Afer a few quiet days at Samon’s village, we decided that it was time to move closer to the centre of Kampot and the Tiki guesthouse offered us accommodation that provided that for us.
It was also about half the price and had a bigger room with a hot shower and decent wifi. You know you’ve been travelling for a while when a hot shower is one of the main selling points to a room that you’re going to stay in.
Kampot is quite a small city so it’s easy enough to walk around. There’s a lot of old French style buildings to look at – some looking very nice and some looking quite old and run down. Given that Camobdia doesn’t have a massive amount of wealth, it’s reasonable enough to expect the buildings to be a bit older but, for me, the mix of old and new adds to the character of the city.
One of the main attractions of Kampot is the fact that it is near to Kep but we’d just came from there so there was no need for us to go back to see Kep again.
The next thing is the Bokor national park. This is a strange place, originally, it was a French hill station and used as a look out area when they occupied Camobodia.
There was a large casino on the hill along with various other things that made the whole area into a town or city. There were hospitals, hotels, a church and places for people to work and live. There was even a royal residence.
Initially, the French built all of this up in the hills because the heat was too much in the city so moving higher up gave them a nice cool place to live.
Over time, the French left and the buildings fell into disrepair. Some of them are still there so we booked a tour to take us up there.
The old hill station is part rennovated and there are plans to make it into a new hotel. At the time of writing, it’s a shell of a building and parts of the original building are still there.
When you’re walking through, there are various staircases with old floor tiles on them. There are bathrooms with part of the original features still in place.
As well as this, there is an old church which is even more old and run down than the hill station building. The church hasn’t had any rennovation work done on it but there is an opening that you cna walk through.
There is still an alter and a few statues around but there are no chairs or benches (if there ever were any, they’ve been removed at some point).
Like the hill station, there is still evidence of some of the original parts of the building being in place. It’s always interesting to see what happens to a place when people stop maintaining it.
Throughout the trip, we’ve saw quite a lot of older looking things or abandoned places and Bokor national park provides some of the best examples of these.
As well as the old things, there’s also a massive new casino building that is mainly used by Chinese and Vietnamese tourists. This is a strange place, there is a hotel but it’s too far away from anything to be anything other than a casino.
Anyone visiting the casino and hotel would probably have about a 1 hour drive to get to Kampot.
Towards the end of the visit, we were taken to a room that shows future plans for the area. The plan is to build several hundred houses on the hill side and transform the whole area into a bustling town.
The downside to that is that the trees and plants in the area will have to be removed before this will happen.
We asked the guide about conservation laws to allow this but he said there are none. Which is a shame because the area is home to some rare wildlife such as gibbons and sunbears.
After the tour, it was back to Kampot and back to the tiki guesthouse.