Road, Bokor National Park

Bokor National Park, Cambodia – Travel Guide

Situated an hour from the centre of Kampot, Preah Monivong Bokor National Park is one of the most talked about attractions in the area. 

Previously a popular destination for Europeans in Cambodia during French colonial rule, it later became a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, before being established as a national park in 1993. Bokor now stands as one of only two ASEAN Heritage Parks in the country. 

The park sits in the Damrei mountains, making it a great day trip for travellers seeking to escape the city. At over a thousand metres above sea level, it offers respite from the unrelenting Cambodian heat – during cool season, you may even need a jumper and in rainy season, you’ll need a coat! 

Bokor National Park Map & Resources

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🇰🇭🧳 Cambodia Travel Guide
💰 Cost of Backpacking Cambodia
🗺️ Cambodia Itinerary
🚌 Nearby places: Kampot | Kep | Koh Tonsay

The Changing Face of Bokor National Park, Cambodia

When our writer Charlotte first visited Bokor National Park in 2022 she wrote:

“A spooky but fascinating place to visit, it’s a great time to explore Bokor National Park. It was probably one of the most beautiful drives we have done in SEA (I’d say it nearly beats the Hai Van Pass in Vietnam!) and there’s a cool abandoned village at the top. This was amazing to see and a bit of a different activity to do when travelling. But get there quick, the government has laid out plans for the park to be fully developed for residents and tourism by 2035.”

I visited the park myself, two years later, to discover so much had already changed. Many of the abandoned buildings are either occupied, repaired or ready to become holiday rentals. The broken doors and windows that used to allow access have been replaced and the big warehouses that once stood open were in the process of being torn down. 

While there were some empty eerie-looking buildings – especially behind the giant Thansur Bokor Highland Resort – accessing them isn’t the easy task it used to be. They’re now well sealed and hotel staff prowl the area looking out for cheeky urban explorers – or trespassers as they call them.

The future of Bokor National Park looks uncertain. Vast areas have been opened up to foreign investment. Huge concrete resorts are springing up and massive roads are being laid. Yet, somehow, the whole park feels devoid of overnight visitors. This may change but there is a strong feeling around Kampot and the surrounding area that much of this development is for money laundering purposes and will likely never be completed. 

Tim, Gear Specialist and Writer at South East Asia Backpacker.

Best Time to Visit Bokor National Park

It’s best to visit Bokor National Park between December and March when temperatures are at their most comfortable.

Despite the generally balmy climate, it is important to remember that the main part of the national park is situated over 1000m above sea level and therefore, the temperature is 6-7ºC lower than sea level. It can feel pretty chilly up top when the wind picks up!

Bokor National Park, In The Clouds
Sitting at over 1000 metres above sea level, the weather can change quickly in Bokor National Park!

How Long Should You Stay in Bokor National Park?

You won’t need more than a day exploring Bokor National Park. The journey from Kampot town centre to the park’s main area takes around an hour and you can spend the afternoon enjoying the drive, exploring the area and visiting the sights.

Where to Stay Near Bokor National Park

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If you want to spend the morning or afternoon at the park, it’s recommended that you stay in the Kampot area and make the journey to Bokor from there. In Kampot, we recommend the following accommodation options:

Check out our comprehensive guide to Kampot for more information. 

Whilst there aren’t many places to stay within the park itself, there are some hotels where you can spend the night. We don’t recommend them but if you’re super keen, here they are… 

Le Bokor Palace Hotel offers a unique, if not overpriced stay. Formerly a summer escape for European colonists, the hotel is the centrepiece of the Bokor Mountain Hill Station. It has been abandoned on multiple occasions throughout its history. First, as a result of the first Indochina War and again in 1972 when the Khmer Rouge took control of the area. 

Hill Station, Bokor National Park
Le Bokor Palace Hotel from the back garden!

The hotel and hill station remained a Khmer Rouge stronghold right up until the early 1990s, making it one of their final holdouts. After the Khmer Rouge were finally removed, the hotel was left to the elements once again, making it a popular location for urban explorers and backpackers brave enough to enter its decaying facade. Nowadays, Le Bokor Palace Hotel claims to be a six-star facility charging close to $1000USD per night. Just look at the pictures though, do you think it’s worth that price?! If you do have that sort of cash to splash, a stay here offers beautiful views and some fascinating history!

Hill Station 3, Bokor National Park
$1000USD per night you say?

Another option is the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort. This hotel has an on-site casino as well as a pool and spa area. But be warned, it’s not fully refurbished or popular. A stay here is a weird one. Empty halls, no one at the swimming pool, windows that don’t close properly and cleanliness that leaves you wanting – telling your pals back home about your stay will probably be more fun than the night itself!

Casino - Bokor National Park
Thansur Bokor Highland Resort has an in-house casino!

Things to Do in Bokor National Park

1. Spot Some Monkeys

The winding route up through the national park is one of the most scenic journeys in the whole of Cambodia. The well-paved road boasts beautiful views of Kampot town and Kep beach. You can also say hello to the monkeys that roam along the roadside on your journey up! You won’t miss them, they congregate on the walls and trees along the road and you’re bound to see one or two sunning themselves in the middle of the tarmac. Be warned, they don’t move out of the way quickly, so you’ll be expected to go around them! 

2. Visit the Black Palace

The Black Palace (known as Damnak Sla Khmao) sits close to the entrance of the national park. It’s an abandoned building which you can stop at on your journey up to the main site. Originally built as a holiday home for King Sihanouk between 1950-60, the building is now a rotting shell of its former self. It doesn’t take long to explore the few rooms! 

Inside Black Palace, Bokor National Park
The Black Palace is a shell of its former self!

3. Stop at the Yeay Mao Statue

Just opposite the Black Palace is Cambodia’s tallest Yeay Mao statue. Towering a whopping 29 metres tall, the statue can’t be missed – you’ll see it long before you reach it! 

Expect some crowds paying their respects to the statue or admiring the view. There is a big car park just before and after the statue, so plenty of group tours stop here. 

Top Tip:

The car park just before the statue has a couple of toilets. Stop here if you’re in need and remember to carry some small change – there is a small fee for use!
Yeay Moa statue
Yeay Mao statue in Bokor National Park.

4. Explore the Abandoned Buildings

Bokor National Park is home to countless abandoned buildings and spending time driving around them is an absolute must. Perhaps the most talked about spot is Bokor Hill Station. This collection of buildings, built in the 1920s by French colonists, makes up what would have once been a luxurious mountain resort. 

There aren’t too many buildings you can get in anymore but the Catholic Church just before Le Bokor Palace Hotel is one of the remaining few. Nestled amongst beautiful greenery, the church boasts beautiful views over the surrounding park. It is also one of the few churches in Cambodia to withstand the destruction of religious buildings under the Khmer Rouge regime.

Church, Bokor National Park
The church still offers a chance to get inside an abandoned building!

5. Wander Around the Le Bokor Palace Hotel Grounds

While you can no longer explore the interior of the hotel without paying the hefty nightly fee, you can take a quick wander around the grounds. Honestly, it’s not got much going for it but on a clear day, the views are astounding!

Hill Station 2, Bokor National Park
The once-grand hotel has seen better days!

6. Take In the Views

Sitting at such a great elevation, it is no surprise that Bokor National Park boasts the most beautiful mountainous and coastline views. 

View on the way to Bokor National Park
Sweeping views from Bokor National Park!

With sweeping scenery over the entire Kampot province and even the Gulf of Thailand, a large majority of your time spent at Bokor will be spent enjoying this spectacular scenery. 

How to Get to Bokor National Park

Tours of the park can be arranged at your accommodation in Kampot. Depending on your preferences, you can visit via minibus, tuk-tuk, private taxi or on the back of a motorcycle. 

When we visited Bokor, we hired a scooter which gave us the ultimate freedom to explore. However, the low-powered bike struggled a little on the hills, especially near the top of the park. The air is thinner at 1000 metres above sea level and with two of us on it, the scooter was pretty slow. Bear this in mind when planning your time in the park – you won’t be able to go full speed near the top! 

Tim Ashdown, Gear Expert and Writer at South East Asia Backpacker

If you have the correct license, IDP and insurance for riding a motorbike while travelling, hiring a moped from Kampot offers the most freedom to explore the park. The road is well paved and generally smooth – aside from some new sections at the very top but these will be paved sooner rather than later – so you don’t need to be a pro to ride here! 

Forgot Your IDP?
International Drivers Association

If you forgot to arrange your International Drivers Permit, you're probably not driving or riding legally abroad.

So what?
Riding or driving without your IDP means you could be fined for riding illegally. Worse still, it means your travel insurance is unlikely to cover any claims you make relating to riding or driving!

What can I do?
Rather than ride or drive illegally, check out the International Drivers Association which can hook you up with an IDP even if you're already abroad! 

Don't say we never help you out! 😉

If you do choose to ride yourself, we recommend heading back down before sunset because although the road is amazing in daylight, it’s tight, winding and unlit. 

Bokor National Park Entry Fee

There is currently no entry fee for Bokor National Park. But the gate, booth and infrastructure are all in place to start charging. No one we spoke to in Kampot knows when the government will introduce a fee to visit but they all think one is coming.
Bokor National Park
The road to Bokor National Park.

Where to Go Next


This sleepy provincial town has an abundance of activities from pepper plantations to boat trips. Travellers love its laidback atmosphere and it’s quickly becoming a go-to place on every backpacker’s list. 


The beachside town of Kep is an accessible destination close to Bokor National Park. Just an hour and 15 minutes away, you could spend a few days wandering around its crab market and trying the famous seafood restaurants. Plus, Kep features its own national park which offers a very different experience to Bokor!


Love it or loathe it, Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s biggest seaside resort. If you don’t mind the casinos and 24/7 party, it can be a fun place to spend a couple of days. It’s easy to get there and buses leave nearby Kampot town frequently.

Charlotte Greenwood
Charlotte Greenwood

My name’s Charlotte and I’m currently on a six-month backpacking trip with my boyfriend Carl across Southeast Asia. So far we’ve travelled around Vietnam and Thailand and hope to visit Cambodia, the Philippines and Bali over the next few months. I’ve started a travel Instagram account as a way to record what we get up to so if you’re interested in travelling feel free to follow my account and drop me a message!

Find her on: Instagram | LinkedIn

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