Pursat is the capital of western Cambodia's Pursat Province. It is indistinguishable from Cambodia's other small provincial capitals. This sleepy town holds marginal interest, though may be used a base for visits to the Tonle Sap Lake or Cardamon Mountains.
Fully paved Hwy 5 runs northwest from Phnom Penh via Pursat to the county's second largest city, Battambang. All buses between Battambang (US$2.50 from Pursat) and Phnom Penh (US$5 from Pursat) will stop here. Buses run every half-hour in the morning and early afternoon. Buses take 4 hr to Phnom Penh and 1.5 hr to Battambang. All the major bus companies service Phnom Penh. Sorya and Capitol Tour are the most reliable big names. Capitol Tour runs the latest afternoon departure from Phnom Penh at 14:00, and sometimes 15:00.
Central Pursat is easily covered on foot. Motodops hang around the market, bus stations, train station, and sometimes along the highway. A ride anywhere in town should cost around 1,000 riel. A day trip to Kampong Luang or elsewhere can be negotiated for US$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.
Walking the town is the best way to know it. Children will scream "hello" at any passing tourist. Locals may invite you for some food or karaoke. As in Battambang, there is a "bamboo train".
Common to any society that has emerged from food shortages, provincial Cambodia lacks a culture that reveres cuisine and instead favours sustenance. In short, don't expect more than a cheap meal of rice and some gristly meat. Stalls and cafes around town offer similar nondescript human fuel.
- Phnom Pech Hotel, Road 1, Pursat, Cambodia (About 200 m north of the main bridge on the west bank of the river), ☎ +855 52 951515. Rooms usually equipped with Western bath, cable TV, and fan or air-con depending on the price. There is an attached restaurant serving decent food. US$6-15.
- Pursat offers access to the Cardamom Mountains, giving it potential for eco-tourism.
- 28 km away lie the floating villages of Kampong Luang on the Tonle Sap Lake, a popular day trip.
|Routes through Pursat|
|Poipet ← Moung Ruessei ←||NW SE||→ Phnom Penh|