On the west of Cambodia lies the small municipality called Pailin, almost touching Thailand. Pailin city aka the provincial capital, is known around the world as the place of origin of the Khmer Rouge leaders; it is also the place where the Khmer Rouge leaders after their defeat. People visiting Cambodia and Thailand must travel to Pailin – the following will tell you about the tourism, attractions, gems, beautiful history, culture, transportation, food and cuisine, architecture, and even resort and hotels of Pailin all of which make it an ideal family destination for western visitors:
History of Pailin
The Khmer Rouge association with the city comes from the 1980s and 1990s when it was a resource center and stronghold for KR leaders. Even when Pol Pot died in 1998, some leaders still remained; others went into hiding because of the punishment that awaited them for the crimes they had committed. Among the older men in the area, almost 70% had worked for the leaders, but many regular fighters have not yet been brought to justice.
In 2007, the remaining leaders and fighters like Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan faced justice in front of an international tribunal. Despite the bloody history of Pailin being the center of attention recently, the area has so many interesting and beautiful things to do and explore.
Attractions in Pailin
The major tourist attractions include Bah Hoi Village which attracts a lot of tourism every year because of its rich history and a chance to see Pailin’s culture first hand. Casino Area and border crossing is another must visit spot! There you can visit Flamingo Casino and karaoke bars, get to the Thailand border all while witnessing the glorious Oh-chah-rah River – which western visitors love. For a bit of natural beauty, you can visit Goh-Ay Mountain which has a river ideal for swimming, provided you don’t visit during the dry season. In the event tat you do visit in the dry season, there are plenty of wonderful river trails to walk around.
There are also many hotels in these areas, if you want to spend the night. You can also try staying at Phnom Koy Resort or O’Eb Resort which are almost as famous as Pailin itself. Also, don’t forget to visit the nature and wildlife preserve at Kbal O’Chra. The Blue Mountain Waterfall or Phnom Kiev Waterfall is a place for adventure tourists with astounding natural beauty and magnificent rainforests. Pailin in general looks a lot like a rural town in California, but with the exotic natural wonders found only in this part of the world.
Architecture in Pailin
If you are interested in architecture, then you must visit Wat Phnom Yat when you travel to Pailin where you will see a pagoda reminiscent of the Kola pagoda. Myanmar’s Shan migrants built this pagoda in 1922 and a lot of folktales and folklores surround the place. The Phnom Yat has a number of ancient and culturally rich structures like hermitages or Asroms which are places for meditating. Wat Rattanak Sophoan should be your next destination. It is another pagoda which can be found at the foot of Wat Phnom Yat. The churning of the milk ocean (Hindu saga) can be seen depicted on the walls of this pagoda.
Food and Cuisine
Because of the influence of Burmese culture in Pailin, it won’t be a surprise to find out that the food and cuisine also shows a similar trend. When you try the various foods Pailin has to offer, you will notice Burmese leanings everywhere. However, the food in Kola is slightly different. Kola people are Burma migrants who arrived in Pailin during 1876. You should definitely try Kolo Mee which is a vegetarian noodle delicacy consisting of rice noodles, garlic chive and soy sauce. A non-vegetarian version of this dish can be found which contains lobster or certain meats. Mon banana pudding is also a must-try apart from Tom yum which Pailin gets from Thailand.