Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bokor's lifeless city

In the foreground the old casino, in the background, the green roofs of the Ranger station
On the windswept summit of Bokor mountain lies the derelict remnants of Bokor city, once the thriving and partying playground of the rich and famous of Cambodia's elite and the French colonial power-brokers, now a forlorn relic of a bygone era that the Sokha Group hope to restore and revitalise with their ambitious development plans. We shall see. For now, Bokor is still available to visit, at a price, but that may change at any time as the development gathers pace, holiday villas are erected and the golf course is mapped out. For our recent visit, the chilly mist, famous for sweeping off the Gulf of Thailand and covering the summit in an impenetrable fog, stayed away. A pity as Bokor takes on a mysterious appearance when enveloped by the mist. Instead we arrived at the Ranger's station and sat down to a vegetable curry lunch and French rolls before an hour of solo exploration of the abandoned and dilapidated buildings that are scattered across the hilly plateau. Annoyingly, our hike up the mountain had left us with limited time to explore more than just a handful of the buildings, so Tim and I set out to visit as much as we could in the timeframe allowed, starting with the casino and onto the post office before heading for the eerie Bokor Palace hotel and finally the Catholic church. All of the buildings are ruined, deserted and desolate, the walls covered in graffiti or that orange-red lichen that is so prevalent on Bokor's structures and all fixtures and fittings had been carted off years ago. Without the mist, it all looked rather bland but I've seen it encased with a cold, swirling pea-souper of a fog and Bokor takes on a life of its own in those dark and foreboding moments.
Looking out across the pond to the old casino, and the hotel on the hilltop
The disused church sits forlornly on a nearby rise
The modernist casino and a water-tower in the background
The rear of the casino where many gamblers made and lost their fortunes
Bokor city's main post office has seen better days
The post office has its fair share of rust-coloured lichen and graffitiA look from a third angle at the post office
This giant mushroom-umbrella stands near to the Bokor Palace hotel

2 Comments:

Blogger Charles & Laura said...

Love your posts. Bokor was one of my favorite spots when we visited in late December last year. I hope the Sokha company doesn't destroy these mysterious ruins. Who needs another golf course?

December 4, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

No-one is entirely sure of the Sokha plans right now - as far as I can make out. They haven't yet decided what to do with the ruins of the Bokor Palace Hotel for example. Its got a prime location of course, on the edge of the mountainside but because of its location the possibility of knocking it down and starting again must be high. I suppose it depends on whether the hotel is structurally sound or not. I doubt it. More as I hear it. And I must get on with some more postings
Andy

December 4, 2008 at 11:54 PM  

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