Prey Veng is quite a sleepy Cambodian province, that just happen to have one of the countries busiest highways running straight through it-National Highway No 1, which links Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It is a small but heavily populated agricultural region located on the east banks of the mighty Mekong. The name of the province means literally tall forest, but actually doesn’t refer in any case to lush forests as most of them were chopped down in the past 30-50 years. Also rubber played once a big economical role in this province, but since the war took over the country the plantations are no longer commercially viable.
There are little places of significance to see nowadays, but during the pre-Angkorian times it must have been one of the most populated and lively areas of the country. One of the earliest pre-Angkorian kingdoms was located in the area around Ba Phnom.
The sleepy provincial capital is also named Prey Veng and situates on the National Highway No 11, recently rebuild as a road link between National Road No 11 and No 7, or Neak Luong and Kompong Cham. There aren’t a lot of travellers making their way to that small town. So if you would like to escape from your fellow travellers that’s an opportunity, especially on the way to Kampong Cham. It’s also a stop worth on the way to or from Vietnam. The town itself hosts a few decaying colonial buildings, showing that this was once a lively and important centre. There is a huge lake on the west edge of the town, which evaporates from March till August and local farmers cultivate their rice on the fertile ground.
Prey Veng province is 4,883 square kilometres big. It’s located in the South of the country and is bordering to the North with Kampong Cham, to the West with Kandal, to the East with Svay Rieng and to the South with Vietnam. The province consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations (rubber plantations in former times). The province also features two of the biggest rivers of the country the Tonle Bassac and the mighty Mekong.
The current population in this province is 1,063,494 person or 7.64% of the total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data) with a growth rate of 2.40%, which consists of 502,671 person or 47.18% who are male and 560,823 person or 52.82% who are female. The above number also consists of 825,818 persons or 80.54% who are farmers, 140,685 persons or 13.72% who are fishermen, 44,561 persons or 4,35% who are traders and 14,267 persons or 1.39% who are government?s officers. The population density is 217.8 people per square kilometre.
The country has a tropical climate – warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
– Cool season: November- March (24-32c)
– Hot season: March- May (28c -36c)
– Rainy season: May – October (24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.)
Prey Veng’s economy consists basically of agricultural farming, fishery, rice and fruit cropping and some garment factories producing for international markets. Especially the rural households depend on agriculture and its related sub-sectors.
Prey Veng is with 90km distance to Phnom Penh not far away (to the east). Kampong Cham is even closer with 78km to the North. Due to the former, bad condition of NH No 11 the place used to seem a world away. For good the government comprehensively overhauled the road in 2003 and now the city of Prey Veng is easily to enter.
There is lot’s of minibuses going almost everytime of the day from Phnom Penh to Prey Veng (6000Riel). Most of them leave near the central market (Southwest corner), where you can also find lots of usual buses heading to Vietnam or Svay Rieng Province (they have to pass Prey Veng). Going with a share taxi won’t cost you so much time to reach, but a little more money (8000-10000Riel, 2 hours). If you would like to go to Kampong Cham, there are also minibuses leaving from the centre of Prey Veng city for a 1 1/2 hour ride costing 4000-6000Riels.
You can book a Private Taxi online in advance for a few dollars more.
The wonderful newly overhauled road is a mixed blessing for motorbikers as it gets a lot faster to Prey Veng, but less interesting and enjoying than the crappy, bumpier roads of old.
The same family of the nearby Mittapheap Hotel owns this restaurant. The manager of this place is always concerned about their guests and therefore ensures fast service. So this place shows up as a friendly, sometimes funny restaurant offering Khmer, Vietnamese and Chinese food.
They make the most of their parkway location by having a small sidewalk eating area. It?s a pleasant enough early evening spot as the locals ride by on their evening motorcycle pleasure cruise. They have good food (Western and Khmer), and an English menu to go along with English-speaking staff.
Located across the parkway from the Arunreas, this place is easy to spot, as it always seems to have Coca Cola and Player umbrellas set up. The food is tasty, but is prepared to try your hand at Khmer as they don?t speak English and there isn?t an English menu. The staffs is very friendly and though.
Good Khmer and Chinese food with an English menu and beer girls, to boot.
At the time of our trip, the hotel was talking about expanding its restaurant. It was talking about expanding its restaurant. It was only serving a soup breakfast and catering to wedding parties at the time.
Along the parkway and near the market are some dirt cheap, simple Khmer food stands.
As it is quite common in Cambodia even smaller cities, such as Prey Veng have at least one bigger market. You may also find a market in Prey Veng centre, which is a very busy area with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and packed products. The market is bustling Cambodian affair with loads of goods from nearby Vietnam. Most of the food and drink shops are surrounding the market.
You may also find some Mini-Marts with Western Foods. This doublewide mini-mart has a number of Western foods to satisfy your craving. The other side is filled with cases of all brands of beer available in Cambodia- enough to quench even the driest whistle.