Our cycling route is varied and fascinating whether it’s on jungle tracks up a pilgrimage mountain, cycling by the Mekong river or along the beaches of the tropical southern coastline you will experience a side of Cambodia seen by few others. Coupled with time spent relaxing in Siem reap, Phnom Penh and Kep Sur Mer this is a superb way to experience one of Asia’s most captivating countries.
Day 1: Siem Reap. We will meet at the hotel in the early afternoon and after being fitted with our mountain bikes and have a cycling safety briefing we’ll take a gentle ride around town to get our bearings. In the afternoon you will have time to enjoy a massage, shopping or the cafes. At our first Cambodian dinner, you will have the opportunity to learn some information from your guide about Cambodian history and culture.
Day 2: Angkor Wat. We make an early start to see an unforgettable sunrise over Angkor Wat. After breakfast at a local restaurant we ride on small dirt roads through small villages and farmland to Banteay Srei, one of the most beautiful outlying temples. The Khmer Empire was one of the most prosperous empires in SE Asia and dominated much of what is now Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. The kingdom drew its religious and political inspiration from India. The literary language of the court was Sanskrit; the spoken language was Khmer. Massive temples from this period, including Angkor Wat and the Bayon at Angkor Thum, testify to the power of Angkor and the grandeur of its architecture and decorative art. The unparalleled achievements in art, architecture, music, and dance during this period served as models for later cultural development in Cambodia. Angkor faded into obscurity after the capital moved south to Phnom Penh in the 15th century, probably due in part to frequent invasions by the neighbouring Thais.
The jungle rapidly grew over the monuments. In the centuries that followed, frequent wars reduced the territory, wealth, and power of Cambodian monarchs. However, an independent state with its capital near Phnom Penh survived until the 19th century. We’ll also take some time to cycle to the Land Mine museum - set up by Aki, a former Khymer soldier who over 9 years served in 3 different armies. In the Khmer Rouge his job was to lay 100 - 200 mines each night and then recover them in the morning. Today he goes out for 5 days at a time and clears around 30 mines a day using his feet and a stick.
Day 3: Beng Melea and Tonle Sap Lake. Today it’s off to see the fabulous ruined temple of Beng Melea, still overgrown with jungle and very atmospheric with few visitors. We will drive to this far-flung temple and then after we have explored the site, we will ride to the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia. The lake’s waters control the flow of the Mekong and provide a living for thousands of people, as it is one of the world’s richest sources of freshwater fish Here we visit the small communities that call the lake home and draw their lively-hoods from it’s depths. Their houses sit high above the lake on stilts. We will then ride back to our hotel for our last night in Siem Reap.
Day 4: Beng Melea - Kampong Cham. A drive takes us around the top of the lake, through Kampong Thom Province and then into Kampong Cham Province. We ride the last section of the route today as we pass through small towns and then down to the Mekong River where we find our home for the night. Kampong Cham province is home to many of the country’s Cham Muslim population.
Day 5: Kampong Cham - Phnom Penh. One of the most interesting rides of the trip, today we ride along the Mekong River on a small dirt road through small Cham Villages, who survive on fish from the Mekong and small-scale vegetable and animal farming. Today’s route runs along dirt roads all the way to the Town of Koh Kaong where we board buses for the last leg of our journey into Phnom Penh. After checking into our hotel the rest of the day will be free for you to look around the sights of the capital city. Phnom Penh is a fascinating city that still retains a lot of its colonial charm from its days as the French capital of Indochina. There will be time in the evening to have a drink in the famous Foreign Correspondents Club by the river. The sights of Phnom Penh, include the National Museum, Royal Palace and many Wats located in the city.
Day 6: Phnom Penh. Today is free for you to rest up and explore the diverse city of Phnom Penh. From the leafy areas of the International workers, to popular riverfront area and the slums of the port area, Phnom Penh is not a city you will forget in a hurry. There are some tragic reminders of the Khmer rouge times here, including the infamous S21 genocide Museum. On the brighter side, the markets are a great place to rub shoulders with the friendly population of this city and a good place for some souvenirs.
Day 7: Phnom Penh - Takeo. We start our ride to the Killing Fields. These are a sobering reminder of the tragic past that Cambodia has endured. From here we will ride to an ancient temple and then onto Takeo Province. As we approach town, we ride through the small surrounding villages on red dirt roads where hundreds of children will want to say hello and give you an encouraging high five! Tonight we stay in a small, basic and clean guesthouse.
Day 8: Takeo. We continue south today, riding on more flat easy roads through endless rice fields and waving children to Kampot, a pleasant town which sits on a picturesque stretch of river. Famous for it’s smelly fruit produce, the Durian, Kampot is an enjoyable place to wander around past old colonial buildings and riverfront cafes. In the evening boat trips can be taken into the mangroves or you can relax with a massage from a blind masseur at the Seeing Hands Massage Center.
Day 9: Bokor and Kep Sur Mer. Today we have an optional challenge. A ride to the top of Bokor Mountain National Park and back. There is the atmospheric ruins of an old French casino and resort atop the mountain and spectacular views along the coast on a clear day. A tough climb takes us up through the jungle to the top of this mountain. The descent will also test your bike skills and all up, the adventure is a satisfying experience. In the afternoon we will take the much easier ride to Kep, a beach resort popular with the French Colonials in their time here. Kep is a delightful, laid back beach town that’s a great place to relax after your trip. The crumbling remains of some of old French villas can still be seen along the waterfront drives and rain-forested hills plunge down to the coast.
Day 10: Depart Kep Sur Mer. Our Cycling adventure concludes today. We can transfer you back to Phnom Penh, or you may wish to extend your travels and arrange a visit to Sihanoukville.
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Asia Cambodia Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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