The abandoned colonial town of Bokor Hill Station is full of vacant, bombed out buildings plastered in apocalyptic graffiti and marked with bomb craters and machine gun bullet holes. It looks like a movie set, so no wonder it has been used as the location for scenes in films like City of Ghosts and R-Point.

Bokor Hill Station is about 100kms south of Phnom Penh and was constructed specifically to order by the French as a resort escape from the capital. It is a little cooler in this part of Cambodia but the atmosphere of the town betrays its less-than-idyllic history of occupation and partial destruction – it was one of the Khmer Rouge’s fiercely defended strongholds in the 1970s.

The ruins of what must have been a palatial and decadent center of the action – the Bokor Palace Casino – still stand and adventurous visitors may choose to go inside the crumbling walls and grab a vague sense of what might have been. Like much of Cambodia, the area is a hybrid of French Colonial ambiance and the prolonged and bitter fighting of war time.

Today, not a single person lives or works at Bokor Hill Station, but tourists are flocking here in ever growing numbers via the 32kms of muddy road that snakes its way from sea level to the mountain peak.

In brief

What is it? An abandoned French colonial resort town.

Opening hours: 24 hours, daily.

Entrance fees: no entry fee.


Where: Bokor Hill, southern Cambodia.

How to get there: private four-wheel drive taxis run charter trips out of Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville and the journey takes around 3 hours from either destination.