Latest Articles

Cambodia – January 2015

In January 2015 I made a guided motorbike tour with Corner Adventures (http://www.corneradventures.com) in Cambodia. Corner Adventures offers several tours in southeast Asia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. They provide Jialing motorbikes (four sidecars and four solo bikes are available) for the tours.

Jialing sidecar combo

Jialing sidecar combo – “my” bike in Cambodia

I travel to Cambodia from Frankfurt with Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi and from Hanoi to Siem Reap, a city next to the famous temples of Angkor Wat. Traveltime: more than 30 hours. Willem, our tourguide and co-owner of Corner Adventures, picks up Gerrit, another German participant of the tour, and me from the airport with a sidecar combo.

Willem Vermeulen

Willem Vermeulen – tourguide and co-owner of Corner Adventures

In Siem Reap we are accommodated in Hotel Mont Royal next to the center for two days.

Hotel Mont Royal

Hotel Mont Royal in Siem Reap

After the first night in the hotel, Gerrit and I explore Siem Reap and buy some souvenirs. In the afternoon we make a small ride to an almost unknown temple outside Siem Reap with Willem to make familiar with the sidecars. The Jialing have a watercolled single-cylinder enginges with 40 hp. More than enough on the unpaved roads. The sidecar wheel is movable and supports the steering to the right and to the left what makes the combo very comfortable. On paved roads we can go easily with 100 km/h and mor but above 100 km/h the engine doen´t sound healthy (but maybe i´m too sensitive).

The unpaved roads are covered with red and so are we when we are back in the hotel.

Red dust from the unpaved roads

Red dust from the unpaved roads

In the evening we enjoy the nightlife of Siem Reap. Due to the tourists there is a very busy nightlife with bars and restaurants and a lot of music in Pub Street. We also visit the night market where souvenir shops line up.

Pub Street in Siem Reap

Pub Street in Siem Reap by night

Night market in Siem Reap

Night market in Siem Reap

The next morning we ride to Angkor Wat with the sidecars but we are not allowed to enter, only vehicles with Cambodian registration are allowed to do so. We return to the hotel leave the sidecars and go to Angkor Wat again with Tuk-Tuks. A good decision, running around more than two hours in bike clothes and boots wouldn´t have been fun.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat – backside

There are a lot of tourists visiting Angkor Wat but we find some quiet places at the backside of the temple area.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Gerrit decides to visit another temple next to Angkor Wat (known from the movie “Tomb Raider” with Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft). I prefer to have coconut shake and to wait until he returns.

In the afternoon we make another ride around Siem Reap, again on the red, unpaved roads.

In the evening we visit Pub Street again and take our dinner in one of the small street restaurants. Prices are great, 0.75 Dollar for a good Cambodian beer (Angkor), 1.25 Dollar for fried rice. We don´t need Riel, the official Cambodian currency, everyone everywhere in Cambodia accepts US Dollars.

Day 3 – start of our Cambodia loop. 450 km from Siem Reap to Kratie at River Mekong in the east of Cambodia, 100 km on unpaved roads, definitely the hardest day of the loop.

Cambodian transportation

Cambodian transportation

We see a lot of slash-and-burn agriculture, where the fields are prepared for the next seed. Sometime the fires are so close to the raods that we feel the heat.

Slash-and-burn agriculture

Slash-and-burn agriculture

We want to cross Mekong with a ferry but it doesn´t exist any longer. A brandnew bridge is crossing the river now. Only a small ferry is left at a sidearm of Mekong, too small for the sidecars.

Small ferry at a sidearm of River Mekong

Small ferry at a sidearm of River Mekong

One screw of the chain protector of my combo is lost, Willem repairs it under supervision of interested Cambodians teens.

Repair on the road

Repair on the road

We arrive in Kratie at dusk, covered with red dust. Unfortunately we don´t see any of the famous river dolphins living in River Mekong.

Next day´s target is Cambodian capitol Phnom Penh. As long as we ride along River Mekong we have to cross a lot of one-way bridges.

One-way bridge along River Mekong

One-way bridge along River Mekong

It´s 240 km from Kratie to Phnom Penh and we only ride on paved roads. Although we have a lot of breaks for drinking water and having lunch we arrive in the outskirts of Phnom Penh very early. But we need almost an hour from there to the hotel in the center of the capitol.

From Phnom Penh we turn sout-east, direction to Cambodian coastline. It is 250 km to Sihanoukville, a very famous Cambodian backpackers target. On the way we see a lot of single Cambodian farms.

Cambodian farm

Cambodian farm

Along the coast we see a lot of boats in small rivers, some for fishing at the sea, some of them typical river boats.

Fishing boats at the coast

Fishing boats at the coast

Typical Cambodian river boats

Typical Cambodian river boats

In Sihanoukville we make a rest for one day. Gerrit makes an island-hopping tour with one of the tourists boats, I decide just to relax and make some pictures at the beach.

Cambodian coast

Cambodian coast

Boats at the Cambodian coast

Boats at the Cambodian coast

Fisherman at the Cambodian coast

Fisherman at the Cambodian coast

Idyllic scenery at the Cambodian coast

Idyllic scenery at the Cambodian coast

Party beach in Sihanoukville

Party beach in Sihanoukville

Accommodation in Sihanoukville is very cheap, it starts from 2 Dollars per night in a bunkhouse. There´s party every night in the town what makes it difficult to sleep.

Our hotel is more comfortable, we have AC in the rooms. But we are located in the center of the party area, 200 m away from the beach.

Our hotel in Sihanoukville

Our hotel in Sihanoukville

View from the beach to our hotel

View from the beach to our hotel

After our day of rest we turn north, 240 km to Koh Kong at the border to Thailand. The flat country with agriculture turns into hills rain forrest. Up and down, left and right – for me the favourite part of the tour.

Attention - elephants crossing

Attention – elephants crossing

Water buffalos

Water buffalos

Houses at a river

Houses at a river

Lunch break

Typical lunch break in one of the small street restaurants

Our hotel in Koh Kong is located next to Stung Atay River.

Stung Atay River in Koh Kong

Stung Atay River in Koh Kong

Due to the bad road conditions in Cambodia we do the next part of the trip, 370 km from Koh Kong to Battambang, via Thailand. We leave Cambodia, enter Thailand and ride 210 km on roads in Thailand. The roads are very good, we are very fast and we leave Thailand soon. For me the most boring part of the trip and I am happy to enter Cambodia again, although we have to buy a new visum.

A sidecarist and his passengers in Thailand

A sidecarist and his passengers in Thailand

Before we start the last part of our trip, 170 km from Battambang back to Siem Reap, we visit a killing field next to Battambang. In the 1970ies, during the despotism of Khmer Rouge, thousands of Cambodians were killed here. Now we find a memorial and a Buddhist monastry.

Cambodian child

Cambodian child at the killing field next to Battambang

Buddhist monstry

Buddhist monstry at the killing field next to Battambang

After 40 km of our last day´s trip my Jialing stops working. In a scooter workshop of a small village Willem tries to repair it the next two hours, unfortunately without result. We decide that I will join Gerrit in the sidecar, Willem organises the transport of the broken Jialing by pick up to Siem Reap.

Repair of the Jialing in a scooter workshop

Repair of the Jialing in a scooter workshop

We return to Siem Reap without any problems, the broken sidecar arrives some hours later. Gerrit will leave to germany the next morning, I will stay two days longer. The last evening we celebrate in our favourite street restaurant with Cambodian beer and fried rice.

The map of the tour:

1.700 km tour in Cambodia

1.700 km tour in Cambodia

Some more impressions from Cambodia:

Typical houses in rural Cambodia

Typical houses in rural Cambodia

Elephant taxis in Angkor Wat

Elephant taxis in Angkor Wat

Monkeys in Angkor Wat

Monkeys in Angkor Wat

Traffic in Siem Reap

Traffic in Siem Reap

A grveyard in Siem Reap

A graveyard in Siem Reap

Entrance area of hotel Mont Royal in Siem Reap

Entrance area of hotel Mont Royal in Siem Reap

A snack of fried insects in the monastry next to Battambang

A snack of fried insects in the monastry next to Battambang

A Tuk-Tuk ind Battambang

A Tuk-Tuk ind Battambang

Transportation Cambodian style

Transportation Cambodian style

A Buddhist monk and his student

A Buddhist monk and his student

A rest anywhere between Sihanoukville and Koh Kong

A rest anywhere between Sihanoukville and Koh Kong

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: