The Bokor hilltop community was built in the early 1900s, as the thousand metre elevation provided a pleasant climate for a French colonial hill station. The 34 km road to the top was built by prisoners, many of which died during construction.
A hotel opened in 1925, named the Bokor Palace Hotel and a casino, church, school, post office, royal residence and houses were al supported by a 200 strong population. On the whole, the wealthy French would hold lavish parties and the Chinese would gamble, some of whom would jump off the casino garden terrace at the edge of the cliff after having lost their loot.
Bokor mountain is now part of the Preah Monivong National Park, and the former buildings are ghostly ruins. In recent years the go ahead has been given to a long term project to re-establish Bokor as a major tourist destination. This already includes the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort & Casino. Further developments should include a theme park of some kind, and even a cable car ride covering a short part of the rise.
The road to the top of Bokor mountain has now opened up to public again and the normal $5 entrance fee to enter the National Park does no longer apply! You can drive your bicycle, bike or car up to the top at your own pace. Throughout the year, it is possible to arrange a trekking tour to the top with the Bokor rangers, and guesthouses and travel agencies can arrange this.
Once at the summit, guests are able to rent rooms in the splendid new Thansur Resort. They won’t come too cheap.
The national park is home to a great deal of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, gibbons and rare birds. You are still able to walk freely around the various former ruins, some of them are under ‘renovation’, which present an eerie experience, especially when the low cloud is swirling around. On a clear day, and best in the early morning, a spectacular view of the Gulf of Thailand awaits; a grand panorama.
Treks into the surrounding jungle can also be arranged with the rangers