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Pursat

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Pursat is a small town in western Cambodia, and is the capital of the province of the same name. The town itself isn't much of an attraction, nor does it contain anything that will distinguish it from the other small provincial capitals in this country. One great thing it does offer, however, is fantastic access to the Cardamom Mountains, giving it a healthy potential for eco-tourism. The floating villages of Kampong Luang on the great lake Tonle Sap are a poplular day trip about 28km from Pursat town. On the whole, this is a sleepy town with marginal interest for the non-Khmer speaking traveller. Bread and pastries are terrible and the general prices for food and accommodation are higher than in the more touristed Battambang. Not worth the transit.

Get in

Overland

  • Running through the province is National Highway 5 that runs between the national capital of Phnom Penh towards the southeast, and the second largest city in the country, Battambang towards the northwest. This is one of the better roads in the country. Bus transport costs $2.50 USD from/to Battambang, and $5 USD from/to Phnom Penh. One bus every half-hour in the morning and early afternoon (almost all buses are through Phnom Penh-Battambang services). Travel time is roughly 4 hours from Phnom Penh and 1.5 hours from Battambang. All the major bus companies service Phnom Penh. Sorya and Capitol Tour seem the most reliable. Capitol Tour also has the lastest afternoon departure from Phnom Penh, at 2:00pm (and sometimes 3:00pm also).
  • Rail travel to Pursat is an option, as the trains that go between Phnom Penh and Battambang stop here. As of 2008, there is only one train a week in each direction. The train leaves early Saturday morning from Phnom Penh bound for Battambang, arriving in Pursat mid-afternoon, and then commences the return trip early Sunday morning. The ride is scenic, but agonizingly slow; a worthwhile experience if you can bear it!

Get around

Central Pursat town is easily manageable by foot. Motodops hang around the market, bus stations, train station, and sometimes along the highway. A trip to the train station or 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.

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