Preserving history on Bokor Hill Station

By Sum Manet / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The old hotel on the top of Bokor mountain. KT/Alan Kirk

The Kampot tourism authority has been conserving and restoring the famous Bokor Hill Station on Bokor mountain to attract more tourists to the area.

The Bokor Hill Station is a collection of French colonial buildings including a hotel and casino, a church, a royal residence and more, constructed as a temperate mountain luxury resort and retreat for colonial residents in the early 1920s atop Bokor mountain in Preah Monivong National Park, about 37 kilometres west of Kampot in southern Cambodia.

Abandoned for long periods of time, a modern road and infrastructure has made the location easily accessible and some re-development has taken place.

Kim Bunthan, the Chief Planning Officer at Kampot’s Tourism Department, said Bokor mountain has a lot of potential for the tourism sector in Kampot, especially the old buildings on the mountain and colonial-era casino.

The old buildings have undergone repairs and maintenance since 2013, while repairs on the casino started in 2015 to make sure all the buildings are safe for visitors, according to Mr Bunthan.

“Tourists can still visit and look at the old buildings, especially the casino, which is not 100 percent renovated so far,” he said. “Doing such renovations is to protect the building from breaking down and to conserve them to attract more tourists to visit the mountain.

“I see that most French tourists go to look at the buildings because they remain from the French colonial period,” he added.

Cambodia National Tourism Alliance secretary-general Ho Vandy said that back in 2007 and 2008 there was talk about maintenance and conservation of the old buildings on Bokor mountain and they saw the efforts of the provincial tourism department to conserve the Bokor Hill Station.

“It is very important to protect and renovate the old buildings, especially the old casino, because it is an historical tourism site and if there is no history, it is hard to tell the tourists about the history and background of the area,” Mr Vandy said.

“I appreciate the fact that the Kampot Tourism and Environmental Department has been trying to maintain and conserve the historical tourism site, which attracts more tourists every year,” he added.

More than 2.66 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia in the first six months of the year, representing a 12.8 percent rise over the same period last year, according to a report from Tourism Ministry.

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