Our First Visit to Bokor Mountain
The Bokor Mountain is located in the same named National Park, southwest of Cambodia. We can reach the resort by using national road # 3, passing Kampot in the direction to Veal Rinh or the national road # 4 from Sihanoukville. About 8 Km from Kampot town, one can turn right. There is big gateway and newly constructed road named “Moha Rukhakvithei Kiri Decho”, a name to honor Prime Minister Hun Sen. Flower gardens are being created on the sidelines of the entry road. From bottom to the top, the distance is 32 Km and we took about one hour to reach the top, since we could not drive fast due to safety reason and the mountainous road conditions. The road is recently rehabilitated and enlarged. It is about 90% finished and it is with the best quality. There are still some sections, that workers are still busy finishing the job. Along the way, many trees were replanted. It is a fascinating trip with wonderful views to the sea, the islands, the forests along the way and below, other mountains, the Kampot’s town bird view etc.
The top is located at 1, 101 meter high. It is believed that the resort was firstly discovered by the French. It was developed then and became well known under the Sihanouk’s regime in the sixties. The former King himself had a Residence there. Currently, the old casino building is being renovated and some new buildings to house restaurants, hotels, and casinos are being constructed by SOKHA Group, a consortium owned by Sok Kong, one of the influential businessmen in Cambodia.
Many people were driving to the top by bus, cars, trucks, motorbikes etc to visit this famous place. There is no entry fee. We can observe that most visitors are representing the middle class if we could use types of vehicles, clothing, physical appearance etc as indicators. On the way back, people stopped along the route to have Pic Nic lunch within family and friends. It looks amazing and joyful. One thing that disturbs me the most is how people treat their own waste. Since there is no organized resort cleaning yet, visitors just left own garbage around where they produced. I just wonder why they could not transport it back and dump it at home or at assigned landfills, because they were able to bring their food and drinks exactly to that place. The behavior of throwing own waste from the car or wherever it is, does not reflect the type of vehicles they drive. Cambodia needs more responsible citizens with more environmental awareness and love to nature.
For us: father, wife, daughter and my nieces, it was our first time to go there. We were very happy to see all these wonderful sceneries. It was always on our trip agenda. We plan to come back soon to make new experiences with the cool wind and fresh clouds. The road construction work will be finished soon, followed by hotel complexes and other facilities. The resort will attract more local and foreign tourists who would like to escape the busy towns down the hills. It provides relax atmosphere and has huge development potential. On the top of the mountain, my father told me about his memoirs on Bokor Mountain in the past and he would wonder “how Cambodia would have developed and what would have happened if there was no war and political instability in this country”.