I want to share with you a few photographs I took while visiting the abandoned Bokor Hill Station, high up in the mountain near Kampot in Cambodia.

The Hill Station was built as a resort town in the early 1920s by colonial French to provide a respite from the tropical heat. Perched at an alleviation of over 1000 metres, the weather is mild and often extreme. Apparently over 900 people died, over a 9 month period, during the construction of the resort. Today it takes about 1 hour to reach the station, up a long windy well maintained bitumen road lined with monkeys. However back in the day, the harsh climate and remote location was cause for much trouble.

Antique pressed metal mural art with gold embossing, bright orange lichen and graffiti | Buddhist Temple | Bokor Hill Station | Cambodia

Decaying pressed metal mural covered in rust orange lichen | Buddhist Temple | Bokor Hill Station | Cambodia

Up close details of old decaying pressed metal mural covered in rust orange lichen  | Buddhist Temple | Bokor Hill Station | Cambodia

The Hill Station was abandoned in the 1940s. It was briefly opened again as a casino in the 1960s, but shortly after was abandoned due to the war. Later the site became a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. The station is spread over several kilometres, consisting of many buildings scattered around the hilltop. The highlight for me being the old Catholic church, Buddhist temple and Bokor Palace Hotel. 

View down the hill to Mount Bokor Catholic Church| Built in the 1920s from stones extracted from the mountain and designed to withstand hurricane wind, it is the second oldest Catholic Church in Cambodia | Bokor Hill Station 

Shrine inside Mount Bokor Catholic Church | Bokor Hill Station | Cambodia

Neo Romanesque style arched stone window on Mount Bokor Catholic Church | Bokor Hill Station | Cambodia

You can freely wander the grounds and enter any buildings that are open. Some are more crumbled and absorbed by nature, than others. The views from the top stretch over to Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.

There is also a pretty waterfall in the nearby Preah Monivong national park. The whole vast area on the way to the station appears to be in a modern day abandoned state of construction. There is still one large operating casino hotel embedded between large scale hotels that are nothing more than open shell concrete blocks with no one around. 

Tree fungus and small animal skull | Popokvil Waterfall | Preah Monivong National Park | Cambodia

Rockpool with tribal markings made from small water bugs | Popokvil Waterfall | Preah Monivong National Park | Cambodia


Flame red leaves on a hedge in the car park | Popokvil Waterfall | Preah Monivong National Park | Cambodia

It is a haunting place. However the historical buildings, themes of abandonment, cultural and religious symbols and the bright orange forest lichen made for a fascinating photography trip.

August 25, 2023

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