From the relatively polished streets and towns of Thailand, we moved on to the decidedly less developed country of Cambodia.
We weren’t sure what to expect. We’d been told all kinds of stories about landmines and miles of dirt roads that left cyclists covered in a fine layer of bright red mud. We were also told to expect requests for bribes at the border.
Happily, none of these things turned out to be true. There weren’t as many paved roads as in Thailand, but the dirt road riding was not only manageable – it brought us into fascinating contact with local Cambodians in rural areas. Landmines turned out to be almost a non-issue (not that you’d know it from all the tourists sporting ‘Danger! Landmines!’ t-shirts. And the border crossings went exceptionally smoothly.
Our only complaint was the food. It wasn’t a patch on dear old Thailand. Rarely fresh, often unidentifiable, we turned more often than we’d like to admit to tourist restaurants, for hamburgers rather than local creations.
80km Sangkha to Anlong Veng We set off for Cambodia this morning, slightly concerned about the roads ahead but encouraged by the ever-smooth asphalt on the last part of our journey through Thailand. The last few kilometers went steeply uphill and not so long ago we would have been climbing, or more likely pushing, on
129km Anlong Veng to Siem Reap It’s been a long day on mostly dirt roads. We started out in the early morning hours from Anlong Veng and now we are covered in a fine layer of red dust, sweat and sunscreen, struggling to pull off the final few kilometers and wondering if a hotel will
Siem Reap is a more than a little like Disney World. In a country with so much poverty, here there’s a boom on. A guesthouse and a tuk tuk driver around every corner. More massage salons than you can shake a stick at. Swish art galleries. Restaurants serving all the world’s cuisines. It’s hardly surprising
322km Siem Reap to Phnom Penh Roast spider, anyone? At couple inches across, they weren’t small. Their little black bodies and furry legs had been nicely grilled. The perfect snack food to go along with a cold beer? Tastes like chicken, or so they say. At the risk of being oh so boring and disappointing,
165km Phnom Penh to Kampot One of our goals when we started this trip was learning how to slow down a bit and not be driven by schedules. Maybe we should have remembered that when we set off from Phnom Penh two days ago. Friedel wasn’t feeling entirely well – a small headache and a
105km Kampot to Sihanoukville It rained in the morning as we were packing our bags. It rained as we dashed to the supermarket to buy a fetching yellow rain poncho (really just a plastic garbage bag with head and arm holes). It rained as we crossed the bridge out of Kampot and past the first
95km Sihanoukville to Chamkar Luong “Don’t you want to take the bus?” The receptionist at the hotel couldn’t quite understand why we would want to go to Phnom Penh by bicycle. Neither could the customers at the small restaurant where we ate breakfast. “Where you go?” asked one woman in broken English when we rolled
139km Chamkar Luong to Phnom Penh Another day, another long haul on the bikes. We aren’t sure where we’re getting all our energy from lately but we seem to be able to put in the kilometers and still have enough get-up-and-go to walk around in the evenings. Maybe it’s all the flat terrain or maybe
236km Phnom Penh to Kratie Wednesday was one of those days. We woke up late, struggled to get our bags packed and after we rode away we realised that Friedel’s glasses were still at the hotel. When we remembered that our health insurance was about to expire it was the final straw. Cycling without good
228km Kratie to Don Det You’d think we’d be well trained by now after nearly two years on the road. We’ve been across our fair share of deserts and up high mountain peaks but the wilds of northern Cambodia still managed to give us a run for our money. Hot. Desolate. Almost no shade. One