A Guide to Bokor National Park
Bokor National Park, or Preah Monivong Bokor National Park, is one of Kampot province’s main attractions. As an ASEAN Heritage Park that is over 500 square miles in size, it offers a wealth of hiking, panoramic views, and pieces of culture and history unique to the area. Discover how to get there, what to see and do, and the best time to visit with our guide to Bokor National Park.
“The park is named after Cambodian King Sisowath Monivong as well as its highest peak, Phnom Bokor, from the Khmer word bokor meaning ‘hump of an ox’. ”
About Bokor National Park
Situated 3000+ feet above sea level in the Dâmrei Mountains, Bokor National Park is one of only two ASEAN Heritage Parks in all of Cambodia and has a complex history. It was previously controlled by the Khmer Rouge until 1933, then in the 1920s, its most famous landmark Bokor Hill Station was built by French colonists as a settlement.
The park is named after Cambodian King Sisowath Monivong as well as its highest peak, Phnom Bokor, from the Khmer word bokor meaning ‘hump of an ox’. There is both a Buddhist temple built by King Monivong and a former Catholic Church built by French colonists within the park.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Bokor National Park is from Kampot or Sihanoukville, which are 22 miles and 60 miles away respectively.
From Phnom Penh, you can take a four hour bus direct to Bokor Hill Station twice a day. From Kampot, or Sihanoukville, you can easily arrange a bus or minivan at your accommodation or with a local tour group that will take you to the main landmarks within the park, like Bokor Hill Station, Lok Yeay Mao Monument, or Wat Sampov Pram. You can also opt to take a shared taxi or tuk tuk to the park, which will usually take you to the entrance of the park which is about 20 miles from the summit.
The most fun and flexible way is to hire your own transport for the day, like a motorbike, which will handle easier on some of the narrower roads, although most of the roads from Kampot to Bokor Hill Station are fine for most vehicles. At Amber Kampot, we can arrange a private driver to take you from the resort to your desired location within the park.
What to see and do
Bokor Hill Station
Some of the main landmarks to see are based in Cambodia’s French colonisation history, including Bokor Hill Station. This is a collection of buildings created by the French as respite from the intense heat during warmer months. Many still exist today, but have been left to ruin and make for great photographs and places to explore for travelers. The French built Catholic church is one of these buildings a little further from the others, providing an easy trek and stunning views en route.
Head on from Bokor Hill Station to the Popokvil Waterfalls, around 3 miles away. It’s made up of two small waterfalls connected in the middle by a pool, and is particularly impressive in the wet season. It’s a popular place for travelers to cool off after a hike, as well as a good photo opportunity.
Wat Sampov Pram
Wat Sampov Pram is a Buddhist temple built by park namesake King Monivong that is still in use today. It’s a fascinating place to visit, not just for its architectural glory and interesting history, but for the panoramic view over Kampot and the gulf of Thailand. Be extra respectful during Cambodian holidays such as Khmer New Year in April when locals will be performing ceremonies.
There are numerous walking tracks around the park, ranging from easy to difficult and anywhere between two and eight hours. You can also take a bike ride or bike tour around the park, if you are looking for a more intense workout, so be sure to carry plenty of water!
Spiritual visitors can purchase a ticket into the sacred Bokor Meditation Areas. This peaceful and incredibly beautiful section of the park is specifically for meditation, and you can take part in guided meditations.
Best time to visit
To make the most out of your trip to Bokor National Park and its panoramic views, you want to choose weather that is clear and cloudless. The climate in Cambodia is tropical, but along the coast, it maintains a temperature of around 77℉ (25℃) most of the year. Monsoon season falls May to October, and is at its wettest in July and August.
As Kampot is coastal and Bokor National Park is at an elevation of 3000+ feet, you can expect for the weather to be significantly cooler. With the exception of the peak months, it generally rains 2-3 hours a day during the monsoon season. The warmest and driest months are February to May, although be prepared with extra layers throughout the year, which make it a good time to go. Any time of the year is generally a good time to visit, just be on the lookout for a clear and cloudless day for the best views.