VIDEO SNAPSHOT: Motoring Bokor NP, Cambodia

Here’s another Video Snapshot for our beautiful followers.

Bokor Mountain Hill Station in Kampot province, Cambodia, was built by the colonial French as a resort for their brass at the top of a 3,200 ft peak in the Elephant Mountains.

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Beej, overlooking Popokvil Falls on Bokor Mountain. Image (c) Stacy Libokmeto 2015

In the next decades various occupiers used the run-down shell as a strategic outpost to spy for invaders along the Gulf of Thailand to the south. Then the place was simply abandoned, left to be overgrown by thick jungles and surrounded by one of the most diverse arrays of plant and animal species in Cambodia.

17081390205_c7256c7aba_oBut market forces and profit motives made this Edenic state short-lived. Illegal poaching and logging decimated the thick highland old-growth forests and native species like big cats and elephants.

And recently Cambodia’s oil and gas giant Sokimex Investment Group, with it’s Sokha resorts, announced a plan that will lay waste to the rest. The energy monopoly, in league with the government, bought 10% of the land atop the mountain (making the “National Park” moniker meaningless) building roads and vast parking lots for a gigantic private hotel/casino complex that will be the largest in Cambodia.

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A Sokimex industrial plant atop Bokor Mountain. Image (c) 2015 Stacy Libokmeto.
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Beej motors past a future parking lot on Bokor Mountain. Image (c) 2015 Stacy Libokmeto

So far only the Thansavour Hotel is open, so if you want to experience the park with only minimal traffic jams and litter, your time is now: large swathes of rather spooky jungle, plus the impressive multi-cascading Popokvil Falls, are still accessible for now.

(Warning: we strongly recommend hiring a cheap local guide if you would like to do any off-road hiking – unexploded land mines from the Khmer Rouge era still litter the hillsides. Only a local with experience will know which forest trails are safe!)

Enjoy the video and watch for more updates soon!

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