Bokor has always been a mystery as for the time we have been comng here it has been closed. We can now get up there in one day on a tour and am told that l do not have to climb anything or trek! Owing to my current level of fitness!! This is certainly doable and we jump at it and drag Tori ( Manager of the Riki) along with us! Cost was $23 and organised through our Guest House (Rikitikitavi)
In its day Bokor Hill Station/ built by the French in the 1920’s, was a holiday settlement, it has been abandoned twice, first when the Vietnamese and Khmer fought France for their Independence and again during the Khmer Rouge days in the early 1970’s. Its an eerie place of old derelict buildings.
We start the morning in a lovely mini van which Tori was very impressed with and proudly states this! As she has heard such horror stories of this trip and pick up trucks etc.. we did tell her not to talk to soon!!
We pick up 11 other guests and are all crammed in the van, but only a short trip to the Rangers Office at Bokor, where we are told we will get his car up to the top. At the Office all that is there is a blue pick up truck! YUP – Tori has heard correctly! 16 of us pile in. Pita Bread and l have been in this situation before and know to get on first to get the best spot directly behind the driver for something to hang on to! Poor Tori was stuck against the tailgate!
We stop half way up and are told to get out and we will walk, the road is perfect so thought oh well can’t be too bad, but no, we are hearded up a bloody drain on the side of the mountain and into the jungle!!! Tori and l exchanging glances and not sure what is going on.
It was a tough climb, and we discover as we had fallen well behind the pack with the guide that we could’ve stayed on the truck and that we will met it again in an hour or so and go the rest of theway up the mountain on it. We have decided to kill Romdoul when we get back for not telling us all of this – or someone anyway! So we wander along with Tiger- the guide and learn some very interesting Khmer words and have a fits of giggles, we find out later that the rest of the group can hear us and all they can hear is us giggling, we are known as the old ducks! We were actually learning Khmer swear words!
But WE DID IT, TORI and l climbed that boody mountain! We were very proud of ourselves.
Back into the truck and on to the top to the old casino, church and other buildings. It’s a multi million dollar development but the workers and their families are living in nothing more than plastic bags, very distressing. We could not get in the buildings as they are being rebuilt, the Church is the only one we got into and it is a squat for the workers. The old casino is surrounded by scaffolding and you cannot get n it, they will be turning it into a museum we are told.
I am glad that l did go up, l don’t care to go up there again as l imagine it will be over run with chinese gamblers and high end tourists, not my idea of a nice place.
We have seen progress at work and it does suck!