If you’re looking for an adventurous day trip not so far from Kampot the Bokor National Park should be your number one pick. The top of Bokor mountain reaches a height of 1048 metre above sea level and that is where you can find historical sites as Le Bokor Palace, Bokor church and Damnak Sla Khmao. Beside Bokor Hill Station the park is home to the Popokovil Waterfall and provides great panoramic views over the Gulf of Thailand and Kampot Province.
For those who want to add Bokor to their list of things to do in Kampot don’t look any further. This guide contains everything you need to know about visiting Bokor mountain in Cambodia.
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How to get to Bokor National Park
If planning a trip to Bokor National Park came to mind, your probably thinking of staying in Kampot. Kampot is the best starting point when it comes to visiting Bokor Hill in Cambodia. Located at only 35km from the city center of Kampot it takes around 1 hour to reach Bokor Hill Station and this can be done in several ways.
Joining a Bokor National Park Tour
In the city center of Kampot you can find a few tourist offices that offer tours to the main attractions in Kampot. One of them is a tour to the Preah Monivong National Park. Most of these tours bring you along Bokor Hill Station, Wat Sampov Pram and the Lok Yeay Mao Monument. A trip from Kampot to Bokor Hill is usually combined with a sunset cruise on the Kampot river. Visiting the national park takes around 5-6 hours and cost $8 per person and you get transported with a minivan.
Renting a motorbike
The best way to explore the park is by renting a motorbike in Kampot. The roads from Kampot to Bokor Hill station are in good condition and you will come along some of the most spectacular viewpoints. If you enter the Bokor National Park by motorbike you have to pay an entrance fee of $0,50 at the bottom of the hill. We prefer this option as it gives you the most freedom while exploring one of the highlights in the Kampot province.
What to see in Bokor National Park
The Preah Monivong National Park in Kampot, Cambodia is rich in history and is one of the things you have to experience while visiting Kampot. This guide provides all the information you need when it comes to visiting the Bokor National Park
Damnak Sla Khmao
The Black Palace is located at the beginning of the Preah Monivong National Park. Damnak Sla Khmao (which is the original name) was built as a summer residence for King Sihanouk and was used between the 50s and 60s. Nowadays the palace is abandoned and the ruins are taken over by nature. The structure has fallen into decay and is covered with beautiful pieces of graffiti. The Palace itself is a perfect viewpoint to see the surrounding Bokor Hill and is home to hundreds of butterflies. When exploring the ruins keep an eye open for the surrounding jungle, you never know what kind of animal or insect might cross your path.
Lok Yeay Mao Monument
On the other side of the road at Bokor Mountain you see an enormous monument. The 29 meter high Lok Yeay Mao Monument is known as a goddess in Buddhist culture and locals still come here to pray. Legend says that Lok Yeay Mao was protector of the mountains and coastal area of Cambodia.
Wat Sampov Pram
The top of Bokor Hill Station reaches a height of 1048 metre above sea level and that is where you find Wat Sampov Pram. The Pagoda that was built by King Monivong is the highest Pagoda in Cambodia. On a clear day you get rewarded with stunning views over the Gulf of Thailand and the Preah Monivong National Park. What's even more spectacular is when the clouds touch the edge of the Bokor mountain. These circumstances provide stunning scenes and you literally find yourself above the clouds.
Bokor Hill Station
In 1921 the French Colonial rule built a village on top of Bokor Mountain to use as a summer getaway. With Bokor Mountain reaching a height of 1048 metre it was the perfect place to avoid the crowd and heat. Nowadays the Sokimex Investment Group owns the rights of the Cambodian government to rebuild Bokor Hill Station. But it won’t stop with rebuilding the place, the plan is to built hotels, golf clubs and restaurants. It’s a shame that this authentic place is being transformed into a place for luxury and leisure. Don’t hesitate to visit while it is still authentic.
Le Bokor Palace
The well known Le Bokor Palace hotel was first opened in 1925 by the French. The hotel that is positioned between the clouds of Bokor Hill in Cambodia was abandoned in 1946 during the Indochina war. After reopening it in 1962 it took only 10 years till it got abandoned again. This time Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forces took over the area and used it as a stronghold. The Khmer Rouge managed to hold the stronghold until early 1990s.
After several years of renovation the Bokor Palace reopened their doors in 2018 to function as a 6 star hotel + casino.
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The old abandoned church at Bokor Hill Station is still in the original state as the French built it back in the days. The contrast of the with orange moss covered church at the edge of Bokor Mountain with fog gives a stunning scenery. When you walk your way left of the church you'll reach a viewpoint and those views will not disappoint. Walking among the church is one of the highlights at Bokor Hill Station.
The Popokvil waterfall is the only waterfall in the Kampot province and is located not too far from the Bokor Hill Station. Although you see great pictures of this small waterfall on the internet, don’t aim to high with your expectations. During the dry season there isn’t that much to see and the best time to visit the Popokvil waterfall is during monsoons.
Near the waterfall you can find a small restaurant that sells local food and drinks.
Overviewing the Gulf of Thailand
At 1048 metre above sea level you have a great panoramic view over the Gulf of Thailand when the sky is clear. From all of the attractions in Preah Monivong National Park you have a great overview but we prefer the viewpoint at the Bokor Church or the one at the right side at Wat Sampov Pram.
How long should i stay in Bokor National Park
The highlights of the Bokor National Park can all be seen in half a day but to truly appreciate each of them we recommend to visit the park a full day. If you’re thinking about hiking in Bokor Mountain it is wise to plan a few days. The easiest and most efficient way to explore the park is with a motorbike. It’s easy to park your motorbike once you reach one of the attractions and explore the area on foot.
Eventually we did it in half a day with a guided tour but if we could do it again we would rent a motorbike and take some more time to experience the park.
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The weather at Bokor Mountain
Because of the height that Bokor mountain reaches the temperature is lower than around the coast in Kampot. The mountain is also well known for being cloudy and when clouds pass by the temperature most likely drops. The year round average temperature is around 25 degrees.
Cambodia has a tropical climate and the result of that is the monsoon that runs from June to October. You can still visit Cambodia during monsoon as it only rains for around 2 hours a day. With the high chance of rain it is wise to bring a rain jacket and some warm clothes.
Where to stay in Kampot
With the Bokor National Park located in the Kampot province, Kampot is the best place to settle yourself for a few days. Kampot is a city where live feels slow and is one of our favorite places in Cambodia. Chances are that you stay a little longer than originally planned. Below you can find some of our favorite hotels in Kampot.
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