Day 2 (Bokor Hill Station – Phnom Penh)
I started the day early at 630am. With the handy Bokor Hill map, I rode in search of the abandoned buildings I have read so much about. They were as eerie as described. I took some quick photos and made my way down Bokor Hill.
I reached the main road from Bokor Hill at 930am and proceeded along highway 4 back to Phnom Penh. The ride back was uneventful except for a sudden rain which found me seeking shelter at a petrol station together with other motorcyclists.
After the rain had subsided, I continued back to Phnom Penh. I returned the motorcycle to Lucky! Lucky! at 130pm and was given a slight discount for the early return.
Something behind the mist?
Bokor hill station is 189km from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The entrance of Bokor National Park (bottom of Bokor Hill) is a short 158km ride via Highway 3. After 3 hours into the ride, just 8km shy of Bokor National Park, you will reach Kampot town, a convenient stop for rest, food and fuel. A further 8km southwest of Kampot takes you to the entrance of Bokor National Park.
Map of Cambodia and route taken
A collection of crumbling buildings thickly covered in red lichen and green moss, sat on top the abandoned hill station of Bokor. In its heyday, Bokor hill station was a secluded French colonial retreat with a casino, hotel, police station, library, post office and church. It was wrestled away in late 1940s by Vietnamese and Khmer Issarak (Free Khmer) forces who was fighting for independence against the French. In early 1970s, Khmer Rouge forces took over the area and use the hill station as a base for operations. Vietnamese forces again took over the hill station in late 1970s when they invaded, or if you prefer, liberated Cambodia.
Sitting on top the 1000m Phnom Bokor, Bokor hill station is constantly enveloped by passing drifts of mist. One moment you were admiring the colonial architectural design of Bokor hotel, but in the next moment, all that remained was a ghostly silhouette of the building. There is such an eerie feel to the place that many visitors have likened the Bokor hotel to be a scene out of The Shining. It is not surprising that horror and violent films such as Korean-made R-Point have found their way to Bokor hill station. For reasons you may imagine, a sign on the casino’s lobby warns “Do not sleep here”.