Bokor Hill Station
Cambodia is always universally known as a mecca for cultural, historical, and natural sites that so far has been one of the top-rated tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Almost all provinces in Cambodia will have something special to offer and captivate visitors to go back there another time. There is no exception for Kampot Province. If you have an occasion to visit Kampot, make sure to put Bokor Hill Station high on your itinerary to upgrade your travel experience to a new level.
Bokor Hill Station has earned its own reputation as an old French colonial part of Bokor that is established near the Bengalo Bokor Lake to the South of Kampot Province. During the wartime, the purpose of this building complex was to help French colonialists escape from the severe weather condition of Phnom Penh including heat and humidity that they found it hard to get familiar with. Bokor Hill is around 1050 meters in height with a refreshingly cool climate that we can easily understand the reason why the French had chosen this place to build their own summer retreat. The main features of this colonial station were a high-class Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino, shops, post offices, and even a catholic church that provided the French almost everything to indulge in an extravagant lifestyle. Therefore, a trip to Bokor Hill Station would be a perfect option for visitors that historical tours are totally their cup of tea. The trip will definitely enable you to get an authentic taste into the life of French colonials who settled in Cambodia more than 70 years ago. The average temperature in Bokor is annually no higher than 28 Celcius Degrees, so you can book your year-round trips to Bokor Hill Station for the pleasant climate here. However, the best time recommended should be from December to April of the next year to help you avoid unexpected rains, which lets you enjoy the trip to the fullest.
Take a look at one corner of Bokor Hill Station to get overwhelmed at how time affected a construction
Bokor Hill Station’s history does not seem to stretch to a long time, but there are so many incidents that happened during that time. Bokor Hill Station was first built to become the colonial resort for French colonialists to get away from the capital city of Phnom Penh in the early 20th century. Inside the Hill Station was notorious Bokor Palace known as a colonial residence, which was opened in 1925 along with the emergence of a myriad of other architectures mentioned before. The first striking incident took place when the building complex was totally abandoned due to a local rebellion. Fortunately, Bokor Hill Station was restored in 1920, and other new buildings were built surrounding the location of Bokor Hill that eventually has made that once-abandoned French retreat a captivation tourist spot for both domestic and international travelers. Nowadays, the hill station is still abandoned, but its tourism potential still remains.
How to get there
It is good to hear that you can reach Bokor Hill Station flexibly by several means of transport as follow. The first option you may consider traveling to this captivating historical site is by car. Hopping on a car or taking on it along with day tours available in Kampot is believed to be an optimal choice for every traveler for being fast, convenient, and comfortable. Remember if you choose this means of transport, you will take approximately an hour to get to the final destination at Bokor Hill Station. For some having a taste for solo tours or budget tours, it is highly recommended that you should get to the station on a bus. A bus trip will be both money-saving and eye-opening as it could bring you through off-the-beaten-path areas on the route to Bokor Hill Station. In Phnom Penh, you can effortlessly take on a bus departing in the morning or evening from Sangkat Chey Chumneas Khan Daun Penh in Phnom Penh. The last choice here is getting to Bokor Hill Station on a motorbike. There is no doubt driving on your own is wonderful and best for real challengers on any trip. If you are confident about your driving ability, you need to give it a try! In Kampot, you can rent a bike to drive it to the French colonial resort. A good thing for bikers is the route is in good use enough for a motorbike trip.
What to see at Bokor Hill Station
Damnak Sla Khmao
Damnak Sla Khmao appears as a prominent building in the building complex of Bokor Hill Sation in Kampot Cambodia. Once was known for another name of “Black Palace”, it was literally the royal residence of King Sihanouk was completed in 1936. The residence was built out of a mixture of bricks and black wood with a unique design that makes it stand out from other architectures in Bokor Hill Station. Sadly, Damnak Sla Khmao nowadays mostly stands in ruins. However, for being situated in a dramatically beautiful part of the Bokor Valley, the building can offer spectacular natural sights over the mountains and valleys to help visitors shoot the nicest pictures ever!
Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino
It will be a big mistake if Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino are not on the list of top-rated destinations in Bokor Hill Station. The old Bokor Palace construction was finished almost a century ago. The buildings of the hotel and casino in Bokor Hill Station attracted many visitors’ attention as they were among the most typical examples of exquisite French architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. You may get hooked at the fact that now the old Bokor Palace has been turned into a six-star world-class hotel and casino after a comprehensive restoration. Thanks to the group Sikomex has leased the area around the hill station for a period of 99 years, there has been the construction of a wide range of new hotels, golf courses, and roads that help connect Kampot and Phnom Penh capital city.
Bokor Palace at night could bring a cozy and luxurious feeling to all visitors
If you want to step further to discover the wonderful natural site near Bokor Hill Station, Popokvil Waterfalls will be a great option to meet your expectation. Here is truly a mecca for trekkers to depart from the Bokor Lake not so far from the Bokor Hill Station. You may note that the best time to pay Popokvil Waterfalls a visit is monsoon season. This is the time when mists swirl around the top of the falls that provides you a picturesque scenery alongside the trails leading to the waterfall. To make the trip more exciting, you can hire a bicycle to drive and explore areas around the colonial retreat yourself.
Make sure to bring your camera not to miss a cool picture like this at the waterfall!
In conclusion, a trip to Bokor Hill Station to get away from it all is a good idea for all visitors heading for a memorable Cambodia journey. The building complex in Bokor Hill seems to never fail to bring you a whole new historical and natural travel experience that is harmony between amazing French colonial architectures and the magnificent beauty of nature. Do not hesitate anymore to book your trip now up to one of the best tourist hotspots in Cambodia!
Image source: Internet