day out near the town of Kampot in Cambodia should visit Bokor National Park. It’s a beautiful place on the top of Bokor Mountain (Phnom Bokor) and is full of interesting historical sites to explore.
The park is 35km away from Kampot and can be reached in an hour. Minivan tours are $8 and leave Kampot city centre regularly. Alternatively, brave souls who crave more freedom should consider hiring a motorbike.
Preah Monivong Bokor National Park is vast and there is much to see. A quick trip around the highlights would take half a day but we recommend investing a whole day so you can take your time to soak up the atmosphere of this stunning part of Cambodia.
TOP SIGHTS IN BOKOR NATIONAL PARK
Wat Sampov Pram
Wat Sampov Pram is the highest Pagoda in Cambodia and your climb will be rewarded by spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand and the rest of the park.
The vibrantly coloured pagoda is small, rustic, and ornate with a mysterious vibe that I fell in love with.
Wat Sampov Pram translates as ‘Temple of the Five Boats’ a name that refers to the five unusual boat-like rock formations that are nearby.
Carefully peer over the edge of the vast cliff the pagoda sits above and feel the power of nature. If you’re lucky, a stunning cloud inversion will creep into the valley and take your breath away.
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The abandoned Catholic church near the Hill Station was built in the French style and still has an interesting charm despite its ruined state and covering of orange moss. Inside you’ll find, slightly creepy religious relics such as a faceless Virgin Mary.
Escape the gloom and wander around in the overgrown grounds and you will soon discover a viewpoint over the edge of Phnom Bokor onto the fantastic scene below.
In the wet season Popokvil Waterfall is a beautiful location that will feel like an oasis. You can hike to the base of the falls and set up a day camp on the rocks from which you can swim and explore the greenery nearby. If you’re quiet, as you roam you might be fortunate enough to see some exciting wildlife.
Be warned, in the dry season Popokvil Waterfall is little more than a trickle and there won’t be much to see other than dramatic rocks and locals selling snacks and drinks in the small café.
Bokor Hill Station
In 1921 Bokor Hill Station and the surrounding village were built by the French colonial rulers. It was used as a summer retreat from the intense heat and chaos of the cities, at the summit of a 1048m mountain was the perfect place.
The Palace and Casino at the centre of the station were places of extreme contrast. Extravagant luxury for the rich alongside cruelty and death for the Cambodians whose labour built it. The story then took a further dark turn as the crumbling buildings became hideouts for soldiers from the brutal Kymer Rouge regime.
Sadly, the right to rebuild the hill station was given to a company that is determined to build a luxury resort that will destroy the authenticity and natural beauty of the Bokor National Park.
PLANNING YOUR PERFECT KAMPOT TRIP
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