Although we were having some serious chill time in Kampot, we had to add a little adventure to the mix, so we rented out a motorbike and spent the day exploring Bokor National Park. The drive from Kampot to Bokor National Park is an easy one (about 8km) and it’s impossible to miss the park entrance. There is a huge entrance arch, where you pay about 2000 riel ($AU0.65) per scooter to enter. From there, it is a single road up, up, up. You will reach another booth, where you will need to present your ticket and there is a giant map signboard of the different points of interest.
Lok Yeay Mao Monument
This is the first thing you will see on your drive up the mountain. This monument represents Yeay Mao, an ancient mythical heroine who is considered the protector of travellers and hunters. She sits at 29 metres tall and you can park at the bottom and walk up to her base.
The Black Palace
Across from Yeay Mao is the ruins of The Black Palace, built in 1936. The ruined buildings aren’t quite palatial – but the views are pretty incredible.
This is a great place to stop off at and explore. You can either stand at the top, or you can make your way down a little for a look UP at the waterfall. It was pretty crowded with a tour group when we were there, but still impressive nonetheless.
Bokor Hill Station
The Bokor Hill Station is the most ‘famous’ place to see in the National Park. It consists of a collection of French colonial buildings from the 1920’s that have since been left abandoned. One of these buildings is the Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino, which took 9 months to build and cost many lives.
Old Catholic Church
I found this place the creepiest of the abandoned buildings, walking inside in the dark and cloudy weather was very spooky.
Wat Sampov Pram
Built in 1924, this temple is still functional and sits on top of the mountain at 1,075 metres high. I am sure with clear weather the views are incredible, but the day we visited it was cloudy and misty, which oddly enough added to the atmosphere.
Scooter rental & fuel
I believe renting a scooter for the day is the best way to see the park (if you are comfortable on one!). There are tours available, but doing it independently gives you the freedom to do it at our own pace. We hired a scooter for US$5 and filled up with US$3 fuel (Tim was the driver of course!).
The day we went the weather was very unpredictable. We were constantly putting on and taking off our rain jackets. It was very misty and cloudy when we were up on the mountain, but this just added to the eerie feel, so don’t let it put you off.
I have heard that in the past the roads were very questionable and dangerous. This is certainly not the case now with a brand new road recently laid, we felt safe on our scooter the whole time.