Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dark and brooding

The imposing entranceway to the Bokor Palace Hotel
Continuing my recent tour of the Bokor Palace Hotel on the windswept summit of Bokor mountain in southern Cambodia, these photos give you a feel for the location - on the edge of the mountain overlooking the Gulf of Thailand in the distance - but also the bleak and grim interior and exterior of the Bokor Palace. The hotel is not a thing of beauty that's for sure. But it has its own character and place in Cambodian history, so it will be a shame to lose it if the proposed development deems it surplus to requirements. The hotel has been used in a couple of movies in recent years including Matt Dillon's dark and brooding City of Ghosts, which fits the hotel like a glove.
Looking out from a 2nd storey window across the Gulf of Thailand
This shot shows how close the back of the hotel is from the cliff-edge
The upper storey of the hotel at the rear
A side view of the hotel looking out across the mountain summit
The hotel is given a splash of colour by the orange-red lichen that covers its wallsLooking down from above at the northern corner of the hotel


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, I never been to Bokor. But the cliffs seem high. How sheer are they?

December 9, 2008 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Well I believe the summit of the mountain is 1,000 metres high and where you see the edge of the cliff just beyond the small wall at the back of the hotel, it drops very sharply. I peered over but it was too sheer to see anything.
I've heard stories of distraught gamblers throwing themselves off the cliffs after suffering huge losses at the gambling tables, though I've not been able to check that for accuracy.
There was also a story from a bygone era that 40 anti-Sihanoukists were pushed off the mountainside many many years ago in the days when heavy-handed government measures against protesters were the norm (not the namby-pamby weak-willed response we've seen to the Thai protests over the last few months).
The whole point of the city at Bokor was that it has its own mini-climate where the hill station was designed to provide relief from the hot & humid conditions found elsewhere in Cambodia. In fact fruit & vegetables were grown here that grew nowhere else and so on. If it hasn't already been written, a book on the history of Bokor from the 1920s to today would make interesting reading. I know of at least one of Cambodia's Kings died on Bokor and lots of other stories are swirling around the mists of time that envelope the mountain summit on a daily basis.

December 9, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

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