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, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong 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 travelers 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 Pur Sat.
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 isn’t 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 Mountain, 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.
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 Samkos Mountain and Aural Mountain 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.
Located, on the western side of the Tonle Sap lake, Pursat province is covered mainly by mountainous terrain. Although the province is not home to many ancient temples, the highlight of this province concerns the history of the war between Siamese and the Khmers that took place just before the French Colonial era in Cambodia. A popular historical site is that of the Tomb of Oknha Klang Meung, the Cambodian hero who led the war against Siamese and defeated them in 1482.
While in Pursat, visit the floating town of Kampong Luang, and take in the natural beauty of the O’da. These are unspoiled attractions that this charming province boasts. This is also a town known for its top-quality marble. Besides farming, most of the residents make their living sculpting using marble as the main medium.
Kampong Luang, a town floating on the Tonle Sap Lake is just 40 km away from the Pursat town center. The floating village includes a police station, schools, restaurants, a clinic, shops and bars. The town is self-sufficient and is equipped with all the facilities of a grounded city.
The O’da, a remote attraction, refreshes even the most tired travelers with its gorgeous scenery and tranquility. Any stress brought on by the challenges of work or family life will be carried away in the natural splendor of the river, which flows from the Arai River in the Cardamom Mountains. The mouth of the river, approximately 500 meters wide, is framed by thousands of large and small rocks. During the rainy season, the crystal clear water crashes over the smooth stones, but when the rains dry up, sentimental travelers can take a seat on the rocks to reflect on their journey. Opened just a few years ago, O’da is located in Rokat Commune in Kravanh district 58 km from Pursat town.
Pursat and its surrounding attractions are sure to season even the savviest traveler. Lunch along the highway; dip in to history with Oknha Kleang Mueng, a floating village tour, and a bathe in the healing waters of O’da for an unforgettable trip.
Pursat province is 12,692 square kilometres big. It’s 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 province’s Northeast. Most surface area of the country is the Krâvanh 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.
Marble engraved into history of Pursat
When it comes to marble engraving, nowhere in Cambodia quite compares to Pursat province, where many of the province’s families have an ancestral background in the trade. The routines of life based around marble engraving are centuries-old but the career still is very popular throughout the province, particularly for those residing in Kandieng district.
Almost 70 per cent of the people living in Banteay Dei are engravers but they have not learnt from schools or a faculty of fine arts, but instead from friends, families, or grandparents. Because their carving skills are often a family’s principal source of income, almost all people in the area regard it as their life’s work.
A sharp chipping sound welcomes visitors to Banteay Dei. With metal chisel and hummer in his hand, 36 year-old Ban Ber says he started his career 10 years ago and that he acquired the skill by watching other people. He said the marble stones people used for carving were bought from larger blocks dug from the Cardamom Mountain range. One kilogram of blue marble costs 2000 riel (US$ 0.50) and for one kilogram of simple marble costs from 800 to 1000 riel, he added
Ban Ber went on to describe that, amongst all marble, blue marble was the best quality, adding that each time he bought two tons of marble to put in his store, sculptures were made from it including bowls, urns, glasses, teapots, trays, and many other kinds of statues. In modern times, most sculptors use electric tools instead of hand engraving, he says.
He said that the level of intricacy involved in his marble engraving often depends on the orders from middle-men and that it is difficult for individuals to find their own markets. He added that his family had abandoned farming and now concentrates on the marble trade for their living.
He added that when engraving, one must be highly committed, patient and industrious and for those who were light-hearted or aggressive could not do the job well. He now has two apprentices, but before had many, after having learnt the skills from him; they left him to start their own businesses. But now he has new students to learn the skill from him, he added. He also added that his family’s standard of living and that of Banteay Dei villagers had vastly improved through marble engraving and as a result most people in the village can send their children to school.
All the statues engraved in Banteay Dei village are bought by middle men to sell in Phnom Penh and in Siem Reap though he added that Cambodian and foreign tourists often visited the village and bought the statues.
Another sculptor, named Soa, aged 56 and living in Banteay Dei Leu, said, he first began studying engraving in 1968 during the time of Sangkum Reas Niyum, a time of relative political and economic stability referred to by many as Cambodia’s “golden age.” He has continued his career as a sculptor since then. Sao said that before starting to carve the marble, sculptors must draw outlines on the marble and after that chisel the marble base before repeated polishing to make the surface smooth before redecoration with other styles to make it look more attractive to potential customers.
Sao went to say that sometimes sculptures ordered by the clients were difficult to engrave because he had to strictly follow pictures, to achieve this, he had to do the job painstakingly, said Sao.
Sao went on to say that he has in the past mostly engraved Buddhist sculptures, often with dragon heads. A sculpture of Buddha decorated with dragon heads can be sold at US$70.00, he said, of which US$20 covers the cost of the marble.
Grandpa Morm Eang, a 75 year-old marble sculptor also living in Banteay Dei, said that all of his three children had picked up the trade. When he was young, he had always earned his living from constructing monastery temples and that when he became old he had picked up his skill as a marble sculptor to support his family.
He added that is searching for documents from the late 1930s relating to or illustrating the statues ancient sculptures in Cambodia’s temples. Though He said that for the time being he had been trying to engrave the Angkor Wat out of marble. To do this, he had to draw many pictures of Angkor on the stone and then carve it with until a representation of temple came into being, Sao said. The skill of marble stature engraving will would serve as a great means to preserve Khmer cultures and heritage so that all Khmer children in the next generations could see and recognize all of those great masterpieces, he added.
Oum Srey Neang, the owner of the a souvenir shop in the Toul Tompung (Russian) market, said that she bought lots of her marble statues from business partners from Pursat and that for some other statues she has ordered the sculptors in Pursat province carve particular kinds of statues.
Oum Srey Neang said that most foreign clients preferred buying Khmer statues and very occasionally Khmer guests bought one or two statues to use as a gift for other people. She added that as Pursat was famous for its marble statue engraving most of the statues in her shop were bought from there.
The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travelers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November - March (18-28c)
- Hot season: March - May (22c-34c)
- Rainy season: May - October (22-32c, with humidity up to 90%)
Pursat’s average temperature throughout the year is definitely lower than in other areas of Cambodia (except Ratanakiri and MondulkiriProvince).
The current population in this province is about 442,973 people or 3.1% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 214,651 male and 228,342 female. The population density is therefore 35 people per square kilometre.
Pursat’s economy consists basically of agricultural farming, fishery, rice and fruit cropping in the North of the province Shopping near the Tonle Sap Lake. Beside this the harvesting of sandalwood oil, which fetches huge prices in Asia (but sandalwood trees are disappearing fast in Cambodia) is another livelihood for the locals. Unfortunately the illegal logging of precious hardwoods and the poaching of endangered species give some people an additional income.
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.
Pursat River and Wat Preh S’dai:
Wat Preh S'dai and Pursat River, Pursat is one of the main areas of interest for the tourists arriving at Pursat to spend a day or two during the Tour of Cambodia. Counted among the popular sites it is included in a day's tour of the sites. Wat Preh S'dai and Pursat is the temple that is located to the southern bend of the river. A visit here is a highly enjoyable experience and the setting quite picturesque. Driving on National Highway 5 that connects Pursat with other Cambodian cities will give a view of Wat Preh S'dai and Pursat River.
Neak Ta Kleang Moeung:
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.
Neak Ta Khleang Moeang, Pursat is one of the famous tourist attractions in Pursat which attracts large number of visitors every year. It is one of the historical sites, which has great significance to the tourists. If you are a history aficionado and would like to explore the historical sites and places of cultural interests in Pursat in Cambodia then do visit the Neak Ta Khleang Moeang, Pursat.
Neak Ta Khleang Moeang, Pursat is one of the main historical sites in Cambodia. Pursat is a rural town located on the western side of Cambodia. It is also the fourth largest province in Cambodia, stretching from Thai border eastwards to the Tonle Sap Lake. I also include the Cardamom Mountains. There are a few attractions in Pursat and it is mostly the beauty of the natural surroundings that beguile the tourists to this place.
Neak Ta Khleang Moeang, Pursat is a must visit in the itinerary of the tourists out on sightseeing in Pursat as the place is one of the famous historic sites in Cambodia. It largely appeals to the people who take interest in the past and the historical background of the province. It is located at Snam Preah Commune, Ba Kan District. Apart from a tourist attraction, it is also a religious center and a site sacred site which is frequented by pilgrims and worshippers who come here from near and far areas.
Neak Ta Khleang Moeang in Pursat is one of the most esteemed sites that which has both historical and religious importance. It also houses a statue of Neak Ta Khleang Moeang which is worshipped by the Cambodian people. The ancient statue was completely damaged by the civil war and was replaced by a new statue.
Floating Village of Tonle Sap Lake
Pursat province offers the magnificent opportunity to see one of the larger and markedly less touristy floating villages without a significantinvestment 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 Kra, but you can only see Kampong Luong for the cost of the day-rate for a moto ($10-15) and the cost for a boat ride once you get there.
Kampong Hluong Resort
Kampong Hluong is a natural site located on the Tonle Sap in Kampong Hluong 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 Por 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 Dieng district, about 20 kilometers from the provincial town.
This site in Pursat province caters mostly to local people who visit them, especially on holidays or during the traditional festivals. Once past the mouth of the Tonle Sap, the floating village of Kampong Hluong is found 30 kilometers into the lake, on its southwest shore. It's truly a floating village, with a large population of Vietnamese fishermen. Almost totally over looked by tourists because of its remoteness and difficult access, the village is completely self-sufficient. A floating school, factories to make ice for fish preservation, church, pagoda, service stations, pigsty, stores, boat or television repair shops, video club, karaoke bar, police station... everything is on the water. All trades are represented and everybody from children to grandparents goes by boat through the network of canals that cross this little town.
Bak Tra Resort:
The Bak Tra Resort, Pursat is a very popular destination in the area and it should not be missed. The beauty of the place will surely amaze you like none else. You can reach the Bak Tra Resort, Pursat with ease as there are numerous means of transport available and you can avail hem to reach this spot. The Bak Tra Resort, Pursat is a natural resort that is worth paying a visit to. You need to travel for about 16 kilometers if you are staying at the provincial capital of Pursat.
You need to take the Road Number 56 to reach the Kra Vanh District. The Bak Tra Resort, Pursat is indeed very beautiful with a small mountain that is about 50 meters in height. There is a forest area as well that has a rich foliage of Thlong trees. There is also a canal and a perennial well in the area. All of these adds to the charm of the place and you should not miss it.
Phnom Ba Klas:
Phnom Ba Klas is a natural and cultural site located in Tnaot Chum Village, Tnaot Chum commune, 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.
Check the Koh Kong chapter for information on the fried from Koh Kong to Pai Lin, 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. The Cardamom Mountains are located in southwest Cambodia. The western edge of the Cardamom region abuts the Thai border, while the easternmost part ends about 60 miles northwest of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. The region's area is 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares). The highest point in the range (and in Cambodia) is Mount Aural, at 1,813 meters (5,946 feet). There are five main rivers that run through the Cardamoms, creating dozens of waterfalls. About 25,000 people live in this region, some of whom are ethnic minorities, such as the Porr.
There are two wildlife sanctuaries in the Cardamoms, both of which were decreed by King Norodom Sihanouk in 1993 solely on the basis of aerial photographs. Samkos Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is in the western part of the range, and Aural Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is in the east. These are "paper" parks only: they exist only by law, with none of the active management necessary for a wildlife preserve. Khmer Rouge guerrillas retreated to the Cardamoms after losing power in 1979, and for the next twenty years, no one wanted to enter that area for fear of the Khmer Rouge and the mines they placed in it. As a result, the region remained untouched and undeveloped. Thousands of Cambodians left the country before and during the Khmer Rouge holocaust by walking over the Cardamoms into refugee camps in Thailand. Today, the Cardamom Mountains region is the largest wilderness in mainland Southeast Asia, preserving a remarkable number of species that are endangered (and in some cases extinct) elsewhere in the world. However, without proper conservation and protection, this area and its inhabitants are now at the mercy of logging interests, as well as poachers.
Densely covered with lush virgin rainforest and rising to it's highest point at over 1,770m, the Cardamoms extend over an area of 4,420,000 hectares (10,922,060 acres) covering a large portion of South Western Cambodia. The Cardamoms are considered to represent Southeast Asia's greatest natural resources in terms of virgin forest and wildlife habitats that have never been fully explored and/or catalogued. In 2000, Fauna and Flora International, Conservation International, and the Cambodian Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Protection Programme conducted a joint survey that covered only a small part of the vast expanse of unexplored land. Despite the minimal area under observation the survey identified 30 large mammal species, 30 small mammal species, more than 450 birds, 64 reptiles, 30 amphibians, and many other plants and insects. To name just a few of the animals indigenous to this area would include elephants, tigers, clouded leopards and a variety of other mammals such as the Malaysian sun bear, pleated gibbons, and Siamese crocodiles all of which are high on the endangered species list and the only significant population thought to exist anywhere.
Fauna & Flora International was the first to conduct extensive field surveys in the Cardamom Mountains of south-west Cambodia. These established the area as one of the last forest wilderness areas in mainland south-east Asia. Isolated by their remoteness and rugged terrain and forgotten during years of conflict in Cambodia, the Cardamoms have at their core a virtually undisturbed forest covering over 10,000 square kilometres. The Cardamom Mountain Wildlife Sanctuaries Project, a joint venture of Fauna & Flora International and Cambodia's Ministry of Environment, aims to ensure the long-term conservation of a landscape of global importance and its biodiversity while reducing poverty and ensuring essential national development. The focus is to establish and maintain management systems in two protected areas in south-west Cambodia: Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary and Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary. The Cardamom Mountains are now known to contain almost all the country's known mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. This is partly due to the very high diversity of habitats, some of which occur nowhere else in Cambodia, such as large expanses of fire-regulated ferns, upper montane forest, high elevation marshes and black water rivers.
It is visited by both locals and foreign tourists. The scenic beauty of the Leach Village, Pursat matched with the rich rustic tradition has made it a very popular tourist spot. Travelers also undertake excursion trips to the Leach Village in Pursat. Travelers and nature lovers from all over the world visit the place to have a feel of the pastoral atmosphere. The Leach Village, Pursat is also easily accessible. It is around 27 kms from the main town center of Pursat.
Leach Village is also a well known center of sandalwood production in the Country. The nearby forests close to the Cardamom Mountains are home to sandal trees which serve the wood for the industries. The sandalwood is used for perfumes. Travelers can visit the local sandalwood firms and have an experience of the local production techniques. Travelers can also experience the local houses which are wonderfully designed. Various travel agencies organize trips to the Leach Village, Pursat. The trips are mostly done in shuttle buses or cars. The route is very charming and enjoyable. Useful information about the trip can be obtained from the travel tips and the tourist office.
O'Da 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 waits for collect. 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, it's 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 Highway 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.
Phnom Baykhlor Resort
Pnhom Baykhlor Resorts is the natural and cultural resort. It is located at Thnaut Chum village, Thnaut Chum commune, Kro Kor District in 20-Kilometer distance from the provincial town of Pursat by the National Road No. 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.
It is a nice place to spend a day while you are out on Pursat tours. The natural beauty of the place and the exotic surroundings are sure to allure you. The beautiful scenery and the wide range of features make Phnom Baykhlor Resort, Pursat a delightful spot and also a place worth visiting. Phnom Baykhlor Resort, Pursat is one of the major tourist attractions in Pursat that attract the visitors with its scenic beauty and exquisiteness. There are a few resorts and fascinating places to visit while out on sightseeing in Pursat and among them Phnom Baykhlor Resort is one of the lovely places.
Phnom Baykhlor Resorts is visited by many vacationers seeking complete relaxation and also family units for spending a fun filled and a pleasurable day. It appeals to all sections of the society- small and big, young and the old. Well known for its beautiful scenery, Phnom Baykhlor Resort, Pursat is a favorite with the tourists who could also capture some of the most amazing pictures. The resort also consists of broken ancient statues and there are interesting sculptures also that can be found here. The diverse landscapes and the beauty of the mountains and forests surrounding it further add a charm to Phnom Baykhlor Resort, Pursat.
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, it's 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.
Chrak La Eang waterfall:
Chrak La Eang waterfall is a sight of natural beauty, with views of the waterfall and forests. Visitors can swim or slide down the cascading river or relax in the calmer 2km stretch of stream. To get there, head for Chheu Tom commune, Krakor district, and 73km southeast of Pursat town and about 41km from Krakor market. It takes approximately 2 hours on a motorbike and 1 ½ hours driving in a pick-up from Pursat. A Mototaxi should cost approximately USD $13-18 for a return trip and price is negotiable.
Kam Pheng How to go: Location: Description: Locates at Pro Ngil village, Pro Ngil commune, Kra Vanh District in 20 -Kilometer distance from the provincial Town.
Phnom Dak Preah
Phnom Dak Preah How to go: Location: Description: Locates at Ro Leap village, Ro Leap commune, Pur Sat District in 10-Kilometer distance from the provincial Town.
Preah Theat How to go: Location: Description: Located at Sre Sdok village, Sre Sdok commune, Kan Dieng District, 20-kilometer distance from the provincial Town.s
River Bank Park
River Bank Park lies along the Pursat river, just north of the concrete bridge on the west side of the town. Originally it was constructed in Sangkum Reas Niyum period, before being destroyed by Pol Pot. Later, the Park has been rebuilt following the instigation and guidance of Mr. H.E. Ung Samy, the Governor of Pursat province. The Park is called 14 Makara (14 January), and marks the day of liberation from Pol Pot’s regime in 1979.
Pursat New Market
Pursat New Market stands along the Pursat riverbank on the west side of the town, about 700m north of the concrete bridge. The market sells everything from agriculture products to electrical goods and jewelry. The fruit stalls are particularly well stocked with an array of fruits, especially the famous local oranges (Kroch Po Sat).
Pursat province is the only region where marble is found and therefore Pursat is very famous throughout the country for its marble products. Skillful craftsmen can be seen at work sculpting huge Buddhas or beautiful statues. There are over 160 carving workshops in most districts, except the mountainous Veal Veng district. Most workshops are small private enterprises, although the odd one employs up to 13 craftsmen. Many workshops and shops in Pursat sell examples of the magnificent marble handiwork, which can make stylish souvenirs.
Marble & Wood Carves
Another interesting craft place to visit is Bunrany Hun Sen, a vocational craft training centre. It is the ideal place to see and chat with local people, learning time-honored traditional craft such as weaving silk scarves, grass mats, sewing beautiful bags and purses or learning the trade of a sculpture. The centre is located next to Pursat High School on the north side of Pursat, along street No9.
Phnom Lang Trach
Phnom Lang Trach is a beautiful mountain region, lying along road No 55, with tall gallery forests and large natural boulders. The site is 49km southeast of Pursat town or, 17km south of Krakor market, situated in Svay Sor commune. Krakor district is to be found in the same direction to Chrak La Eang and takes only one hour to get there by road, either by motorbike and pick-up. A mototaxi charged about USD $8 for a return trip from Pursat and charges about USD $5 both ways from Krakor. Remember to agree the price before you leave.
For a beautiful year-round river, visit L´Bak Kamronh, about 53km south-west of Pursat town. It is situated in Ang Krong village, Samrong commune, Phnom Kravanh district. Cascading water flows over the many rising boulders during the whole dry season. It takes 1 hour driving in a pick-up and 1 ½ hours driving a motorbike. A mototaxi costs $8 for both ways.
Phnom Lok is a famous mountain site where a Buddhist once monk lived on retreat and in solitude for most of his life. It is opposite L´Bac Kamronh, next to National road No. 56 on the right side (from east to west). The mountain was named, by local people, after the monk (Lok) and now known as Phnom Lok (Monk Mountain) forever.
Wat Sbov Reach
Wat Sbov Reach is a Buddhist temple which has been restored to its former glory and is located in Sbov Reach village, Leach commune, Kravanh district. The original Wat was built at least 400 years ago.
Veal Veng is located in southwestern Pursat province and 125km from Pursat town. Three guesthouses have recently sprung up in Pramoy, providing affordable accommodation (USD $7 per night). Several restaurants cater with local food; however, take your phrase book, as English is not widely spoken and menus are in Khmer.
For those wanting to step off the beaten track, Veal Veng offers an opportunity to visit a destination. For a rural jungle experience, plan to spend 3-7 days exploring the area, maybe climbing the second tallest mountain in Cambodia, Phnom Samkos (1,717m) or maybe Phnom Tumpor. Local guides can be hired at USD $7 per day and a good guide may even be able to show you signs of elephants, sun bears and even tigers (although bear in mind this is very rare). The best time to visit is between November to February, as leeches are very common in the rainy season!)
The town of Pramoy, Veal Veng was one of the last outposts of the Khmer Rouge, and is now growing quite rapidly due to successful landmine clearing. A high percentage of people have migrated from other districts but some ethnic people still remain – the Por, although most can be found in the O’Som commune.
It takes about 3 hours to reach Veal Veng and several shared taxis leave Pursat each day from local taxi station, eastern old market. To secure enough space inside, its worth paying a little extra for two seats USD $5 one way trip.
Koh Thas, Private site
Koh Thas is a new island resort created in early 2009, located in Bak Chinchien Commune in Kravanh District. To visit Koh Thas from Pursat, you must travel five minutes west along National Road 5 heading towards Battambang until you see a large white entrance gate for Oknha Klang Meung historical shrine on the hand side of the road 56 to Veal Veng District. Take a left here and travel through the gate. After one and a half kilometers you will see the historical shrine. Continue following the red dirt road five kilometers until the road ends and you must turn right or left. Here you should turn right and follow this road for eight kilometers until you see the Koh Thas sign. At the sign, turn left and go one kilometer until you see the island. The trip should take no more than forty minutes. A moto ride is six dollars round trip and a Motoreumork ride should be around 15 dollars round trip depending on the numbers of passengers.
In the past the island was known by locals as O’rumchong Island. The original name derives from the saying “On Rong Cham” means “I wait for you.” This name comes from a local folklore love story about a girl who waits for a boy she loves so long that she returns to stone. More recently the island’s name has changed to Koh Thas because the island is flat and shaped like a tray for serving food. In Khmer culture, food is often served on a tray during formal occasions to show respect to elders.
To access the island you must cross a narrow suspension bridge that hangs above the Pursat River. One on the island, there are many small huts with straw roofs where you can relax and eat a variety of traditional Khmer food, if it is a hot day you can swim or rent a pedal boat shaped like a duck or a swan. If you’re on the adventurous side, you can strap yourself into a harness and glide along a cable cord that hangs above the Pursat River. Overall Koh Thas is a wonderful place to relax and take in Khmer culture.