Bokor National Park
Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Cambodia : Cardamom and Elephant Mountains : Bokor National Park
Bokor National Park is in Cambodia.
Bokor Hill Station was built by the French in the 1920s to be used as a retreat from the heat of the plains, a pre-air conditionning strategy familiar in all of Asia.
Flora and fauna
Wild Elephant and Tiger.
Nice cool mountain air during the day but it can get cold at night so bring warm clothes when staying overnight.
The turn off to the park is located 8km from Kampot and 95km from Sihanoukville on National Route #3. The main entrance and park headquarters are about 1 km from the main road. From there it is another 32km uphill to reach the summit.
As of October 2008, the road to Bokor is officially closed due to ongoing reconstruction (or construction). Therefore independent access seems to be impossible. However, it is still possible to arrange a trip through local travel agents. Apparently there is some bribery of local officials involved. This is also the reason for a sharp increase in prices of such trips to ca. 40 USD per person (for a one-day trip in a 4WD). As of March 2011 the new road is 90% complete.
Trekking tours for US$18-$20 can be booked in town, including the entrance fee and lunch.
The park has no entrance fee.
As of March 2011, the road up the hill is now completely smooth (except for bumping on and off a bridge), having been rebuilt for a new 5-star (and a 3-star?) hotel being constructed on the top of the hill. Trekking tours for US$18-$20 can be booked in town, including the entrance fee and lunch. It is not actually a trekking tour but just an hour one-way trek upwards after 30-40min travelling up from the entrance. Those who can't trek can still go up by the provided transportation although minor road construction is still taking place, but this is doable. It is noted that it might not be possible to travel up yourself but only with guide as of July 2011. The starting price for the package inclusive of sunset boat ride (which cost about US$5) is US$25, but is negotiable down to around US$20 (or maybe lesser depending on who you talk to and your negotiation skill) provided you get to the right tour agency/office.
The road up to the hill station is in terrible shape so prepare for a bumpy ride. It is possible to do the trip on a 125cc motor scooter but this is quite a back-breaking option. Large dirt bikes are also available for rent in Kampot which would be the better option for people that have experience riding them.
Alternatively rent a car or scooter with a driver. The locals know the road very well and will manage the trip to the top in not more than 1.5 hours.
Ruins of The Black Palace, Church, and Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino. However, take note that except for the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino, other buildings are now occupied by the family of construction workers. Thus, you would not be able to go in and explore, which makes the entire trip less interesting.
Waterfall (only in the rainy season)
Fantastic views of the surrounding area.
There are several walking tracks ranging in duration from 2 hours to 8 hours. Beware though that none of the tracks are currently maintained so it is best to hire a ranger for your own safety.
There is the visit to the Popokvil waterfalls. You can get there by car, followed by a short walk. While generally they tend not to have much water, this situation is augmented shortly after rain and during the monsoon.
Behind the Bokor Palace hotel, there is some stall set up that offer basic food and cold drink during the days.
Inside the Ranger Station, you are allow to cook some simple meal as long as you pay for the US$5 lodging. Do remember to bring your own food as buying from the ranger store offer limited and expensive option.
The Ranger Station offer some simple dorm room for a price at US$5 per person. There is however 1 double bed room also.
Mines are not common and have been cleared from the top of the hill twice (as of March 2011) (but it is still advised you stay on existing paths?)
Tigers are very rare but still avoid trekking into the bush at dusk and at night when they are most active.
Poachers hunt deep in the park, hire a ranger when trekking in these areas.
The park is huge with many trails which are not marked or maintained. Hire a ranger if you have any doubts about your route.
Only one way out. The same bad road you used going up.