Situated just one hour from the centre of Kampot, Preah Monivong Bokor National Park is a former holiday destination in Cambodia, built during French colonial rule. In 1993, it was inaugurated along with the majority of national parks in Cambodia. It now stands as one of only two ASEAN Heritage Parks in the country.
The park is located in the Damrei mountains, making it a great day trip for travellers escaping the city and looking for something a little different. At over 1,081 metres above sea level, the site features a largely abandoned holiday resort with old hotels, an empty train station and a casino!
A spooky but fascinating place to visit, it’s a great time to explore this abandoned park. The government has laid out plans for the park to be fully developed for residents and tourism by 2035.
Bokor National Park Map & Resources
Best Time to Visit Bokor National Park
As it’s located near Kampot, 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 at the top is naturally lower.
You’ll need to pack a warm layer or waterproof for Bokor National Park as when the wind picks up, it can feel pretty chilly at the top!
How Long Should You Stay in Bokor National Park?
The average traveller will spend one day exploring the Bokor National Park site. The journey from Kampot centre to the main area of the park takes around one hour and you can spend the afternoon enjoying the drive and exploring the abandoned buildings, before heading back down in time for sunset.
Multiple tour companies will take you to the national park and you can even hire a driver if you want to enjoy the journey on the back of a motorbike. If you do have a moped licence, hiring one from your hostel or accommodation is always a good idea. The road is well-paved and smooth, meaning you don’t have to be a pro to ride it!
Another huge advantage of making your own way to the park is that you can keep costs down. There is no entrance fee to access the park so it’s a cost-friendly activity for backpackers and shoestring travellers!
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 abandoned village at the top of the park itself, there are some hotels that are open where you can spend the night.
Le Bokor Palace Hotel is a unique place to stay and if you’re willing to splash the cash on the experience, you’ll be right in the thick of the national park. This former summer escape was used by the French elite and royal family. Built in 1925, it offers a bird’s eye view of the ‘Opal Coast’ and surrounding grand mountain views.
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, people don’t tend to stay up at the site so the hotel can be eerily quiet according to recent reviews.
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!
2. Visit the Black Palace
The Black Palace (known as Damnak Sla Khmao) sits close to the entrance of the national park. It is an abandoned building which it is possible to stop at on your journey up to the main site. It was originally built as a holiday home for King Sihanouk between 1950 and 1960 but has since decayed. Today you can find it covered in greenery and artistic graffiti.
3. Stop at the Yeay Mao Statue
On your drive up the mountain road, you should stop at the Yeay Mao statue. This statue of the ancient mythical heroine stands 29 metres tall and cannot be missed.
From this vantage point, you’ll have sweeping views across Kep and Kampot. The statue is also one of the few things on the mountain that you can see from Kampot town ahead of your journey up.
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.
Another building well worth exploring within the Bokor Hill Station area is the Catholic Church. Nestled amongst beautiful greenery, the church boasts beautiful views over the surrounding park. It is also one of the few churches left in Cambodia to withstand the destruction of religious buildings under the Khmer Rouge regime.
5. Wander Around the Le Bokor Palace Hotel Grounds
The largest hotel on the site, Le Bokor Palace, was first opened in 1925 by the French before being used as a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot’s regime.
The building fell into a state of disrepair over the following years and began to attract ‘urban explorers’ from all over the world. After it was announced that the site would be transformed into a luxury hotel, urbexers were devastated.
The hotel reopened its doors in 2018 and now functions as a 6-star hotel and casino. It’s a vast site so having a wander around and maybe a peak inside is a must-do!
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.
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
If you are planning a trip to Bokor National Park, it is best to start your trip from Kampot. The national park is only 35km from the city centre and can easily be accessed by moped or by joining a tour group. Taking only an hour to get there, it’s the perfect day trip from the city.
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.
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 palace to spend a couple of days. It’s easy to get there and buses leave nearby Kampot town frequently.
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