Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Cambodia : Cardamom and Elephant Mountains : Pursat
Pursat is the capital of western Cambodia's Pursat province. The town is indistinguishable from Cambodia's other small provincial capitals. Though it does offer good access to the Cardamom Mountains, giving it potential for eco-tourism. 28km away lie the floating villages of Kampong Luang on the Tonle Sap Lake, a poplular day trip. This sleepy town has marginal interest for non-Khmer speakers, though may have appeal to those wanting to see Cambodia without tourists. Bread and pastries are terrible and food and accommodation are more expensice than in Battambang.
Fully paved National Highway 5 runs northwest from Phnom Penh via Pursat to the county's second largest city, Battambang. All buses between Battambang ($2.50 from Pursat) and Phnom Penh ($5 from Pursat) will stop here. Buses run every half-hour in the morning and early afternoon. Buses take 4 hours to Phnom Penh and 1.5 hours to Battambang. All the major bus companies service Phnom Penh. Sorya and Capitol Tour are the most reliable big names. Capitol Tour runs the lastest afternoon departure from Phnom Penh at 2:00pm, and sometimes 3:00pm.
Central Pursat is easily covered foot. Motodops hang around the market, bus stations, train station, and sometimes along the highway. A anywhere in town should cost around 1,000 riel. A day trip to Kampong Luang or elsewhere can be negotiated for $5 or more. The occasional tuk tuk can also be found. The Phnom Pech Hotel rents small motorbikes by the day and half-day.
Like all of Cambodia's former railway towns, Pursat hosts a charming French-built railway station that has decayed into a slum, which gives the area an interesting vibe. The railway is currently being restored, with services to resume in 2013.
Pursat is an excellent place to meet local khmer people. Walk around and there will be a lot of children saying "hello". If you are lucky and speak a bit with the people there is high possibility that they invite you for food or karaoke.
As in Battambang, there is a "bamboo train".
The Phnom Pech Hotel