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“One of my favorites days in Cambodia”

Bokor National Park
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Ranked #220 of 463 things to do in Cambodia
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Reviewed January 18, 2013

We went up to Bokor for New Year's Day and there were many Cambodians going to picnic and enjoy the park and there was a celebratory atmosphere. We took a van tour up. I loved exporing the church and the shell of the old casino. Hiking around these areas and climbing on the rocks was enjoyable. The waterfall was lovely and we figured out how to get down to the base and climb around the rocks all the way up into the falls and hiked around a bit in the area surrounding the waterfall as well. The new casino is gross (we just stopped to use their bathroom), but it is easily avoided. I'd love to go back and do more hiking in Bokor.

Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 3, 2012

The day trip to Bokor National Park is a depressing encounter. You are taken to a newly built exhibiton center where they show you 'The Masterplan,' how they plan to destroy 5km square of national park to build houses, hotels and casinos. You can also see a derelict colonial house, a derelict church and some constructruction sites. You will not see any wildlife or indeed any national park. Avoid.

3  Thank johnkybadman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2012

We hired a scooter and after making sure we had a full tank set out on our first ever ride up the bokor national park mountain. Although we were worried it would be too difficult, given that we had never ridden a scooter before, it was relatively easy and we had a ridiculously fun time. The scenery of the ride up was overwhelming-with not too many other tourists or traffic we felt alone in the lovely scene, allowing us to gaze upon its full beauty with very few distractions. Due to the fog we did not visit the old French casino and hotel at the top, but we did stumble across some old, abandoned houses which were eerie and surreal. It was a cheap yet sublime experience that I would love to do again.

4  Thank mad k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2011

Due to the recent construction of the mega hotel/casino/wat at the top, the road to the former ghost town of Bokor has been paved into the nicest one in the country to ride a motorcycle! We started in Kep, which is about 40 minutes ride from the entrance. Once there, it's 19 km of pure joy as you ride the switchbacks and hairpins up to the top! You quickly rise above the smoky haze and humidity and into the only bright blue sky we've seen in Asia (we also got sunburnt, so wear protection). It's noticably colder on the mountain as well - felt great! The views on the way up were awesome, and the ride itself was a blast, even on a little 125cc scooter. After passing Sokimex's huge construction project, we arrived at the old Catholic church. There was a family living in it now, but they allowed us to enter and take photos of the granite alter that's still intact. Just up the hill behind the church are the ruins of the priest's house, which offer incredibly stunning views toward the sea below. From there we went to the Royal Bokor Hotel site, which is being redeveloped, unfortunately. A quick walk around back offers more incredible views. We spoke with a construction worker about going inside and he agreed - for $5. We haggled to $1.75 and spent an hour taking photos throughout the once grand hotel, from basement to rooftop bar. Pretty hard to believe the place can be restored, but there's a lot of original tiles and sconces left to show the former grandeur of the place. We also wandered the ruins of a few villas at the end of the road (past the beautifully restored one) and on the other side of the old water tower. No matter where we rode we encountered friendly people we would have never met on a tour. Save yourself the money and if you can, tour it yourself! If there's a park entrance fee we weren't asked for one.

1  Thank GlobalVagabonds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2011

Several tour campanies in Kampot offer a 'Bokor Hill Tour' to the Bokor National Park.

My tour was booked from Kampot Travel and Tours. When booking the day before, the lady at the outlet asked for US$15 but a male who spoke English and provided answers to questions over the phone tried asking for US$17.

The following morning, the mini van arrives at 0830 on the dot and I’m put into a back seat with the guide trying to fit another 3 people along the back that comfortably accommodates 3 westerners only. Some complaints and the guide decides to sit in-between the driver and front seat passenger.

By the time we finish picking up others from guesthouses there are 10 tourists and the guide and driver so the minin van is comfortably full. We stop about 3 times to collect bottles of water, fruit and lunch before finally leaving Kampot bound for Bokor National Park and the old palace at the top.

We stop briefly at the park entrance but the admission fee is included so I’m not really sure how much it costs. The road is undergoing some significant repairs and the cliff face along the winding road also seems to be undergoing some stabilisation. The slow drive up the steep and winding mountain road offers some very nice views back over Kampot and along other parts of the coast.

We arrive at the old palace at about 1000 hrs after passing some large developments. The guide explains that a 3 star hotel and casino are being built and are expected to open in about 3 months (in February 2012). There is also a 5 star hotel in the plans and the foundations can be seen approximately 500 metres or so past the almost completed hotel complex.

We pass the old church and park in front of the Bokor Palace that is now covered in scaffolding and is inaccessible as it is apparently being renovated to house a Museum. The old church is now inhabited by several families from the construction site so it is not really possible to look inside.

There are portable toilets at the palace and waterfall sites but all the doors are locked so it is not possible to use these facilities. It is not so bad as a male but some of the females in the group seem a little frustrated at having no toilet facilities during the 7 hour tour.

After an hour and a half at the old palace area we drive to a rather dilapidated temple that at least offers good views over the hills and down to the sea. From there we drive along a new road that is under development, pausing for about 10 minutes while a rock face is blasted by the construction team.

The waterfall is the biggest disappointment. The van parks next to a raised bamboo platform and we are served some cold and tasteless vegetable fried rice and bananas for lunch before walking down to the waterfall. The area is quite dirty with empty meal containers (the same as the ones we are given) littering the area. To his credit, the guide does provide a large plastic bag for us to put our rubbish in but not all in the group take advantage of this.

The guide tells us that there is a large supermarket complex being built just above the waterfall but no completion date is known. The building is certainly in an advanced stage of being built.

To get to the waterfall it is necessary to cross a muddy, slow flowing river via two large planks of wood (no hand rails). There used to be 3 planks until one broke and lies half submurged in the river. The waterfall itself is a big disappointment.

The large sign saying ‘A green environment is your future’ and rubbish bins being available has made no impact on people discarding plastic drink bottles and other assorted rubbish, The waterfall itself is hardly flowing, even only 3 weeks after the rainy season has ended and floods have been occurring around Phnom Penh some 150 km away.

The drive back is slow and safe with a short pause at another ruined building that we are told was once a summer house for Prince Sihanouk but this was also occupied by local people who have set up house in this historic building so entering the heritage building felt like invading someone’s home.

We arrive back at the river front in Kampot at about 1500 hrs with 30 minutes to kill before the sunset cruise was due to leave. Having done a sunset cruise the evening before I pass on this part of the tour, having had enough disappointment for one day.

I later meet the 2 Swiss girls who went on the same tour and they were dissapointed enough to demand a refund, based mainly on being told they would be able to enter the old palace and church. It seems that all (or at least most) of the Kampot based tour operators for Bokor National Park are not being completely honest with the changes to the area.

2  Thank Stekmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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