Photo: Gem shopping in Pailin.

Things to see and do

Gem mining
Along the streams outside of Pailin city, locations vary

While, possibly, all the good ones are gone from Pailin, a handful of panhandlers still search among the riverbeds after each rainy season to see what gems the rains have deposited beneath. Stones from here used to be considered among the finest in the world, though the professional take is now that the source has more romantic connotations than being an actual indication of ... Read more about Gem mining .

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Green hills, thick with forests made lush by the humid environment and rich soils, a strong agricultural tradition, the delicious — if highly improbable — possibility that you might just trip over a priceless gem to take home from your travels, and a remoteness confirmed by the fascinated stares of the locals working the fields that you pass, all combine to add to the sense that Pailin is ... Read more about Trekking .

Wat Phnom Yat
On the hill at the southeast edge of Pailin City

Perched on a hill looking across the city and beyond, Wat Phnom Yat is a striking temple with an unusual design for Cambodia. Built by Burmese migrants who were drawn here by the early gem trade. Cambodian temples can often be startlingly graphic in describing what might befall moral strays -- and this is an excellent ... Read more about Wat Phnom Yat .

Trip to Samlot

Because we could, we took a morning excursion from Pailin to Samlot. Normally a tour would include a trip to a sunflower plantation and some more hill trekking, but we didn’t have time. What we saw though was lovely and of serious interest to travellers interested in food. Samlot is found 25 kilometres southeast (as the crow flies) of Pailin, and was one of the last places in Cambodia where the ... Read more about Trip to Samlot .

Otavao Waterfall
Around 9km south of Pailin town

If you’re going to spend the day in Pailin, Otavao Waterfall is the area’s top attraction. It’s an easy trek to the top with several different sets of stairs along the way that lead down to the falls. An unnamed restaurant is at the top and offers Khmer food and cold drinks. It’s a great place to rest as it overlooks the falls and offers marvellous views of the surrounding lush scenery. ... Read more about Otavao Waterfall .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Pailin? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.

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