Bokor Hill Station

The front of the Bokor Casino and Hotel

Kampot is a quiet little town in the south of Cambodia, once known for its black pepper. The major attraction these days is Bokor hill station, located in the nearby Bokor park. Bokor was established as a summer retreat by the French where they could go to cool off at a higher altitude. After the French left it was taken over by the rich of Cambodia, but was soon devastated by fighting in the civil war. Now it stands, looted to the bare concrete walls, a bizarre ghost town at the top of one of the most beautiful hills you'll ever see. The ride up is a trial: jump in a 4WD pickup truck with benches in the bed and be battered for an hour and a half on a road that was once paved, back in the glory days of the French. Decades of monsoons have left it a washed out, stone-riddled mess. An hour and a half, 24 km (15 miles). Imagine the road surface that necessitates that kind of speed in a 4WD, and the joys of balancing on a bench in a pickup bed for that long (I was incredibly lucky - ending up in the cab).

The biggest building is the hotel and casino, which you see in both these shots. The orange you see above isn't (as I thought at first) the remains of paint, it's an incredibly vivid lichen.

Hillside seen through a broken window

Depending on the direction you're looking, you can see all the way to the ocean. The view is phenomenal. It was a wonderful place to visit.

Bokor hillside, with flowers