Welcome to Pailin!

Complete and Updated Pailin Tourist Map for Travellers:

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About Pailin:

Famous for its gemstone trade and the quality of the rubies and sapphire underground, its convenient location half way between Phnom Penh and Bangkok the favoured transit place to relax and shop, halfway in your trip. 

Pailin is not a mainstream tourist destination and travellers will enjoy the authenticity of the way of life while visiting the famous Phnom Yat temple, waterfalls, observe the mining activities in the river and maybe even test their luck in the Prum Casinos.  

The Pailin province was just created in 2008 and is regarded as one of the most relax  and laid back destinations in Cambodia.

Famous for its gemstone trade and the quality of the rubies and sapphire underground, its convenient location half way between Phnom Penh and Bangkok the favoured transit place to relax and shop, halfway in your trip.  

Pailin is not a mainstream tourist spot and travellers will enjoy the authenticity of the way of life while visiting the famous Phnom Yat temple, a few waterfalls, observe the mining activities in the river and maybe even test their luck in the Prum Casinos. 

A little bit if History:

The Pailin province was just created in 2008 when King Norodom Sihamoni signed the Royal Decree that turned the cities of Kep, Pailin and Sihanoukville into independent provinces.

Squeezed between the Khmer Empire and the Siamese (Thai) Kingdoms, Pailin changed hands countless times and was still in Thailand's hands until 1946 when it was returned to Cambodia. 

Pailin's original inhabitant's culture is slightly different from the rest of the Khmer culture.

Recent intensive migration have changed Pailin's cultural landscape but before the Khmer Roughe era Pailin's culture was very influenced by the Burmese. These influences were shown in the region's cuisine, traditional dresses, temple architecture, arts and festivals and could be compared to the culture in Chiang Mai in Thailand.

The original inhabitants of Pailin are the Kola (name used to nominate the Burmese, Kola or Pumea) who descend from migrants from Burma in the end of the 19th century.  Then after the 1st world war another Pailin received another wave of migrants, the Shan, also ethnic Burmese. The Kola who moved to Pailin were already experienced gemstones traders and moved from the Mogok region of Burma where a similar quality of ruby and sapphire as the one of Pailin can be found. 

Today the dominant language in Pailin is of course the Khmer but Shan and Kola dialects still can be heard in remote rural areas. 

The Pailin region was extremely rich in some of the best quality ruby and sapphire in the world and there is still a significant supply of gemstones but the largest veins or lodes were mined almost clean to support the Khmer Rouge, but also by large Thai mining corporations until the late 90's. 

But the Gemstone trade has never been better in Pailin, thanks to the large supply of lapidaries combined to the proximity of Chanthaburi in Thailand from where large quantities of gems are imported to be faceted and redistributed in Thailand, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and even Vietnam. Pailin is now the hub for the gems trade in Cambodia and even the famous zircon from Ratanakiri can be found at better prices than Ratanakiri itself. 

Extensive logging was also undertaken and the combination of these two heists by the Khmer Rouge left a unique landscape of depleted and opened up hills. Now all you can find is low-quality, cheap, hand-faceted gemstones at the market in downtown Pailin.

Today Pailin is very linked to Thailand, many of its inhabitants returned here from refugee camps in Thailand and many still comute there for higher paid jobs. Because of this most people in Pailin can speak Thai, except for the newer waves of migration, and every commerce will prefer to use Thai Baht and US Dollars before the national Riel currency.