Pailin is the former stronghold and headquarters of the Khmer Rouge. It is the area where the group mined their gems, thus making them, at the time, one of the world’s richest terrorist organization.

Now one of the country’s gambling capitals, the many casinos located on the Thai border are interesting for reasons other than loosing your shirt — some of the best food in town. It has been described by Nick Ray of the Lonely Planet as lacking “any real attractions unless you know something about gem stones or like hanging out with geriatrics responsible for mass murder.”

Only really of interest to tours as the stepping off point for trips into Koh Kong, by far the most difficult of the provinces to traverse.

Points Onward & Riding Conditions

Around Pailin: (Novice)

The roads around town are all well paved.

Battambang: (Novice)

The route to Battambang is easy and paved, but watch out for the bridges, they have a habit of being missing.

Koh Kong: (Expert and some)

There may be a road on the map, and when the locals see you on big enduro bikes they may say you can make it (because they think you are totally unstoppable), but both are wrong.

Loose it out here and you’re in a world of hurt, a long way from help. River crossings with no bridges, ox-cart tracks that just stop, bandits, malaria and a distinct lack of habitation, which means no local help. Known to have kicked the ass of the most Cambodia-savvy experienced dirt bike riders.