Hi, Our friends stayed in Kampot four years ago and recommended it to us as a stop on our honeymoon itinerary because of the Bokor Hill Station and the abandoned casino and other eerie but compelling architectural relics. However, I have been researching online and saw a mention that the casino is now being converted and major development works are taking place? As we have limited time in Cambodia - does anyone know if this is true?
#1 rose51 has been a member since 1/11/2009. Posts: 11
Yes it is true,but I believe that as of now,the access road has been developed,but not much done on the top at the hill station.I have been told by a friend who lives near there,that you can still visit the place,but only in an organised tour.It's probably best to go sooner rather than later before it is "developed"
That information is not correct.
Bokor is officially closed. They only open during khmer hollidays. Sometimes tours can go up but even then it's not clear whether you have to hike up (very tough going) or can go by car. The prices they charge also vary a lot (bribes) and access depends heavily on what sort of construction they are doing at that time.
I you have limited time I would leave it out of your itinerary.
Thanks for your replies I'm glad I thought to ask before we went!
#4 rose51 has been a member since 1/11/2009. Posts: 11
Sorry "Eastwest" but,the information I gave IS correct.Bokor is open to people who go on organised tours from Kampot,as I stated.You can't just turn up on a motorcycle or in a car and go up there independently.Apparently it involves a hike of maybe 2 hours from the point where the vehicle has to stop.It may be open early next year,so that you can go all the way up in a vehicle,as soon as the access road is finished.So yes the correct answer is "Bokor is open,but only to organised tours,and it's not an easy option" This information,I should add,is from a bar owner who lives in Kampot,who was in my bar in Ha Tien yesterday,so although I haven't actually been to Bokor myself,I should think it's quite accurate
I was in Kampot in December last year, and the information posted by oasis above is what we were told at that time. You can only go in with a guide - and you can't travel (on wheels) up as far as you used to be able to. I believe you now have a 2-3 hour hike to Bokor Station from where you have to park.
Hi thanks to everyone for your replies its good to know the tours are still running. However I think maybe my main point of question may have been missed. It's not that I am not sure how or whether its possible to get up the hill - but more about what is there to see once you have arrived. I have read that the abandoned casino that attracts so many and was the highlight of my friend's trip because of it eerie derelict state is now being redeveloped and modernised?
#7 rose51 has been a member since 1/11/2009. Posts: 11
Well,as I understand it,although the area is scheduled for re-development,the only work so far done(and not yet completed) is the access road,no work has been done on the site,because construction traffic was unable to get up there,once the access road is finished,then I expect the construction will commence.So I believe it is possible to get there and see the original buildings,but it won't be for that much longer
I speak from personal experience over the last year when I've had numerous clients coming in very disappointed with Bokor. Either the walk took 6 hours (instead of 2 hours as promised) or they couldn't get up at all or they got charged $120 per person.
If you want to say otherwise, you're free to do so off course.
I just want to warn rose of potential disappointment.
About the buildings you're right. They are still there but there are already some heaps of sand and raw materials for the building.
I went up two years ago, all by foot. It was a very difficult but enjoyable trek and took about 7 hours with breaks at waterfalls and for lunch. We stayed at the ranger's station at the top, and have a fabulous time exploring the derelict buildings.
I was in Kampot two weeks ago, and went to look up the guide who took us up there (Mr Cheung Trey). He's still in business and now uses a vehicle for some of the route. His prices are reasonable and he has amazing stories to tell.
The main choice whoever you go with is day trip (tiring and not so much time at the top) or overnight (possiblly more difficult and basic accomodation but more time to explore).
Personally, I don't think the atmosphere and spookiness will have been destroyed by a few piles of sand, but time is definitely ticking on with the development plans.
Kampot and Kep are worth a visit anyway, so I'd suggest you turn up and find out what's the latest for that week. If you can't get up the hill, you can drive around the abandoned villas in Kep - not quite the same, but interesting nevertheless, and much easier on the feet!