Bokor Mountain, just two hours from Phnom Penh and a towering 1,075 metres above sea level, is a quintessential Kampot experience.
These days, in addition to “picnics in the clouds” and pilgrimages to Wat Sampov Pram, locals and tourists have a new destination: the newly built Thansur Bokor Highland Resort.
Critics, however, have yet to warm to it.
According to one Kampot local: “Bokor Mountain isn’t natural any more because of all the development.”
Chansophal Kheng, Thansur Bokor Highland Resort’s marketing director, says the mega-resort is not intended solely as a gaming venue.
“It offers a combination of natural beauty and entertainment. Our customers can enjoy the view in addition to other tourist attractions,” Kheng says.
Since its soft launch in March this year, Thansur Bokor has been running at full steam, as Kheng explained in an email interview with The Phnom Penh Post’s Lifestyle section.
What is the estimated cost of the resort, and how many hectares of land does it occupy?
The total land size of the mountain is approximately 140,000 hectares, and it will take time to find out the exact proportion for the development project.
Likewise, the development of this mega-size resort will cost no less than hundreds of millions of dollars.
What is the price range of the resort rooms?
There are three different room types. Prices range from US$65 to US$600 per night, depending on the date of stay and the room type.
In your opinion, are tourists heading for the view from Bokor Mountain or its new entertainment venue, the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort?
Bokor Mountain has a long and rich history. It was the favourite playground for royalty, socialites and the rich during the French era because of its sheer natural beauty.
However, road inaccessibility deterred tourists from travelling there. It became more convenient after the completion of the rehabilitation project, and (continues to attract) thousands of tourists.
Although the resort is complemented with a luxury hotel and entertainment venues, the mountain’s natural beauty, its history and year-round cool weather make the experience unique.
There are currently five party venues. Are they all in operation right now?
Currently, only the Vior Lounge is in full operation; the other venues are still in preparation mode. Other outlets will be completed in a few months’ time.
Are the resort’s seven restaurants open for business?
Not all of them are fully completed yet. Three of them – the Asian Buffet, the Noodle Bar and the International Buffet – are in full operation, while the rest are expected to be complete in the coming months.
Are the chefs internationally or locally trained?
The restaurants are intended to provide tourists with the best variety of cuisines and delicacies. Our chefs are a mixture of locals and expatriates – most are international chefs with a wealth of culinary experience.
How much can guests expect to pay for dinner at one of the restaurants?
There are many restaurants, and the prices differ. Depending on our guests’ choice, dinner could start from roughly US$6 per person.
Are there any upcoming wedding celebrations booked at the resort?
Not yet. The plan is to promote the resort as a premier wedding celebration venue.
Does the resort offer guided tours on Bokor Mountain?
A recreation team has been formed to meet the need of tourists seeking guided services. Tours will be conducted of all the historical sites, jungle trekking and, of course, within our properties.
The tours are currently being offered in two languages – Khmer and English. The prices vary, depending on packages.
In terms of marketing the resort, is there a focus an international audience or domestic travellers?
The advertising and marketing activities have been concentrating on domestic tourists. We are now putting in more effort to promote the resort as a new destination for regional travellers.
When is the best time for a stay at the resort?
We’re still a new destination in the very early stages of operations, so we can’t assess the low or peak tourist season, but weekends are occupied now.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lareina Choong at email@example.com