Thursday, February 19, 2009
Bokor Mountain may soon be lost forever, though even the might of the Sokimex Group will not be able to stop the clouds and fog from rolling in and obscuring everything on a regular basis. This week, the ground-breaking ceremony took place on the $1 billion new development that Sokimex are putting in place to transform the summit of the mountain, located along Cambodia's southwest coastline. Access to the mountaintop has been closed until April at the earliest as Sokimex make a start on their project that will include a 12-16 storey five-star hotel, three 3-star hotels, a shopping center, residential area of apartments and villas to house 6,000 people, an amusement park, a casino and cable car system, not forgetting an Arnold Palmer golf course. What planet are these people on? The same planet that has about half a dozen satellite cities surrounding Phnom Penh in limbo due to the world's financial crisis. By the way they still haven't finished constructing the new road to the top a year after they started. And there's still no word on whether the atmospheric Bokor Palace Hotel will be renovated or torn down, most likely the latter. So with the landscape at Bokor undergoing change, Kampot will have to devise other ways to attract tourists - though with a new port, a special economic zone and a hydropower dam at Tek Chhou, these are likely to send visitors scurrying in other directions. I don't sound very optimistic do I?