The West of Cambodia

PURSAT

Global Mark : 11.38

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
4 4 1 3 5 1 2 11.43

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
3 100% 67% (2) 100% 10 to 14 11.33


Description : A small town (West) and an extended village (East) separated by a charming river

Comments : Officially a transit point only between the train and the pick-up between Battambang & Phnom Penh, the place proved charming & relaxed enough for a full section...

What to do ? Stay longer than expected / Walk the attractive banks of the river, upstream or downstream, on the east or the west side and forget it all ! / Say hello and smile back at the local who obviously haven't seen too many westerners recently / Play pool or tennis tables / Watch fishermen at work / 

What you may not like ? The dusty roads / The horny vehicles / The mosquitoes / The lack of "real" attraction / The very poor English around 

How long ? In theory, one afternoon would be enough...


Where to stay ?
At least two good comfortable places to stay, on the left before the bridge if coming from the train station (about 1.5km SE, R500 by motorbike) on National Rd No5, opposite a temple & a marble carving shop :

  • Orchidae Hotel (951408) / Rooms w. shower $5 / Go there for the charming rooms, the superb lobby well decorated and the English of the owner / Satellite TV in lobby / What you my not like : being next to the road
  • New Hotel Than Sour, next to the above / Rooms w. shower & satellite TV $5 / Go there for the nice & comfortable wooden rooms / What you may not like : getting a small room if the big ones are occupied & the little choice of programs on the satellite TV
  • Other places like Virmean Sourkea Hotel ($5) or Thmar Keo GH ($4), both on the way to the market, were far less attractive. 


Where to eat ? For snack or lunch, cross the bridge and turn left (north) : a food stall specializes in great Vietnamese pancakes (R300). On the main street, plenty of restaurants also caters for the pick-up's passengers coming from Battambang. Those are unfortunately not open for dinner. The market on the west side should also be a good place. For dinner, a few reasonably priced restaurants (R3000 a dish) can however be found nearby : on the main road east of the bridge or on the south-east river bank (better surroundings)


Leaving Pursat ? 

To Battambang, the free train should arrive at around 12:23 (yes, so precise !) and take 4.5 hours. Otherwise, pick-up leave when full for R10000 cabin or R5000 outside. Taxi should cost $3 if packed. The 105km ride on a bad road should take 3 hours. 

To Phnom Penh (185km, 4-5 hours), pick-up leave regularly in the morning for R10000 cabin or R5000 outside. Prices are the same if you stop in Kompong Chhnang (95km, 2.5 hours). Taxi should cost $3-4 if packed. 


The trip to Kompong Chhnang : SS / where you can / R5000 / 2.5 hrs / bed of a pick-up truck
I showed up at the station at 7:00. One pick -up had just left but another one was filling up fast. I trust the Guinness Book or Ripley's believe it or not should have been there. This is what we charged in the bed of the truck : one motorbike, one truck tire, two big bags of rice, another two of banana and 20 passengers with their luggage's !
Once everything & everyone in the crushing position, we left. It was 7:30. The road went from bad dust to excellent concrete, with every possible stage in between including a few dilapidated bridges. There was a relieving stop at 8:30 and a 15mn snack break at 9:30. 
Just after leaving again, I was offered some fruits by an old lady. Then she showed me some photos of her pretty daughter and asked casually if I would not like to marry her... I already had experienced a few fast proposals while touring Asia but this definitively set up a new record has I had not said anything beside complaining about the overloading...
Anyway, we arrived in Kompong Chhnang at 10:10, obviously too soon for the marriage ceremony to take place... 

See also the trip from Battambang