The manager at the hotel was super friendly and suggested the best way to see more of Kampot and its surroundings, including Bokor mountain (its a hill) was by moped. In for a penny!, this trip is all about trying new things and I’ve never done it before, so I went for it. And I loved it, such freedom, the wind blowing through your hair, then I stopped as id forgotten the helmet.
So off I set to Bokor mountain. A beautiful setting but not too much up there, albeit there is now a pig ugly Casino Hotel the size of kampot. However I was going to see a now deserted French church and hotel.
Heres a description from wiki.
“The town was built as a resort by colonial French settlers to offer an escape from the heat, humidity and general insalubrity of Phnom Penh. Nine hundred lives were lost in nine months during the construction of the resort in this remote mountain location.
The centrepiece of the resort was the grand Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino, complemented by shops, a post office (now demolished), a church and the Royal Apartments. It is also an important cultural site, showing how the colonial settlers spent their free time.”
Bokor Hill was abandoned first by the French in late 1940s, during the First Indochina War, because of local insurrections guided by the Khmer Issarak, and then for good in 1972, as Khmer Rouge took over the area. During the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, Khmer Rouge entrenched themselves and held on tightly for months. In the early 1990s Bokor Hill was still one of the last strongholds of Khmer Rouge.
So the catholic church first….
The french catholic church viewed higher up the hill.
I expected it to be empty inside but was surprised by this lovely shrine.
The view on the way up.
The view from the top.
Next onto the Hotel and Casino, looking very austere with little left apart from floor tiles and the base structure. On the day there was a wedding being prepared, this is Cambodian wedding season (as its the dry season), I see at least two every day. And actually what a lovely location to get married as the clouds every few minutes blows over and encompass the hotel You can go to the edge of the mountain here and look down and only see “solid” cloud, it felt like you could step of the world, onto a cloud.