The roads in Cambodia have come a long way in a few short years.
In less than a decade, the main routes have gone from being dusty and bumpy sandpits to smooth as a baby’s bottom. If you’re just pedalling between the main cities, you need never leave asphalt. Even the once difficult road from Anlong Veng to Siem Reap is being paved. Even the notorious road from Poipet at the Thai border to Siem Reap has been brought up to scratch.
That said, if you detour off the beaten track, you can still find a combination of unpaved, bumpy, dusty, muddy and potholed roads. They’re hard work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride them.
One of the best rides in Cambodia follows mostly unpaved tracks along the Mekong between Phnom Penh and Kratie. Just leave plenty of time and enjoy taking it slowly.
In general, when taking back roads always ask a few locals to check the road condition and make sure the road exists. It may be marked on a map but that doesn’t mean it’s actually there!
Some tracks can become impassable in the wet season. If there’s enough water for long enough, you can bet someone will run a ferry to take you and other traffic across but if it’s simply muddy and messy you may have to wade through the muck.
Maps of Cambodia are hard to find in the country, although we managed to pick one up in Siem Reap. It’s probably better to bring one along. You can also download some high-detail maps for free. If you’re just planning to ride the main roads you can probably get by without a map but if you want to get off onto dirt tracks then a map is handy.