Bokor Hill Station Hotel Cambodia Raised from Ashes

The Bokor Hill Station also known as Bokor Palace Hotel is a historic, high-end hotel in the Cambodian city of Kampot. The hotel is in the Bokor Mountain Range, which gives guests beautiful views of the land around them.

History of Bokor Hill Station

The Bokor Palace Hotel has a long and interesting history. It was built in the 1920s as a resort for the wealthy French colonial elite. The hotel was built in the Art Deco style, and wealthy tourists and famous people liked to stay there.

The Boy, Ferme & Cie were given permission to begin construction on November 18, 1919. Building a cottage, a chalet for Resident-Supérieur, a post office, and telegraphs at the Bokor hill station will cost $160,000 USD over an 8-month period.

He changed the project’s name from “Bungalow” to “Palace” between 1920 and 1922. The completed structure has since been torn down, however the cost of the palace only came to 311,872 dollars. The palace will be known as the “Baudoin Folly,” according to many detractors who claim that this project is “wasting” money.

Modernism-influenced art deco architecture is entirely built of concrete. It is a massive three-story Palladian edifice with Italian-style decorations.

Le Bokor Palace features an enormous fireplace, a classy little salon, a sizable dining room, and 18 spacious rooms furnished with all contemporary conveniences, including electric heaters. When the weather is nice, these rooms open to expansive terraces and pergolas from which one may see the gorgeous “Opal Coast.”

The Grand Opening …

Old look of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
photo credit :

The bokor palace hotel opened its doors on February 14th, 1925. Gazpacho, “US-style” crawfish, luscious foie gras served cold, and strawberries from the Emerald Valley topped with Chantilly cream were all featured on the opulent six-course menu. It wasn’t until 5am that the final guest departed.

Bokor Hill Station at the time had an agricultural station that grew strawberries for hotel guests’ desserts as well as all kinds of European vegetables and imported cows that produced fresh milk.

The hotel’s “failure” can be attributed to two main factors: fog and decaying construction. The station can only be inhabited for a maximum of six months during the dry season, and when strong rains fall on this ridge under the impact of the sea, the buildings swiftly crumble.

Closed-Opened Every So Often

These considerations led the Société des Grands-Hotels Indochinois to stop managing the palace’s deficit in 1926, the same year it was opened. The hotel remains closed for a while. Towards the end of 1926, it reopens. On behalf of Jean-Marie Antonini, director of Charterers Réunis, Mr. Joannot, director of the Select Hotel of Phnom-Penh, once again oversees management.

In 1928, the hotel is once more closed. On February 1st of that year, 1929, it reopens. Since 1930, the hotel has been under “strict control” and can only be open from February to June. During the rest of the year, guests must be given “essential services.” It adopts the name “Mont Bokor Hotel” in the 1940s.

Beginning of Dark years

Old look of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
photo credit :

In 1946, during the First Indochina War, the hotel served as a military hospital. In 1950, the hill station is abandoned since it is difficult to defend. Khmer Issarak, also known as “The Black Dragon,” destroys the palace. The hill station no longer had electricity or water in 1950. The structure was burned down till the end of 1960, and the windows and doors were turned black by fire.

Reopen of Le Bokor Palace

In January 1962, King Norodom Sihanouk opened the new “City of Bokor” for a second time. The hotel is run by the “Khmer Royal Society Inns,” and it offers 22 comfortable rooms and four apartments, as well as a sizable lounge and restaurant.

Becomes a Ghost City

Old look of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
photo credit :

The station was once again shuttered in 1970 after Sihanouk was overthrown. The Bokor Mountain came under the authority of the Khmer Rouge in 1972. Bokor Hill Station was one of the Khmer Rouge’s final strongholds in the early 1990s.

Following the signing of the peace treaties in 1993, a battalion of French soldiers assumed control of the structure and, making use of its strategic location, established a communications facility.

Bokor was referred to as “ghost city” because after the civil war it was forgotten, leaving only remains of the conflict and regenerating forest. The first visitors don’t come back until 1997.

Renovation of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia

Renovation of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
Bokor Hill Station Then and Now

Sokha Hotels & Resorts has rebuilt the Le Bokor Palace Hotel, also known as the Old Casino atop Bokor Mountain, and it is anticipated that it will reopen to the public soon (info collected last in 2018)

The Le Bokor Palace Hotel is a historic and heritage building in Cambodia, and the company renovated it, preserving its features and recreating a colonial-style interior with imported Italian toiletries and special bricks imported from Spain, according to Frugere F Philippe, the general manager of Sokha Hotels and Resorts, who was quoted in local media on Monday.

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Process of How to Ruin a Ruin!

Renovation of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
Bokor Hill Station Then and Now

After renovation, this enormous colonial structure will include 36 opulent chambers and two restaurants that exhibit the elegance of the past, gourmet and Khmer cuisine, and dinners for the Khmer Royal family, according to Mr. Philippe.

He continued by mentioning the Le Bokor Palace Hotel’s excellent preservation and extensive history, which dates back to both colonial times and Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s early years.

The French constructed the station in the 1920s with the intention of giving the colonizers a haven from the sweltering heat and alleged insalubrities of lowland Cambodia. For its European settlers, it was a haven of western indulgence complete with a post office, church, grand hotel, and casino.

The colonial town rapidly lost its relevance, though, when the French started to leave Asia less than thirty years later, after the end of World War II.

Bokor was a battleground for the following 10 years as the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese engaged in ferocious and merciless guerrilla fighting there. It was finally abandoned permanently in the 1970s when the surrounding territories were swept up in the revolution. Only a war-torn shell that has been poignantly unaltered remains of what was once a hive of affluent elegance and colonial splendor.

Renovation of Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
Bokor Hill Station Then and Now

After years of dormancy, the historic hotel finally reopens in 2018 after being attentively renovated by Sokha Hotels & Resorts, making it even more opulent and spectacular than before. With many of the original features, the opulent colonial ambience, and of course, the expansive views over the coastline, the hotel’s historical grandeur has been preserved.

Elegant rooms with handcrafted furniture and exquisite Italian furnishings welcome visitors. With a menu from the hotel’s early years and a modern twist, the Thansur Restaurant depicts the French colonial era.War’s ghosts have been put to rest, making room once more for romantic meals, dancing, and laughter.

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More to see in Bokor Hill Station ( Travel Guide)

Bokor National Park

Bokor National Park

Preah Monivog Bokor National Park is another name for it. ASEAN Heritage Parks protects only two parks in Cambodia. Most of this national park is 1,000 meters above sea level, with Phnom Bokor, the park’s namesake and tallest mountain, at 1,080 meters. It’s Cambodia’s second-highest peak. The mountains in Bokor National Park are supposed to resemble an ox’s hump. Bokor National Park is in the Cardamom Mountains, which span Cambodia and Thailand.

Events and Festivals

Bokor National Park and Wat Sampov Pram in particular are well-liked destinations to visit for Buddhist Festivals and vacations because the Damrei Mountains are revered in Khmer culture.

Locals celebrating a Buddhist festival. | Credit : mrlinhadventure

The most significant of these occasions is Khmer New Year, which happens in or around April every year and is the largest yearly event in Cambodia. Many pious locals in Bokor National Park will go to the temple to leave offerings and receive blessings from the monks.

Food and Beverage

The Kampot pepper, which is grown in black, white, and red types, is the most well-known product of this region of Cambodia. Since the first Chinese inhabitants arrived in the region in the 13th century, this pepper has been farmed there; further pepper plantations have appeared since the 19th century.

Typical Khmer dish | Credit : mrlinhadventure

Bokor National Park was a significant area for this crop, though production was hampered for many years by the civil war and the French expulsion. While there are still a few small-scale Kampot pepper plantations in the national park, the most of them are located close to the park’s boundaries.

Arts and Culture

Bokor National Park, a location rich in history and natural beauty, doesn’t have a lot of artistic attractions, but there are a few intriguing examples of ingenuity to be on the lookout for.

Bokor Hill Station
Giant statue of Lok Yeay Mao, a Cambodian mythical heroine. | Credit : mrlinhadventure

One of these is a 29-meter-tall statue of the mythical figure Lok Yeay Mao from Cambodian Buddhism. Lok Yeay Mao is particularly well-liked in Kampot Province where he is revered as the defender of travelers and hunters.

FAQs you may ask ;

How to pronounce Bokor?

  • The pronunciation of bokor is “buh-kor.” The word originates from Cambodia and is pronounced with a short “o” sound, like the “o” in “hot.” The first syllable, “buh,” is stressed.

The word Bokor has the following syllable counts:

  • Bu- is pronounced like the “u” sound in the word “hut” and has a short “u” sound.
  • A short “o” sound is used to enunciate the syllable “kor,” which is comparable to the “o” in the word “hot.”

What is the special feature of Bokor Hill Station?

  • The Bokor National Park, which spans over 60,000 hectares and is home to a rich range of flora and animals, including a number of rare and endangered species, is one of the unique aspects of Bokor Hill Station. The national park is a protected area that is maintained by the government of Cambodia.
  • Bokor Hill Station’s extensive history and cultural significance are another unique quality. During the French colonial era, the hill station was a well-liked vacation spot for affluent travelers and famous people, and it has continued to be so ever since. The Bokor Palace Hotel and the deserted Casino Kampot are only two of the historic structures and sites that can be found in the hill station.

Bokor Mountain has been conserved well?

  • Bokor Mountain and the nearby national park are both well-preserved in terms of preservation. The national park is protected by Cambodian law and is managed by the government of that country. Numerous conservation initiatives, such as programs for protecting wildlife and forestry projects, are located within the park.

  • In terms of preservation, Bokor Mountain and the national park do face certain difficulties. The environment of the park may be impacted by the mountain’s location in an area that is vulnerable to natural disasters like landslides and floods. In addition, a number of sizable development projects that are close to the mountain and national park may have an effect on how well the environment is preserved.

  • Overall, Bokor Mountain and the surrounding Bokor National Park are well-maintained and protected, but there are still issues with preserving them.

How big is Bokor Mountain?

  • 1,075 metres in height

How To Reach Bokor Hill Station

By Car

Kampot, Cambodia, located near Bokor Hill Station. The 8-kilometer turn off on the national route from Kampot to Bokor Hill Station takes under an hour. 95 km along National Route 3 from Sihanoukville. Travel agents in Kampot can arrange day tours to the ancient colonial area of Bokor for INR 350 per person. Kampot offers more expensive trekking and hiking tours to Bokor National Park.

By Bus

By Bus from Phnom Penh, you may reach Bokor Hill Station. Phnom Penh’s Sangkat Chey Chumneas Khan Daun Penh has morning and evening buses for INR 700 per person. Morning and evening buses to Thansur Bokor leave from Kampot.

By Motorcycles

You can rent motorbikes in Kampot if you wish to drive to Bokor Hill Station in Cambodia. Motorbikes enter Bokor National Park for INR 40.

When to visit Bokor?

  • Summer is the greatest time to visit Bokor because the weather is lovely.

Bokor’s entertainment choices

  • Your Bokor trip can be made more exciting by visiting nightclubs, casinos, partying with friends, camping, and more. Bokor offers hiking, trekking, and mountain climbing.

Where is Bokor’s best natural spot?

  • Bokor has nature parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Beautiful sights will enchant nature lovers, especially.

Bokor hotel prices?

  • Bokor’s rooms cost between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000.

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