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www.hotsia.com > Combodai > Pursat
 

 

Pursat is the fourth biggest province of Cambodia. The province is located in the western part of the country and borders clockwise from the north with Battambang, the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Speu, Koh Kong, and Thailand. Pursat offers a perfect access to both the Tonle Sap (just 35km far) and the Cardamom Mountains (right to the West). The name of Pursat refers to a type of tree.


For the time being, Pursat receives few travellers and the two main attractions, the Cardamoms and the Tonle Sap require a little initiative on the tourist's part to visit. Pursat is predominantly accessible by the National Highway No 5 form Phnom Penh (174km) and Battambang (106km). There is also an old slowly train working between Phnom Penh and Battambang, which stops outside (2km) from Pursat.

The provincial capital of Pursat is also called Pursat town. The city is located right in the middle between the Tonle Sap and the Cardamom Mountains on the riverbanks of the Stung Pursat. There isnt that much to do in that small town, so most of the tourists coming here are more or less on their way to Battambang or Phnom Penh. For people just driving by, the impression of a boring ordinary town remains. The only tourist attraction in town is the marble workshops near the bridge on the main street. The precious marble stones originate from the Cardamoms, than they are brought here, followed up and sold near the Lam Siv Eng Restaurant. About 5 km from town is the tomb of Khleang Meung.
The Tonle Sap
Pursat province offers the magnificent opportunity to see one of the larger and markedly less touristy floating villages without a significant investment in time or money. In fact, there are a number of floating villages in the province only accessible from the lake, Peach Kantil, Kbal Taol, and Prek Kr, but you can only see Kompong Luong for the cost of the day-rate for a moto ($6-8) and the cost for a boat ride once you get there.

Central Cardamoms
Pursat offers a relatively easy way to enter this fantastic ecological wonder, the massive Cardamom Mountains. Accessing the central Cardamoms from Pursat is not too difficult as there is a road from Pursat to Veal Veng, a small village between the Mt. Samkos and Mt. Aural Wildlife Sanctuaries. There's really nothing to do but to take a drive through the country, to have a look at the mountains, and to talk to people who don't see many foreigners and that is even worth it. There's no organized transport from Pursat to this place, but if you ask around you should eventually get satisfactory results.

Pursat province is 12,692 square kilometres big. Its located in the Southwest of the country and is bordering to the North with Battambang, to the East with Kampong Chhnang, to the South with Kampong Speu and Koh Kong and to the West with Thailand. The province consists of some typical plain wet areas near the Tonle Sap Basin, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The Tonle Sap itself covers a big part in the provinces Northeast. Most surface area of the country is the Krvanh Mountains, or literally called "Cardamom Mountains". This is a green, forested mountain range in the southwestern part of the province, near to the border with Thailand. The highest elevation is the 1,813m high Phnom Aural in the Southeast corner of the country.

 

How to get there

Phnom Pich Hotel: (tel: 052/951515)
This hotel is about 200m North from the main bridge on the westbank of the river. The smart and modern hotel offers clean and very spacious room equipped with Western bathroom, satellite TV and air-con. The attached restaurant has a very good reputation in town. The prices range from US$6-15.

Vimean Sourkear Hotel: (tel: 052/951466)
The pretty old looking hotel from the outside shows another face inside with air-con rooms and hot water. Its probably the cheapest hotel with air-con in town.

New Tounsour Hotel: (tel: 052/951506)
This hotel is long-running by friendly people and offers quite the same standard as the Phnom Pich Hotel. Clean and very spacious room equipped with Western bathroom, satellite TV and air-con. Dont wonder about the kitschy dcor its just a Khmer update. Prices from US$5-10.

These next two places have similar good locations, close to the river and market:

Thmar Keo Guesthouse:
There is a nice outdoor terrace here. The best bet is the fan room with a Western bath and single bed for US$ 5. An a/c room goes for US$ 10.

Hotel Tmei:
Next to the Hotel Vimean Sourkey, this hotel was still under construction when we were in the area. Looks like it will be the best spot in town when its finished. Who said Pursat wasnt booming?

These two places are near each other and just off National Highway No 5:

Hotel Orchidee:
A very friendly place run by a mother-daughter team. There is a common living room, TV area on the second floor that has some nice Khmer artwork on display. Rooms with a Western bath, h./w shower and two beds go for US$ 7 with fan, and US$ 10 for turning on the a./c.

Hotel Than Sour:
Its probably a step up from the Orchidee, and is a friendly place as well. Nice rooms with TV, Western bath and fan go for US$ 5, a/c for US$ 10.

 


Where to eat

Like in Kampong Chhnang the most restaurants close quite early as the city falls apart after 9pm. To have reasonable and quite tasty food you may look for the ordinary food stalls and noodle cookshops at the market near the NH No 5.

Magic Fish Restaurant:
This riverside restaurant is located in the far north of the town. You have to look for the yellow building on the right as you drive north from town (no English sign). Nice fish dishes, for sure, as the name already promises.

River Front Restaurant:
Located about 20 meters north of the dam on the main river drag this is by far the most pleasant spot to have a meal. Its right next to the river, so there is plenty of entertainment on hand watching the locals swim, fish and socialize. The food is good and the beer girls are very friendly. Show off and practice your newly acquired Khmer language skills with them.

Stung Pursat Restaurant & Nightclub:
Thats the top nightclub in town, which isnt saying much. The food is fair to okay and the nightly Cambodian dance a thon, complete with band, starts at 8:30 pm. The beer girls will greet you at the door.

Boray Thmei Restaurant/Restaurant & Nightclub:
Around 3 km heading down the road towards Phnom Penh are where you will see these two places. They feature the standard Khmer and Chinese fare.

Lam Siveeng Restaurant:
Open for breakfast and throughout the day. Its a simple and friendly place with good food the omellets, French bread and coffee are tasty and cheap. Some of the staff speaks English.

Vimean Sourkey Restaurant:
Its next to the hotel of the same name and has good Khmer and Chinese food.

 

Where to stay

Phnom Pich Hotel: (tel: 052/951515)
This hotel is about 200m North from the main bridge on the westbank of the river. The smart and modern hotel offers clean and very spacious room equipped with Western bathroom, satellite TV and air-con. The attached restaurant has a very good reputation in town. The prices range from US$6-15.

Vimean Sourkear Hotel: (tel: 052/951466)
The pretty old looking hotel from the outside shows another face inside with air-con rooms and hot water. Its probably the cheapest hotel with air-con in town.

New Tounsour Hotel: (tel: 052/951506)
This hotel is long-running by friendly people and offers quite the same standard as the Phnom Pich Hotel. Clean and very spacious room equipped with Western bathroom, satellite TV and air-con. Dont wonder about the kitschy dcor its just a Khmer update. Prices from US$5-10.

These next two places have similar good locations, close to the river and market:

Thmar Keo Guesthouse:
There is a nice outdoor terrace here. The best bet is the fan room with a Western bath and single bed for US$ 5. An a/c room goes for US$ 10.

Hotel Tmei:
Next to the Hotel Vimean Sourkey, this hotel was still under construction when we were in the area. Looks like it will be the best spot in town when its finished. Who said Pursat wasnt booming?

These two places are near each other and just off National Highway No 5:

Hotel Orchidee:
A very friendly place run by a mother-daughter team. There is a common living room, TV area on the second floor that has some nice Khmer artwork on display. Rooms with a Western bath, h./w shower and two beds go for US$ 7 with fan, and US$ 10 for turning on the a./c.

Hotel Than Sour:
Its probably a step up from the Orchidee, and is a friendly place as well. Nice rooms with TV, Western bath and fan go for US$ 5, a/c for US$ 10.

Shopping

As it is quite common in Cambodia even small cities, such as Pursat have at least one bigger market. You may also find a market in Pursat centre, which are very busy areas with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like lots of fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and packed products. Most of the food and drink shops are surrounding the market. To take something special from this province along, buy some marble handicrafts.

What to see

Bak Tra Resort
Bak Tra Resort is the natural site about 16 kilometers south of Pursat provincial town along National Road 56. This site includes a 50 meter high hill, a forest, a large stone, a stream from which water flows year round, and many natural wells. Fruite trees are abundant, particularly Kuy (a yellow skinned edible fruit) or Sei Moan (a red skinned edible fruit). Bak Tra is also an important place of worship.

 

Cardamom Mountains
Cardamom Mountains:
Check the Koh Kong chapter for information on the fried from Koh Kong to Pailin, which cuts through the Cardamom Mountains on the western edge of Pursat province. The Cardamom Mountains of Koh Kong and Pursat provinces are said to be the most pristine wilderness area remaining in Southeast Asia. This ride takes you through the area.

 

Floating Village of Lake Tonle Sap
Floating Village of Lake Tonle Sap is heading east from Pursat town, about one-third of the way to Kampong Chhnang town is the town of Krakor. Just a few kilometers to the north are Lake Tonle Sap and the floating village of Kampong Loo-uhng. Its a complete village on the water populated mostly by Vietnamese fishermen. You can arrange for a small non-motorized boat to show you.
 

Kam Pong Luong Resort
Kampong Luong is a natural site located on the Tonle Sap in Kampong Luong commune, Krakor district, about 35 kilometers east of Pursat provincial town. The site is a sand cape suitable for swimming during the dry season. During the rainy season, especially during Pchumben, many cambodians gather there to play Chaol Teuk Leak (a traditional Khmer game, played by throwing water on one another) on the river. The game can be dangerous, however, because it is often played while in small boats.

There are four other sites that Pursat residents prefer to visit. They include:
Kampeng: located in Pro Ngil village, Por Ngil commune, Kravanh district, about 20 kilometers from the provincial town.
Phnom Dak Preah: located in Roleap village, Roleap commune, Pursat district, about 10 kilometers from the provincial town.
Koh Sampeou Meas: located in front of the provincial hall in the middle of Pursat Island. It covers 2 hectares.
Preah Theat: located in Sre Sdok village, Sre Sdok commune, Kan Deang district, about 20 kilometers from the provincial town.
This sites in Pursat province cater mostly to local people who visit them, especially on holidays or during the traditional festivals.

 

Leach Village
Leach Village is a village serves as a processing center for sandalwood oil, which in turn is used in perfume. The wood comes from the nearby forests of the Cardamom Mountains. Leach is around 27 km southwest of Pursat town.
 

Luaing Trach
Luaing Trach is located in Lang Trach village, Svay Sa Commune, KraKor district, about 49 kilometers (1h:30mn) from Provincial Town. It is Nature & Wildlife Preserves.
 

O'Da Rapids
ODa Rapids is a river picnic area that the locals head out to on weekends to have a swim and kick back for a while about 52 km from town. There are Thais and Khmers working on building a logging road to extract timber from the area, which is why the river is now accessible for the locals on a fairly good gravel road for much of the way. The location is not really something to write home about, but the ride out gives you a chance to see life in the pursat countryside. To get there, turn left (if coming from Phnom Penh) at the small Caltex station (same as going to the hill temple). Down the road, 27 km from the turn, you come to the town of Leach, follow the curve of the right. At 0.7 km past that, turn left you will then see a mountain ahead. At 52.5 km past the Caltex turn, you arrive at a gate with entry fees listed, although there was nobody there to collect when I visited. The fees are listed in Khmer script, from 500 riel to 5,000 riel, depending upon whether you had a motorcycle; car of just came with others. Go beyond the gate to find the river and picnic areas.

Scenic Drive to Wat Bpahk-Dtrow A nice drive through rural farm country, followed by rolling forested hills, is what you get on the way to this hill temple area. With large boulders and trees lining the temple area, its a favorite spot for the locals on Sundays and holidays. There are footpaths leading to the different temples and monuments throughout the area. There are food and drink stands near the parking area. To get there just head east from the river bridge on National Hwy5 (towards Phnom Penh) and turn right at the small Caltex gas station-you go under a brick and metal mesh gateway. Just follow this road for about twenty of twenty- five minutes (around 14 km) and you will see the hilltop temple in the distance on the left. Turn left at the blue white pillars.

 

Phnom Ba Klas
Phnom Ba Klas is a natural and cultural site located in Tnaot Chum Village, Tnaot Chum cmmune, Krakor district, about 20 kilometers east of the provincial town. The site affords visitors beautiful scenery and abundant fresh air. The near by mountains are filled with a small fruit trees, especially Kuy and Sei moan, which are popular among visitors. An old, crumbling pagoda still contains many statues and sculptures. Khmer people still come there to worship.
 

Phnom Baykhlor Resort
Pnhom Baykhlor Resorts is the natural and cultural resort. It is located at Thuaut Chum village, Thnaut Chum commune, Ko Kor District in 20-Kilometer distance from the provincial town of Pursat by the National Road N0 5 then turning right more 12 Kilometers to the East. This resort consists of:

- Beautiful scenery for tourists.
- Mountain and forest.
- Broken ancient statues and other varied sculpt.

 

Scenic Drive to Wat Bpahk- Dtrow

Scenic Drive to Wat Bpahk-Dtrow a nice drive through rural farm country, followed by rolling forested hills, is what you get on the way to this hill temple area. With large boulders and trees lining the temple area, its a favorite spot for the locals on Sundays and holidays. There are footpaths leading to the different temples and monuments throughout the area. There are food and drink stands near the parking area. To get there just head east from the river bridge on National Road No.5 (towards Phnom Penh) and turn right at the small Caltex gas station-you go under a brick and metal mesh gateway. Just follow this road for about twenty of twenty- five minutes (around 14 km) and you will see the hilltop temple in the distance on the left. Turn left at the blue white pillars.
 

Venerable Site of Neak Ta Khleang Moeang
Neak Ta Khleang Moeang is the main historical site in Cambodia and located at Snam Preah Commune, Ba Kan District, about 6 kilometers south of Pursat provincial town.

The site is the sacred place prayed and worshipped by tourists who come from the near and far areas. This venerable site has a statue of Neak Ta Khleang Moeang respected and worshipped by the Cambodian people. The statue is newly made in 1993 and put at the right place because the ancient statue is completely damaged by the civil war.

 

Wat Preh S'dai and Pursat River
Wat Preh Sdai and Pursat River, this is the temple that you can see from National Road No.5 looking south toward the river bend. There is a new wat under construction on the temple grounds as well. Its a nice setting with the river nearby. Just across the river road from the temple is a wooden bridge crossing the Pursat River. Just north of the bridge is a sandy beach.
 


 

 

 
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ͧѡ mr.Hotsia ç ç ѷ Richard Lustig