Bokor National Park (officially called Preah Monivong National Park) is 1581 square kilometers of protected land in Southern Cambodia, near the Vietnamese border. A large range of vegetation and a wide variety of rare and threatened animals such as elephants, leopards, bears, monkeys and birds reside at these premises. One famous man made attraction at the park is the French built Bokor Hill Station.
The hill station was constructed in 1921 on Damrei Mountain (also known as Elephant Mountain), which is over 1,000 meters above sea level. The town was built by settlers as a means of escaping the heat and humidity of Phnom Penh. The main attraction of the resort is the Grand Bokor Palace and Casino. Surrounding it are shops, a church and apartments.
There are several methods of travelling up the mountain. Visitors can choose to rent a 125cc scooter or large dirt bikes. If one does not feel comfortable driving up the path, bike drivers can also be hired. Visitors may also choose to rent a car with a driver as a means of getting up to the park.
Bokor Hill Station has been abandoned twice because of war, once in the late 1940’s and a second time (and for good) in 1972. A lot of the scarring from these wars is present for visitors to see today. The remains though are a great place for a scenic view of the Cambodian and Vietnamese coastlines as well as the many outlying islands. Walking around the casino, hotels and other buildings can be a little spooky, especially if one of the frequent mist rolls in. City of Ghosts starring Matt Dillon and a South Korean horror movie R-Point were filmed here. About 10 kilometers from the hill station is the Black Palace, an abandoned summer palace of King Sihanouk.
The national park consists of several tracks ranging from two to eight hours in walking duration. These paths are filled with green scenery and occasional encounters with Southern Cambodia’s wildlife. There is also a path that leads to the two-tier Popokvil Waterfall, which is a spectacular site to visit, especially during the monsoon season. The waterfall is a great site for a picnic lunch, a refreshing swim or for picture taking.
Unfortunately, Bokor National Park is still threatened by poachers, loggers and development. In the 1990’s the park was a candidate to be World Heritage Site, but the problems that plagued Bokor put this on hold. However, there are a group of devoted foresters and enforcement rangers from the Wildlife Alliance dedicating their time to protect the park.
Bokor National Park is an interesting destination in Cambodia. The paths leading to the park is scenic and rudimentary, which makes a trip to the park memorable. The cool mountain air, the adventure and scenery are all good reasons to travel up to Bokor as well and is a great visit from nearby Kep (8 kilometers) and Sihanoukville (95 kilometers). If you would like to visit Bokor National Park as a day or overnight trip on our Kep Escape or Sihanoukville Escape tours, feel free to contact us. You may also view our suggested Cambodia tours page for other remarkable trips into this wonderful country.
Get it touch
Take adventage of