Pursat Province


Sompove Meas Island

Map of Cambodia highlighting Pursat
Coordinates: 12°32′N 103°55′E / 12.533°N 103.917°E / 12.533; 103.917Coordinates: 12°32′N 103°55′E / 12.533°N 103.917°E / 12.533; 103.917
Country  Cambodia
Provincial status 1907
Capital Pursat
  Total 12,692 km2 (4,900 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 4th
Population (2008)[1]
  Total 397,107
  Rank Ranked 15th
  Density 31/km2 (81/sq mi)
  Density rank Ranked 18th
Time zone UTC+07
Dialing code +855
ISO 3166 code KH-15
Districts 6

Pursat (Khmer: ខេត្តពោធិ៍សាត់, IPA: [poː sat]; "Drifting Bodhi") is a province (khaet) of Cambodia. It is located in the western part of the country and borders clockwise from the north with Battambang Province, the Tonlé Sap, Kampong Chhnang Province, Kampong Speu Province, Koh Kong Province, and Thailand. It is located between the Tonle Sap and the northern end of the Cardamom Mountains. The Pursat River bisects the province, running from the Cardamoms in the west to the Tonle Sap in the east.

The fourth largest province of Cambodia in area, Pursat ranks only 14th in population. The region is accessible by National Highway 5, by boat, rail and by numerous smaller roads. The capital, Pursat town, lies 174 kilometres north west of Phnom Penh by road and 106 kilometres south east of Battambang.[2]

Pursat is home to Wat Bakan, considered to be among the oldest active pagodas in Cambodia and revered as one of the most holy sites of Cambodian Buddhism.[3] The province also hosts the annual River Run Race, an event that includes 5 km and 10 km races that generally follow the path of the Pursat River for men and women, including those requiring wheelchairs. Since its inaugural race in 2007, the event has grown to the second largest of its kind in Cambodia[4]


The physical geography of Pursat encompasses many bioregions ranging from densely forested mountains to fertile plains to the Tonle Sap basin. Forests cover approximately 58% of the Pursat.[5] The mountains of the Cardamom range rise high in the west and southwest of the province along the border with Thailand and the coast. The land slopes toward the northeast, opening up into the fertile plains that continue into Battambang and from which much of Cambodia's rice crop is harvested. The Pursat River follows this orientation and drains into the Tonle Sap which forms Pursat's eastern boundary. Pursat is one of the nine provinces that are part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.[6]


Due to the geography and climate of Pursat, Aquilaria thrives in the forest. Aquilaria species, specifically Aquilaria crassna, infected with the parasitic mold Phaeoacremonium parasitica are the source of Agarwood. There was an abundance in wild Agarwood during the early centuries. Due to its distinct fragrance, many trees were sought after and felled for gift offerings to the royal family and officials.

It is also known that the agarwood harvested from Pursat were the most valuable and highly in demand. In the early 1970s, Ouhd Cambodi was the most sort after ouhd oil in the market because of the element it has of something people may translate as psychoactive, or something that affects their minds, their spirits, their emotions.[7]

The depletion of wild trees from indiscriminate cutting for agarwood has resulted in the trees being listed and protected as an endangered species. Projects are being implemented to infect cultivated Aquilaria trees artificially, to produce agarwood in a sustainable manner.[8]

In 2015, Lieutenant General Ouk Kosa from Cambodia's Ministry of National Defense signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Singaporean company,[9] giving the company access to 6 million mature Aquilaria trees, which they will inoculate to produce agarwood.[10]

Administrative divisions

The province is subdivided into six districts.

See also


  1. "General Population Census of Cambodia 2008 - Provisional population totals" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning. 3 September 2008.
  2. Total Road Atlas of Cambodia, Third Edition, Phnom Penh, 2006
  3. History of Bakan Pagoda, Kambuja Soriya Magazine, Volume 2, 2003, Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh
  4. HS Manjunath (20 October 2011). "Pursat set for its fifth River run race". Phnom Penh Post. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  5. O Kunka. 2005. Participation in natural forest resource management in Pursat province, Cambodia
  6. Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Environmental Information Database
  7. Pengly, Horng. "A scent more precious than gold". Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  8. Broad, S. (1995) "Agarwood harvesting in Vietnam" TRAFFIC Bulletin 15:96
  9. "Memorandum of Understanding Signing (MOU) : A Historic Achievement for One Plantation and Cambodia". oneplantation.asia. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  10. "Soldiers, Singaporean Firm to Plant 6 Million Trees - The Cambodia Daily". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
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