Mount Bokor, Kampot - review by Rusty Compass
Kampot | see and do guide

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Mount Bokor, Kampot

| 23 Mar 2012


Mount Bokor, Kampot
The peak is 2 hours drive from Kampot

Our rating
23 Mar 2012

The war ravaged ghost town on top of Mount Bokor is one of the main draws of Kampot province. Access is tricky at the moment with some major tourism developments under construction on the mountain.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

UPDATE: An enormous commercial development is now fully under way at Mount Bokor. While the development has improved road access, the ruins of the former town are now at the centre of the new development. Access to the ruins is now subject to the developers. We are advised that the old casino is now being redeveloped.

If the ruins of nearby Kep stir the imagination, the shot-up hillstation on top of Mount Bokor will be a profound experience - especially if haunting mists roll across the coast and over the abandoned buildings.

The hillstation on Mount Bokor, like its counterparts in Vietnam was a favoured retreat for French colonials suffering the Indochinese heat and humidity. The settlement flourished in the 1920s with a luxurious hotel, health spa and casino. A Catholic Church also occupied a prime location. All these structures still stand, as do many others, despite enduring prolonged battles between Vietnamese troops and the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The scars of battle are everywhere, as are evocative fragments like perfectly preserved tiles.

If the mist clears, the views across the Gulf of Thailand and Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island, are sublime.

Travel tips

Access to Mount Bokor has been tricky for several years now. A major new hotel and casino development seems to control the site. Local tour operators in Kampot still seem to operate their day trips even when the word around town says access is forbidden. Good luck! It's definitely worth the ride. The road is much improved and the journey takes you through the lush jungles of Mount Bokor National Park - a natural splendour in its own right.

Most backpacker tours from Kampot include some exploration of the National Park. It's also now possible to scale the mountain by private car (4WD no longer mandatory weather permitting).

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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