The Dâmrei Mountains
, literally the "Elephant Mountains
", are a mountain range situated in the southwest of Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...
These mountains are an offshoot of the Krâvanh or Cardamom Mountains
The Krâvanh Mountains, literally the "Cardamom Mountains" , is a mountain range in the south west of Cambodia, jutting into southeastern Thailand.-Location and description:...
, but occupy a much smaller area. The highest elevation is Phnom Bokor at 1,081 meters (3,547 feet) above sea level. Located close to the shores of the Gulf of Siam, the densely wooded hills receive rainfall averaging 150–200 inches (3,800–5,000 mm) annually on their western slopes (which are subject to southwest monsoons) but only 40–60 inches (1,020–1,520 mm) on their eastern, or rain shadow, slopes.
The Dâmrei Mountains were, until 1975, the principal centre of Cambodia's pepper-growing industry
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...
. After the intervening years of civil war and upheavals pepper-growing has revived slowly beginning from the late 1990s.
The Phnom Bokor National Park
Preah Monivong National Park is a national park in southern Cambodia. The main attraction of the park is Bokor Hill Station. The park is one of only two Cambodian ASEAN Heritage Parks .It is also known as Phnom Bokor National Park...
occupies most of the upper levels and the summits of the Dâmrei Mountains. The authorities are trying to curb illegal logging. The park has a great variety of plant species, including rare orchids as well as some spectacular waterfalls during the rainy season.
There is an abandoned French town on top of Phnom Bokor, known as the Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station is an abandoned French town in Preah Monivong National Park. Construction started in 1921 on Dâmrei Mountains, about 20 km as the crow flies West from the town of Kampot, southern Cambodia...
(Station Climatique du Bokor), where elite French colonial officers spent holidays during the hot season. The place has also a church and a casino, all in a dilapidated condition. Nearby there is Cambodian army outpost which doubles as a youth hostel for lack of other accommodation. Both sites are now becoming tourist attractions, but the road to reach them, built in 1907, is in rough shape.