Prime 5 greatest bike journeys in Cambodia

For skilled riders, Cambodia is without doubt one of the most rewarding off-road biking locations on the planet.

Many contemplate some distant roads in Cambodia to be among the many worst in Southeast Asia – which solely will increase their attract for die-hard biking fanatics. Actually, whereas there are unimaginable rides all around the nation, we suggest staying away from the primary highways as visitors and dirt make them a problem.

The benefit of bike journey? It permits for full freedom of motion and stops in small villages that vacationers not often go to. It’s potential to take bikes up-country for excursions, although solely skilled off-road bikers ought to take to those roads with a mud bike. There are a number of specialised dirt-bike touring corporations that provide organized journeys with assist automobiles. 

Rewarding day journeys on smaller bikes in locations like Siem Reap and Kampot supply an effective way to see Cambodia’s countryside in all its colourful glory. 

Bikes can be found for rent in hottest vacationer locations, with prices starting from US$5–10 per day for a 100cc bike to US$15–25 for a 250cc dust bike. In relation to renting bikes, no license is required. In case you can drive the bike out of the store, you’ll be able to drive it anyplace – or so the logic goes.

Novice riders ought to persist with driving smaller automated mopeds. Drive with due care and a focus, as medical services and ambulances are lower than satisfactory past the primary cities. When you’ve got by no means ridden a bike earlier than, Cambodia will not be the best place to study, although as soon as out of town it does get simpler. In case you’re leaping in on the deep finish, be sure to are below the supervision of somebody who is aware of the right way to journey.

Listed below are our picks for the very best bike journeys in Cambodia.

A Khmer temple at Bokor Hill Station in Cambodia, with view of sea beyond
After you’ve climbed greater than 1000m in below 20km, you’ll be able to take pleasure in panoramic views from Bokor Hill Station © MinghaiYang / Shutterstock

Kampot to Bokor has fabulously epic surroundings

82km (51 miles); day journey

A part of Bokor Nationwide Park, the once-abandoned French retreat of Bokor Hill Station is famed for its refreshingly cool local weather and decaying buildings that after supplied a preferred escape from the warmth throughout the colonial interval. The winding mountain highway as much as Bokor from the riverside city of Kampot is arguably probably the most memorable in Cambodia, climbing 1000m (3280ft) in altitude in lower than 20km (12mi). There are sweeping bends with panoramic views over the dense tropical rainforest of the nationwide park and the Cambodian shoreline. 

Atop the mountain, guests can see the stays of King Sihanouk’s Black Palace and a large statue of Buddha, a necessary cease for Khmer pilgrims. Proceed alongside the plateau and the highway forks, the best fork heading to Popokvil Falls and the left fork persevering with to the previous hill station. 

The hill station will not be fairly as atmospheric because it as soon as was attributable to a brand new, monstrous on line casino on the summit, however the deserted Catholic Church and different previous buildings are nonetheless haunting on a misty day. The views from the Le Bokor Palace are merely immense, the jungle cascading away to the shoreline beneath. 

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A motorbike with two people on it passes on a dirt road by a temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Southeast Asia
A bike allows you to zip between historical temples at Siem Reap © Sergey Peterman / Shutterstock

See historical temples galore from Siem Reap to Phnom Kulen

150km (93 miles); day journey

Thought of by Khmers probably the most sacred mountain in Cambodia, Phnom Kulen is a well-liked place of pilgrimage for native worshippers and residential to the “misplaced metropolis” of Mahendraparvata. Sights embody a large reclining Buddha, tons of of lingas carved within the riverbed, a formidable waterfall and a few distant temples scattered over the mountain.

When you go the Phnom Kulen ticket checkpoint (US$20 per particular person), the highway climbs up via jungle and boulders to go the beautiful viewpoint of Peung Ta Kho en path to Preah Ang Thom and the long-lasting waterfall. Many Cambodian pilgrims go to solely this website on their journey, however it’s value venturing additional afield to see the stone guardians of the mountain at Sra Damrei, together with a life-sized elephant; the close by bat cave with its hidden shrines; and the traditional rock carvings of Peung Tbal. 

As a substitute of backtracking, proceed throughout the highest of Phnom Kulen on the brand new highway and drop down the opposite facet of the mountain to Svay Leu. Returning by way of this route permits for a cease on the unimaginable jungle temple of Beng Mealea. Notice that it’s essential to have an Angkor temple go in case you plan to cease on the temples of Beng Mealea or Banteay Srei. 

Bike alongside the Mekong River from Kompong Cham to Kratie

150km (93 miles); at some point

The principle highway from Kompong Cham swings out east into Tbong Khmum Province, however for a memorable journey, persist with the Mekong River and observe the native roads north. Many of the roads are actually paved, with only some sections of graded dust highway right here and there. 

Beginning out in Kompong Cham, head north on the west financial institution to the hilltop complicated of Wat Hanchey, which features a Seventh-century brick temple in its grounds and provides views over the Mekong River. Persevering with north, there’s a new bridge at Stung Trang to cross to the east financial institution or proceed additional north over the elevated rubber plantations for some extra spectacular views of the river. Finally, the west financial institution highway brings you to a ferry crossing to the previous French colonial-era port city of Chhlong, well-known for its crumbling colonial-era buildings. 

From Chhlong, it’s a straight shot on the 35km (22mi) highway north to Kratie, passing via some conventional Cham fishing villages. As soon as in Kratie, make a facet journey to the gorgeous Mekong island of Koh Trong, well-known for its recent pomelo and orchard fruits. Notice that it’s greatest to modify to pedal energy to discover this island. 

Panoramic view of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia
The luxurious Cardamom Mountains are dwelling to among the most dramatic landscapes in Cambodia © R. Bociaga / Shutterstock

Head via the Cardamom Mountains from Battambang to Koh Kong

280km (174 miles); 2 days

Unfold over seven provinces in southwestern Cambodia, the huge Cardamom Rainforest Panorama represents the most important mainland forest watershed in Southeast Asia. The distant peaks right here and 18 main waterways are dwelling to not less than 50 globally threatened animal species. 

Setting out from the charming riverside city of Battambang, head south by way of the previous Khmer Rouge stronghold of Samlaut to the Cardamom junction city of Pramouy, a potential base for the evening. Route NH55 heads west to the Thai border of Thmor Da and is without doubt one of the most dramatic roads within the nation, climbing up over the creatively named Phnom 1500m (4921ft) mountain and dropping slowly down a meandering river valley to the border. 

From Thmor Da, a mud highway hugs the complete size of the Cambodia–Thailand border and provides some stunning glimpses of Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary. The highway passes mountain rivers and dense jungle earlier than opening up over views of the Thai shoreline to the west. On the descent into Koh Kong Metropolis, there are beautiful views of the massive rivers flowing down in direction of the ocean. 

Skilled dust bikers will love heading from Siem Reap to Prasat Bakan

270km (168 miles); 2-day spherical journey

For a tantalizing lost-world atmosphere, the distant temple of Prasat Bakan (also called Preah Khan Kompong Svay to students) is difficult to beat. Masking virtually 5 sq km (2 sq mi), Prasat Bakan is the most important temple enclosure constructed throughout the Angkorian interval. The positioning is cloaked in vines and bushes and is astonishingly peaceable; you may even have the place to your self.

For the final word dirt-bike journey, observe Route 66 from Beng Mealea alongside the traditional Angkor highway. This 1000-year-old path crosses about 10 Angkorian naga (legendary serpent-like beings) bridges, together with the outstanding 77m-long (252ft) Spean Ta Ong. The highway from Beng Mealea to Khvau is now in high quality situation, but it surely deteriorates quickly after Khvau and the 23km (14mi) from Khvau to Ta Seng are impassable within the wet season.

Historically, Preah Khan has been the hardest of Preah Vihear Province’s distant temples to achieve, however upgraded provincial highways and a brand new dust highway to the temple have improved issues dramatically from the southern or japanese approaches. Solely skilled bikers ought to try these different routes on rental bikes, as circumstances are powerful and you may find yourself misplaced in the course of nowhere.

Dirt-bike touring in Phnom Penh suburbs, Cambodia
Exploring Cambodia by bike is an exhilarating approach to see the nation. Simply remember to journey protected © Visualize Artistic / Shutterstock

Ideas for protected bike adventures in Cambodia

  • Get a good-quality helmet for lengthy journeys or high-speed driving.
  • Carry a primary restore equipment, together with tire levers, a puncture-repair equipment and a pump.
  • All the time carry a rope for towing on longer journeys in case of breakdown.
  • In distant areas, at all times carry a number of liters of ingesting water.
  • Journey in small teams, not alone, and keep shut collectively.
  • Don’t be low-cost with gasoline, as operating out in a distant space could be a critical scenario.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or smoke marijuana and drive.
  • Maintain your eyes firmly mounted on the highway, as individuals and livestock repeatedly cross backwards and forwards with out warning. And Cambodian potholes eat individuals for enjoyable.
     

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