Thursday, December 4, 2008
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.
The post office has its fair share of rust-coloured lichen and graffitiA look from a third angle at the post office