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talesofasia guide to the provinces of Cambodia



updated February 2006

Pursat is one province that has a bit of eco-tourism potential. Located in the western part of the country, Pursat is bordered by, clockwise from the north, Battambang, the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Speu, Koh Kong, and Thailand, Pursat offers generous access to both the Tonle Sap and the Cardamom Mountains.

For the time being, Pursat receives few visitors and the two attractions, the Cardamoms and the Tonle Sap will require a little initiative on the tourist's part to visit, but having seen both myself, it would be an initiative well rewarded.

Access to Pursat is predominantly by road only as National Highway 5, the road connecting Battambang and Phnom Penh, cuts through the province. The train between Phnom Penh and Battambang stops here. Scenic but agonizingly slow.

Pursat (town)
The Tonle Sap
Central Cardamoms

Pursat (town)
Though I've never spent a night here, I've been through the town. People I know who have stayed here have returned favorable reports on both the Phnom Pich Hotel and the New Thansour Hotel. The only tourist attraction in the town, per se, are the marble workshops as the stuff is found in the Cardamoms. Still, you won't mind kicking around here for a day or so as you base yourself for further explorations into the countryside.

About 5 km from town is the tomb of Khleang Meung. I haven't been there myself so you're going to have to look at a guidebook for more info.

The Tonle Sap
A majority of tourists will see the Tonle Sap in one of two ways. Either from the speedboat between Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or an hour or two in the Vietnamese floating village of Chong Khneas which is quite close to Siem Reap and visited by hundreds of tourists daily. Needless to say, neither is much of an experience and many a tourist find themselves wishing they had seen more. The problem is that to really get out on the lake to see some of the less touristed (some receive virtually no tourists at all) villages takes a bit of time and usually a lot of money. See the Siem Reap province page for more information about excursions on that side of the lake as several opportunitues exist.

Pursat province does offer the opportunity (for the time being, anyway) to see one of the larger and markedly less touristed floating villages without a significant investment in time or money. There are in fact, a number of floating villages in the province and I have visited several that are only accessible from the lake, Peach Kantil, Kbal Taol, and Prek Kra. Well, forget about those unless you have tons of money (I don't, I was doing photography for somebody else who was paying the bill!), but you can 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. I haven't been to this village, which happens to be Vietnamese (many of the villages are Vietnamese and most are ethnically divided as to whether they are Viet or Khmer), but having been to the others I can guess what awaits. Do visit! Details on this village are available in both the Rough Guide Cambodia and Lonely Planet Cambodia.

Central Cardamoms
Cambodia's magnificent mountain range (see also the Koh Kong page), Pursat offers a relatively easy way to access this fantastic ecological wonder. Accessing the central Cardamoms from Pursat is not too difficult as there is a road from Pursat to Veal Veng, a tiny hamlet sandwiched between the Mt. Samkos and Mt. Aural Wildlife Sanctuaries. There's really nothing to do other than take a drive through the country, look at the mountains, and talk to people who don't see many foreigners, but that in itself is worth the trip. There's no organized transport per se from Pursat, but if you ask around enough you should eventually get satisfactory results. For more information on Veal Veng and motorbiking the Cardamoms, read this story, especially if you seriously want to go there.

Provinces Guide



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