The province of Pailin is located in Western Cambodia on the northern edge of the Cardamom Mountains. It is about 25 km from the Thailand border. This region is almost completely surrounded by Battambang. It has several local natural attractions for the traveller looking to explore Pailin including its capital city of Pailin City, a colourful hilltop temple, the lush bamboo forests, waterfalls and scenic mountains.
Pailin is well-known for the now mostly exhausted gem mines, the many landmines still in existence, and once home for Khmer Rouge pensioners.
It is advised to use the services of a local guide on the Cambodia Package Tours if planning to explore the forested Cardamom foothills that surround the city because of the risk of walking into a minefield.
Cambodia is able to greatly benefit from its warm and humid tropical climate, making it a great destination for travellers to visit and explore at any time of the year. The cool season, which is the best time to visit on the Cambodia travel packages is from November to March with a temperature range of 22°C to 28°C, the hot season runs from March to May with a temperature range of 27°C to 34°C, and the rainy season runs from March to May with temperatures in the region of 27°C to 34°C. The rainy season should be avoided by those travellers that plan to tour the countryside by road because most can be difficult to pass at this time of the year. The warmest month of the year is April which is best avoided by the traveller that prefers to avoid the intense heat.
Pailin is one of the smallest provinces in Cambodia with a total size of 803 km². It is located in the west of Cambodia and mostly surrounded by the province of Battambang, although it does have a border to the west with Thailand. In the west of this town, the landscape is mostly used for agricultural plantations and rice fields.
Most of the city is nestled in the Chuor Phnom Kravanh local area which is a part of the Kardamom Mountain range. In the South of this region there are plenty of small rivers that come from the mountain range.
How to get there
The easiest route to use to reach Pailin is via Battambang (83 km) or alternatively for those travelling on the tour packages, the border crossing from Thailand is a relatively short distance (19 km). A minibus or share taxi ride from Battambang is completed on major road 57, but not all parts of this road are in good condition which can make for a pretty hard journey. This road is best travelled using the share taxi, minibus or pick up due to the road condition.
The road to Pailin can be quite scenic with several interesting places to stop and see en route. One of the places to stop is the mountaintop Temple, Phnom Sampeu that is about 15 km from Battambang. This is a memorial site and place of respect to the Khmer Rouge victims. The ride to Pailin in a light vehicle such as a minibus or a share taxi can cost in the region of $4.50.
Alternative routes to Pailin include travelling from Koh Kong that makes it possible to pass the scenic Cardamom Mountains and get a great a view untouched and pristine areas of South East Asia.
The Cambodia/Thailand border crossing route to reach Pailin town is only 19 km away. This is a full-service type of international crossing that can issue the business and tourist visa. The best travel option is to use a share taxi or moto. If you need to stock up on supplies before starting the journey there is a local market that sells virtually everything you need.
Where to stay
In recent times the places to stay in Pailin have seen a dramatic change with a variety of well-kept and amenity rich guesthouses and hotels to relax for the night on the well-planned Cambodia Package Holiday.
The Hang Meas Hotel is located west from the town centre and at one of the preferred choices to stay for the tourist. The rooms are well fitted out and include a hot water shower and satellite TV. Plus, this hotel offers 24-hour power, which isn't seen in all hotels and guesthouses in the local area. The basic rooms start at $11 per night and the more fitted out rooms can go as high as $50 per night. Other great features of this restaurant include the attached restaurant and nightclub.
A stay at the Kim Young Heng Guesthouse is the more basic accommodation with prices in a region of $5 per night. Most of the rooms are light and well-kept with air-con or a fan - but the bathrooms are quite small with no windows.
The Hotel Sang Phi Run is a pleasant second-floor terrace that gives great views of the local town and mountains to the West. But, many of the rooms are windowless, which means it can get quite stuffy and dark, while the power can also be turned off late at night. The rooms include a mosquito net, with prices in the region of $8.50.
Other options include the Pailin Ruby Guest House, which is centrally located with 48 spacious and clean rooms with an extra charge for air-con.
Eat and drink
Beyond the restaurants throughout town, there are plenty of rice and soup shops along the main streets and near the market that offer cheap, yet decent food.
The Phkay Proek Restaurant is easily found near the end of Ridge Street and serves Thai and Khmer dishes of a very good standard. This restaurant has branches in several other areas, including Poipet, Sisophon and Battambang.
A visit to the Hang Meas Hotel & Restaurant on the Indochina tour package is a great stop for the hungry traveller that is looking for a varied menu. This restaurant serves Khmer, Thai and Chinese, as well as a few western food choices.
The Kim Young Guest House is relatively close to the market and offers a delicious section of Khmer food. This restaurant also offers an English-based menu.
For the more informal eating establishment, the Leang Sreng Restaurant is great for those that want to try the steaming bowl of pho-style Vietnamese noodle soup. The meals cost in the region of $1-$3.
Similar to many of the small cities throughout Cambodia, there is usually a busy and active market to be found in the local area. Most of the shops are also locally-based near the market and offer a wide range of consumer products, such as gifts, souvenirs and food (meats, vegetables, fruits and fish). A great idea for a souvenir is to buy some of the small gems in a gem store, but be cautious of where you buy because there is a market for fakes.
Things to see and do
Bah Hoi Village
For the tourist wishing to get a full appreciation of rural Cambodia it is certain to appeal to travel to the Bah Hoi village. This village has plenty of people from different parts of Cambodia and was once under the control of the Khmer rouge. A visit to this village feels much like a homestay with its pleasant and welcoming people that are more than willing to chat. This is a great tour for those travellers interested in getting to know the local culture and gives a unique place to visit on the Cambodia travel packages.
The cultural and historical site of Phnom Yat is located within Pailin province. This is a religious place where many people come to worship. This site was built in a mountain that is nearly 60 m high and covers a total area of 30,000 m². To reach the top of the mountain it is possible to travel by vehicle or on foot. For the adventurous travellers that plan to climb to the top, it is necessary to walk up a staircase of 242 steps. Phnom Yat includes plenty of ancient buildings such as small and large Asroms and stupas. Plus, there are many small cottages or kiosks for the tourist to relax on the mountaintop.
A visit to the popular tourist site of Kbal Ochra is within relatively easy reach of the provincial town with a travel distance of only 5 km. By exploring this site on the Cambodia adventure tours you get to see a variety of attractions, such as the natural beauty of the wildlife preserve and enjoy adventurous outdoor activities that are certain to take the visitors breathe away. One of the major attractions on the site is the option to buy gemstones. For the traveller that wishes to learn about the gemstone market, this is certain to be a place worth visiting. Also, there is an eco-tourism resort in the local area with the chance to stay in a beautiful bungalow that is rich in features like a conference room, bar area, restaurant and swimming pool.
Ceasar Casino in Pailin City is a quite popular casino that is visited by thousands of tourists on an annual basis. A visit to this part of Pailin gives the option to get a completely different atmosphere in this part of the country. It is a great place to visit not only for the casino, but is also a nice destination for spending plenty of time relaxing, as well as having some nice time in one of the small pubs. Ceasar Casino gives plenty of opportunity to play a variety of games and perfect for those like to try out their casino skills.
Phnom Keuy Resort
The Phnom Keuy Resort (also called the Blue Mountain Waterfalls) is one of the most popular natural attractions in the local region. This resort is great for those that are looking for a trekking adventure and plan to visit the mountain waterfall. This gives a perfect opportunity to admire the local scenery that includes lovely valleys and mountains. The climb up the mountain is relatively easy with a gradual climb. On arriving at the waterfalls you get to see serene surroundings and crystal clear water.
One of the great tourist attractions in the local area is Pailin Waterfall which it best visited in the wet season when the water is fully flowing and gives the most impressive views. This is a great place to trek and explore with a very relaxing atmosphere and stunning scenery. It is relatively easy to reach by car with a nearby car park and a few small stalls to stock up on last minute supplies. A trip to this waterfall is perfect for a family picnic. The different tiers of the fall give something completely different in relation to its look and character. Plus, there is the option to go for a swim in certain areas.
The Goh ay Mountain is well worth checking out and gives a similar soothing and calm atmosphere to the waterfall. It is a great place to include in the Cambodia tour package and makes for a very adventurous time with plenty to do and see. For the more adventurous travellers that want to explore the local area, it is best to visit in the dry season when it is a lot easier to trek through the local area. Once the traveller has been able to reach the local river at the foot of the mountain this can offer a perfect place for swimming. Because of the out of the way location of the mountain it may benefit to hire a guide to avoid issues with getting lost.