(Indochina Trip.2017) The Journey to Promote Famous Destinations in Indochina - P.40. Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia

04-11-2017

(IndoChinaKings.org) Bokor Hill Station refers to a collection of French colonial buildings (hotel & casino, church, royal residence etc. ), 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 km (23 mi) west of Kampot in southern Cambodia.

 

Abandoned for long periods of time, modern infrastructure has made the location easily accessible as re-development is taking place. It was used as the location for the final showdown of the movie City of Ghosts (2002) and the 2004 film R-Point. To the north-east are the Povokvil Waterfalls.

 

 

 

The Damrei Mountains have long been considered sacred and venerated by the Cambodians. The hill station 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 (which has never been a casino) inaugurated in 1925. It has been complemented by the villa of the "Résident Supérieur", a post office (now demolished), a catholic church. 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.

 

 

It was only in 1962, for the reopening of the "Cité du Bokor", that a casino was established in the new hotels near the lake, (Hotels Sangkum and Kiri). Some buildings were added at this time: an annex for the palace, the mayor's office and a strange mushroomed concrete parasol. The Bokor mountain is abandoned again 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.

 

 

The site is owned by the government but is now under 99–year lease to the SokimexGroup who are undertaking to relay the road and redevelop the site, repairing the old hotel and casino along with new buildings (hotels, hospital, restaurants, golf clubs etc.). The project was announced on Jan 19th 2008, construction of the road and resort was expected to take 30 months at a cost of $21 million USD. The Thansur Bokor Highland Resort hotel opened in 2012.  The subsequent re-development is budgeted at $1 billion USD over the next 15 years after which a further application may be submitted to create a larger Bokor city, the plans for which are unknown.


Layla Lam (Collecting, Soure of Photos: Internet) - INDOCHINAKINGS

 

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