Biking in Cambodia
Bicycling in The Charming Kingdom of Wonder
By Elle Rahilly
Cambodia is one of the hottest up-and-coming travel destinations, with in the know travelers ditching more traditional destinations and heading toward remote Southeast Asia. In a day when no corner of this world remains untouched, Cambodia holds on to its ancient values and traditional practices.
Unlike its more popular neighbors Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia offers a non-crowded and unexplored alternative travel. And what better way to discover everything the country has to offer, from the traditional temples of Angkor Wat to the fishing villages of the southern coastline, than by bicycle?
Quench Your Thirst
For those with a thirst for adventure, Asia Adventures is a savior. Through the eleven bicycle tours they offer through Cambodia, the company’s website presents a range of opportunities to intrepid travelers.
The company encourages each visitor to leave the tourists behind and explore the real Cambodia, where bare-footed villagers greet you while herding the cows, and ancient temples are hidden within the rare Mreah Prew Phnom trees of the forest.
“It’s really hard to say just one thing was the highlight” says experienced cyclist Kerry Vanderzalm as she talked about her ride from Saigon to Siem Reap. “The floating market in Vietnam was special, taking the boat and swimming in the Mekong river, the Killing Fields Museum was very moving, [and of course] the Angkor temples.”
So take a break from the beaten path of travel and cycle through Cambodia, to connect with the people and sample the tempo of village life across the countryside. This is a country where bicycles are a dominant transportation mode, so you won’t feel alone on busy roads. Bikes, scooters and pedestrians are everywhere.
Rare Gems at Your Fingertips
The cycle tours allow travelers to explore beyond the standard attractions, and explore Cambodia’s dynamic land and culture.
Heading north cyclists travel along the Mekong River to Kratie, where endangered Irawaddy dolphins can be found in nearby waters. Traveling east leads to the spectacular uplands of Ratanakiri, a mountainous region bordering Vietnam to the east and Laos to the north, filled with striking waterfalls and crystal rivers.
Cyclists can sample a taste of Cambodia’s European colonial influence by heading south to discover the riverside town of Kampot, enriched by French architecture. Continuing south, cyclists will reach the coast, dotted with fishing villages en route to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s premier beach resort.
Pedaling to the west, cyclists will come across Battambang, a cozy town settled on the banks of the Sangker River. The town is surrounded by countryside with temple-topped hills, and for the most ambitious cyclists Cardamom Mountains are just waiting to be discovered.
However, the rarest gems of Cambodia are the people. Genuine and hospitable by nature, the village folks greet each cyclist with authentic smiles.
As Vanderzalm described it, “In every village that we rode into we could hear ‘hello, hello.’ The children seemed truly excited to see us ride past. We got waves and high fives all the way through the villages.”
Just How Ambitious Are You?
The eleven tours vary in length, rigor and price. Keeping in mind the financial and physical apprehensions of today’s travelers, through Asia Adventures everyone is bound to find a tour that will match his or her goals, at affordable prices.
Starting at $95 is a guided one-day tour to the historic “Killing Fields,” continuing through traditional “wood and thatch” villages to Tonle Bati, where the picturesque Angkorian temples can be explored.
For an additional $135, a cyclist can continue onto the town of Takeo, spending the night in a comfortable western style hotel and embarking the following day on an exhilarating boat trip to the ancient temple of Phnom Da. The trip ends with a pedal north to the hilltop temple of Phnom Chisor, where travelers are provided an fantastic and dramatic scenic view.
For the thrill-seeking nomads, Asia Adventures offers a 16-day bicycle tour that literally takes you across the entire country of Cambodia, starting at the coast of Thailand, and ending with a venture into Vietnam. For $2392, cyclists bike 1,000km from Bangkok to Saigon, crossing remote borders through colonial coastal towns, beside the pristine Cardamom Mountains, Angkorian temples, serene Thai beaches and floating villages. On one point of the trip the cyclists switch up the mode of travel by sailing on a river cruise.
For everything in between, Asia Adventures offers tours ranging from 3-5 days and 9-12 days, such as a four-day tour of “Mountain Biking & Sunrise Birdwatching Cruise” for $140, and a three-day “Burial Jar Trail” tour for the reasonable price of $100.
Keeping Your Best Interest at Heart
Asia Adventures understands that embarking on such unique routes of travel through Cambodia can be intimidating. The company makes sure that each cyclist fully enjoys their trip, keeping in mind the key factors of travel: comfort and convenience.
Each group of cyclists are led by the company’s own guides and followed by a support vehicle, both quite attentive so no one is worrying about luggage or if you can make it through the day’s pedaling. During her whole long trip, Vanderzalm says her guide was “always ready with a cold drink and a washcloth.”
For a small cost cyclists can alleviate their load by allowing someone to carry their baggage and pre-arrange their accommodations.
Asia Adventures provides comfortable and affordable lodging for travelers. It’s important to the company that each cyclist wakes up refreshed so that they can handle the sometimes strenuous cycling route for the day ahead.
This was the case for Vanderzalm, who was pleasantly surprised at how nice the hotels were throughout her trip. “As an adventure bicycle traveler, I am not used to staying in such comfort,” she said.
Eco-friendly Tours Raise Awareness
Vanderzalm also mentioned a concern that I could not shake for the life of me. She was disheartened by the condition of a beach at Ha Tien, Vietnam, “so polluted and littered that she didn’t even get off her bicycle.”
Although Southeast Asia is a relatively remote travel destination, we as global citizens have left an impact on the region’s environment. And while this was a harsh reality for cyclists like Vanderzalm, the tour succeeds in raising awareness through an thoroughly eco-friendly mode of travel.
As an innovative approach to travel at a low cost, Cambodia bike tours through Asia Adventures is an opportunity worth exploring for any cyclists looking for the next best place to ride.
For further information on bike tours and sightseeing throughout Cambodia, check out Asia Adventure’s Asia Adventures website
Asia Adventures Co., Ltd
#578, Kampuchea Krom Blvd
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of CambodiaMobile: +855 95 747 700
Tel: +855 23 882955
Fax: +855 23 882433
USA: +1 (415) 702-0714
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