Preah Monivong "Bokor" National Park - Biodiversity amongst the mist and ruins
|More popularly referred to as Bokor National Park, the Preah Monivong National Park was established by Royal Decree on 01 November 1993 and covers an area of 140,000 hectares (1,400 square kilometers) that span three southern provinces: Kampot, Kompong Spue and Preah Sihanouk. The area forms part of the Elephant Mountains, which are contiguous with the Cardamom Mountain range to the northeast. The southern boundary of the Park is located less than one kilometer from the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand. The northern boundary forms a seven-kilometer link to Kirirom National Park, separated only by the National Highway. Mt. Bokor, at 1,079 meters (3,540 feet), is the Park's highest point.
The Park was first accessed in 1916 and developed later as a famous altitude resort during the regime of the French Protectorate and Prince Norodom Sihanouk in the 1960s. Altitude ranges from 10 meters to 1,079 meters above sea level. The Park is the catchment area for Touk Chhou, a major river that flows from the north central forests to the southeast and down to Kampot town.
The abandoned French Hill Station of Bokor was established in 1922 at an altitude of 1,071 meters, and included the grand Bokor Palace Hotel as the centerpiece of the small community. The area was well known for its refreshing climate, views, and waterfalls. The Hill Station was very popular in the 1920s,but was abandoned after an assault by Vietnamese independence forces in the late 1940s and during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. It served as a strategic base for Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge forces during most of the last few decades, but is uninhabited now.
|Details on Preah Monivong "Bokor" National Park are available in the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity’s (ACB) "The ASEAN Heritage Parks", A Journey to the Natural Wonders of Southeast Asia, October 2010. Please contact ACB for access of this book.|