It’s a pity I never bought a scooter to go to school, driving around on one of those race machines is so much fun! On my trip around Southeast Asia I frequently rented a scooter to explore the area, islands most of the time (like Bohol, Phu Quoc, Langkawi and Sao Miguel).
Not an island this time, but still on a scooter: exploring the area around Kampot in the South of Cambodia. The Lonely Planet mentions a small French Ghost town located on a mountain, sounds interesting enough to check it out! We rent a scooter at the supermarket next to our awesome hotel Bohemiaz and set off to mysterious Bokor Hill Station.
The 32-km toll road (2000kip) to Bokor Hill Station is new and very beautiful! Lots of twists and turns, green forest and gorgeous views over the valley and the ocean. And, unique in Southeast Asia, no trash by the side of the road! Hopefully the lack of debris isn’t just due to the newness of the road…
We drive up to 1048 meter and the higher we climb, the cooler it gets. Also, mysterious clouds of fog cover the mountains and we make sure not to drive to fast over the bendy road. Every now and then the fog lifts and we see abandoned old structures a little further down the road. Creepy!
Once arrived at the Bokor Hill complex, we park our scooter and walk around the abandoned church and old buildings.
The complex was built in 1920 by the French, as a place to escape hot and humid Phnom Penh. The French abandoned the complex in 1940, when it was taken over by the Khmer Issarak, an anti-French and anti-colonial movement.
In 1972 the Khmer Rouge took over the area and kept Bokor Hill as a stronghold well onto the 1990s! It’s very strange to imagine how just 20 years ago these buildings were used by Khmer Rouge militias hiding from the rest of the world…
The clouds and mist definitely add to the mysterious and slightly ominous feeling of the place, but as I am not dressed for the relatively cool temperatures (stupid me!) we drive back down after roaming around the buildings for a while.
I am slightly worried we may run out of fuel as our scooter has a tiny tank, barely enough to make it back down. This means we have to skip the Povokvil Waterfalls, a bit of a bummer since it looked great in the pictures.
Luckily we make it down the mountain where we get fuel and drive back to Bohemiaz resort in Kampot. I found the abandoned ghost town a very peculiar place to visit and can definitely recommend checking it out when you are in Kampot.
Distance and map
Bokor Hill Station is about 40km from Kampot, the whole trip took us about half a day. Just the road itself is already worthwhile! Check the map below for the route or download it.
You might want to consider taking a bit extra fuel with you if you would like to check out Povokvil Waterfalls, there is a petrol station at the foot of the mountain (just before you have to pay toll).
We rented a scooter at the supermarket next to Bohemiaz resort for $5 a day. The toll road is 2000kip and there is no entrance fee for the Bokor Hill complex. With about $2 for fuel this brings the total costs for a day of sightseeing with a scooter around Bokor Hill Station at $8,50.