Indochina, the land between India and China was primarily under French control during the 19th Century right up to the middle of the 20th. One of the French legacies was the colonial architecture which is still a feature in many of the cities. Another is the hill station in Cambodia’s Bokor National Park. It is situated at a height over 1,000 metres and makes an excellent day trip from either Kampot or Sihanoukville. Certainly it is something that should be included in Cambodia tour packages.
Cambodia tour packages will always include Sihanoukville and its beaches. The resort has its own airport with flights to and from Siem Reap. The Capital Phnom Penh is around 6 hours by road from Sihanoukville so it is entirely practical to include BoKor in Cambodia tours.
The station lies within Bokor National Park and was built just after the First World War. The great attraction of the station was that it escaped the stifling heat at lower altitude in the days before air conditioning. The Palace is a beautiful structure which was completed in 1925 and housed the elite, French of course. In later years during the time of Prince Sihanouk it became a casino.
During the rainy season rain can be heavy but it is not relentless and the cooler temperatures more than compensate. Travellers actually should have some warm clothing for night time. The Park will make you forget any rain.
There are wild elephants within the National Park but the chances of seeing a tiger are remote. It is a great area for trekkers though some like to hire a bike to reach it. Those on organised Cambodia tour packages will have their visit arranged for them.
The highlight is undoubtedly the Black Palace (Damnak Sla Khmao) where Prince Sihanouk used to stay. It is a brick and wood construction finished in 1936. The Catholic Church was built around the time of the hill station and is in surprisingly good condition.
Other attractions to see:
• Popokvil Waterfall is great to visit, especially during the rainy season when it is at its best.
• Wat Sampove Pram dates back to 1924 and is in a great setting with sea and jungle.
• Lok Yeay Mao Monument is new, a monument 30 metres high to protect travellers, hunters and fishermen.
• 500 Rice Fields Sacred Meditation Area is another beautiful setting.
Those wishing to trek should seek advice because there are still some mines so it is important to stick exactly to the well-worn trails. Just to be doubly safe no one should track after dusk just in case. There are local guides for those that want them and those on organised Cambodia travel packages will have all their arrangements made for them.
There is a great deal to see in Cambodia and Indochina as a whole. It is a stunning region which Indochina tour packages will reveal. BoKor National Park is certainly a natural area worthy of inclusion as you plan your holiday.