A 3 day meander.. Bangkok - Preah Vihear - Siem Reap - Bangkok

Discussion in 'Cambodia Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Rob and I had a fantastic trip to Cambo.. Did we really do all this in 3 days..

    1,485 kilometres round trip.


    Amazingly good roads and mostly empty.. Worst part of the ride is from Sieam Reap to Poipet.
    We decided to make a bit of a ride of it and try the Osmarch Border crossing on the way in.. Bypassing the Poipet mafia.

    More to come…

    DavidFL likes this.
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  3. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    The weekend before the trip I had arrived back from a work trip to the UK early Saturday morning.

    Rob invited me around for a BBQ and beers.

    While we had a great night.. In my drunken carry on said.. Why don't we go for a ride to Cambodia.
    - We had talked about this a year earlier

    That was that.. Wake up the next morning to a message from Rob.. All keen on this ride to Cambodia.
    Oh sh1t.. I was a little drunk last night.. Oh well.. what the hell.. Lets do it.. I will take Monday off from work.

    Then I get the mother of all flu and cancelled on the friday.. But the good old doctor had some pink wonder pills
    They managed to make me feel good enough to be ready to roll at 6:00 am

    Rob arrives at 6:30 and we take the back roads up towards Burriram.. Then ride a long the border for a bit.. But it was a bit boring
    So join up to the main highway and nail it to the Chom Jom Border.

    Ready to roll at 6am Saturday morning

    At Chom Jom border crossing. Very friendly and very hill billy..
    Hill Billy as they had no idea of the correct paper work we needed.. At the time I said to Rob.. That was all to easy.


    Cross over to O'smarch

    This is a really quiet border crossing.. Mostly Thai's just crossing to gamble in the Casino's.

    All very civilised. Get your visa on arrival at the building on the left.. Get stamped in at the building on the right.
    No corruption, no extra fees.. Just smiles and friendly people

    No bike paper work what so ever.. Just cover the headlight and ride down to Customs
    Two blokes sitting at the side of the road that wave us past.

    More to come..
  4. rastas

    rastas Member

    Hey Brian,

    Looks like a good trip and will be interested to read more / check out the photos. How did your bikes handle the cambodian roads? Is it an ER6N kind of trip or more one for the 250 dirt bikes?

    Cheers Wayne
  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    G'day Rasta,

    We planned on a road trip with the Ninja and Rob on His Ducati.

    Tom (one of the Bangkok Weekend Warriors) had just been over on a KLX trip to Cambodia.

    Luckily for us.. As I would not have risked the roads in the North from the Osmarch border crossing.
    Tom said the roads are great. Which they are..

    No traffic and sit on 100 to 120 most of the time.. Slow down for towns and villages.

    If you want to do trails and off-road.. take a KLX.. if you want to do a road trip. ER6 N will be fine
    Versys would be perfect.. But you won't be complaining on the ER6.

    We ignored the GPS a few times and still had good roads.. one or two bits where we had to ride dirt for a few KM to join up to the next paved road.
    OSM Map is great for Cambo.. Worth taking a long if you have a GPS

    Worst road for traffic and potholes is between Poipet and Siem Reap.

    Hope that helps

  6. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    You ride away from the border and there is really not very much of a town or anything..
    Following the GPS, we arrive at a turn in the road.. Looks like the right way and off we head in the direction of Preah Vihear.
    This was our destination for the day..

    But we didn't make it.. Arrived at Anlong Veng.. Not sure if it was all the drugs I was on to fight the flu.. but started looking for Preah Vihear.
    After a ride to the other local border crossing (Choam) and a few shocked locals seeing us up there.. Also asking what we are doing there.
    - There is a lot of development going on at this crossing.. Big hotel (Casino?) going up.. Loads of Thai registered Minivans.. Not much else.

    Found out Preah Vihear is around another 80 + KM along the main road… Too much for today, so head back to town and find a place to stay.

    Pick an OK looking hotel… You know.. one of the nice ones where they have a sign to leave your guns and other weapons outside.
    Jokingly I asked the girl if I could leave my gun with her.. She said yes and put her hands out :-/

    Note, the gun is only slightly higher on the scale than a Durian,
    Rob's pic.

    Beer O'clock

    Friendly staff pushing the coal across the car park

    We found some good food.. They spoke a bit of Thai so could order the favourites.

    Rob was keen to get a bit of dental work done.. I said he didn't need to.. His smile is nice enough ;-)

    End of Day 1
    Nice doing the scenic route up from Bangkok.. But would not bother trying to ride along the border. Pretty uninteresting country side.
    When you get to the main highway heading to Ubon.. Just stick on that.. good quality and not too much traffic.
    You could probably do Bangkok to Chom Jom in 4.5 to 5 hours with scenic route then highway.
    Giving you enough time to make it to Preah Vihear on day 1 with a 6 am start, skipping the need to stay over in Anlong Veng.

    Day 2

    Wake up early and head off to Preah Vihear.. The night before we had a discussion.. Should we dump Preah Vihear and go straight to Siem Reap or should we try and do both.
    Worse case we will do Angkor Wat next time (I have been 3 times already).. Rob's first time to Angkor Wat.

    We decide as we are so close to Preah Vihear and Siem Reap is so close to Bangkok.. Lets focus on Preah Vihear and do it properly.

    Stumble across a wedding as we ride through a town on the way to Preah Vihear.


    More to come
  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Preah Vihear

    Fantastic road that leads in to Preah Vihear temple.


    Entry is free.. But you can leave a donation. We willingly paid $5 each towards the local generals new BMW

    A lovely twisty winding road up to Preah Vihear.

    Belting along enjoy the bends and nice road… All very steep and up up up...

    Holy crap.. Next thing I see is dirt and a decent drop.. Jump up, standing on the pegs..
    Stop and look back.

    Where did the road go?

    Hmmm. No sign saying the road is ending or to slow down and take the goat track to the left.

    Up we go and it was getting steeper…

    On the way back down, both bikes had the ABS kicking in front and back.. Never had the front ABS kick in before.

    A short ride across a dirt track that the KLX would have enjoyed and park the bikes with these fellas for 2000 riel each.

    Looking over at the Thai army checkpoint and observation area.


    The Cambodian and UNESCO Flag facing off the Thai flag

    The road up to the right, with the building you get your ticket at to the left bottom of the picture

    No Work place health and safety, no workers compensation.. Just don't fall over the edge and use your common sense..

    The Cambodians are pretty adamant this is their temple…

    At the bottom of the steps, near the perimeter with Thailand walking back up to the temple.
    (Guessing this was here for when day trippers were allowed to cross from Thailand (Now it is all a minefield and covered in barbed wire - pics to come)


    More to come.
  8. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Cool Trip, Well done and another Famous Location to Cross off Your Bucket list!
  9. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Excellent Brian. You do get out and about.
  10. phuketrichard

    phuketrichard Ol'Timer

    I really enjoyed Preah Vihear but word of advice DO NOT take a Thai with you as they will not be allowed up the hill.

    Nice to see others taken advantage of the Osmach crossing hope it stays as nice and friendly as it has .
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Hell that's quite an impressive ride fom Bangkok for the weekend.
    Bring it on - more photos please, so I can compare to my visit there in 92.
  12. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Thanks fellas. To be honest.. this trip was way more fun than we thought it would be.
    Only three days.. but we really packed it in..

    More pics on the way :)
  13. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Walk down the steps and there is an open area.. more like a small housing community.
    Keep walking, through a makeshift football field then over a wooden bridge..
    Lots of army and people living here as well as bunkers..

    Then I reach an area with 4 fella's sitting down very relaxed.. Have a chat and smiles all around

    One of them says.. Thailand, Thailand.. (Thailand on the other side of the barbed wire)

    This looks to be the walk way from Thailand.. When tourists were allowed to visit before the area was made to political by the right wing zealots in both countries

    Preah Vihear Rambo

    While chatting with the guys and wandering around taking Photo's.. One of the army guys runs off and comes back with his AK47

    Never asked for money.. just took photo's together and had a chat..
    All very friendly on the front line..

    Right at the perimeter there are a lot of bunkers


    Good to see traditions are still followed.

    Shoes outside.. RPG's inside.

    Time to roam around the temple.






    Bullet holes from one of the skirmishes with Thailand. There are quite a few battle scars around the temple.









    Had my pic taken with about 5 different groups of people this day.. Must have reminded them of Angkor period royalty ;-)


    More to come…
  14. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    Mind you the Bangkok Weekend Warriors Mafiosa arent afraid of the Poipet Mafia.. just didnt fell like monkey'ing around with them.
    Some comments Brian...
    It was 6:23 I arrived not 6:30... 555
    Quite amazed at roads up northern Cambodia way.. seriously no potholes
    Road from Siam Reap to Poipet was pretty scary.... apart from road surface which admittedly got better about 30 kms out from SR the Cambo drivers make the Thai drivers look positively tame.
    Benzene fuel for sale everywhere and the bikes run smooth... no need to carry fuel bottles...555
    Next time to do SR for a few days I would still go in via Osmach but get there in time to hot foot it all the way down to SR in one day...
    Great ride and Praeh Vihear is simply amazing...
  15. phuketrichard

    phuketrichard Ol'Timer

    next time start early from Surin;
    after u cross the border, First big town Samrong hang a right and head on the empty hard packed dirt road ( 110KMs+) via Banteay Chhmer, A great khmer temple an zero tourists both times i have been. Then south u pick up the road at Sisophon to sr. 2 hours at the temple, lunch an still in SR before dark, fill up ur tank at Samrong

    It will all change once they pave the road.
  16. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    Ahh this was the one I read about in some inflight magazine about a year ago and vowed to go there but forgot the bloody name... early Alzheimers setting in.... Thanks Phuketrichard.. Brian this one has like zero tourist and Banyan tress growing all thorough it... when we leaving in the morning.. remember 6 am sharp and no fuel bottles needed... 5555
  17. jsbkk

    jsbkk Ol'Timer

    Some really good pictures and a great report. Love the picture with the tree and brown sky. Pictures from above the cliff too are breathtaking. Nice!!
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wow. Stunning temple pics - makes me want to go back. I will try to dig out some of my golden oldies there for a laugh.
  19. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hey Rob..

    Are you referring to this 10,000 litre MSR Fuel Bottle?

    I wonder if Wolfman Saddlebags make something that could hold 8 of these puppies.

  20. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Brian, what a fantastic report and pictures, love the one photo where the 2-lane road ends in the middle of nowhere.........., quite and achievement for 3 days riding, especially on the bikes you used.
  21. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    After spending a fantastic day at Preah Vihear we headed for Siem Reap.
    The quickest most direct way is to go back the way we came to Anlong Veng.

    Having just come from that direction and not wanting to retrace steps we look at the OSM map on the GPS.

    There is another way. Get back to the main road after leaving Preah Vihear and turn left.
    It adds about 40 km may be more to the journey.. Yet again.. Great roads.. Rob finally found our first pothole later on.

    Enjoying the riding and not wanting to get in to Siem Reap too early.. we ignore the GPS and take a few other routes.
    You can see on the map how we go down then back up and down again before Siem Reap.

    Yet again, more amazing roads.

    A couple of occasions the nice road ran out and we had to ride 4 or 5 km on dirt to join back up to the next main road.



    Then to the north of Siem Reap.. We come across the Mile Marker Grave Yard.
    It is north of Siem Reap on the most potholed roundabout in Cambodia



    Next stop Siem Reap.

    Love this town. My first visit here was around 20 years ago… Yes I am that old.
    The town is just growing like crazy.
    20 years ago when we changed money at the local bank.. They had a petition they asked us to sign.
    The petition was from the bank branch to head office… They wanted to get the first ATM in Sieam Reap!

    Now ATM's are everywhere..

    Never at the time did I think I would be recalling that event all these years later..

    Check in and head off for some beers.

    Plus great pizza.

    With a red wine to accompany the pizza.

    We gave this fella a few bucks and he took us around town for a pub tour

    Monday morning and time to head back to the big Durian (AKA Bangkok).

    Years ago when at Siem Reap.. We did the tour one day and rocked up on bicycles the next day.
    They let us ride around for free on the 2nd day, but we couldn't go in to the temples.
    Thought we would give that a try again.. But no go.. not too disappointed anyway.
    The crowds getting in were crazy and we would have only had temple pics with all the tourists in the photo's.

    So we head back to Bangkok

    The road from Siem Reap to Poipet is pretty rough in parts.. Too much traffic and poor quality road..
    Quite cut up, but still doable on a road bike.. Just have to watch the potholes and road works, not to mention the crazy Cambo driving.

    Arrive at immigration / customs in Poipet.. The fella offers to go and do the paper work for us.
    I politely say no, we will do it.. (Which you need to have finger prints and photo taken, so not sure what he was going to do).

    No hassle from them.. you could see they were trying to think of something to make a few bucks.

    Then over to the Thailand side

    We had a bit of a hiccup here. At Chom Jom they didn't give us any conveyance paper work.. Just see you later with the customs form.
    I should have known better.. Will put this down to flu and drugs too…

    The fella was not very happy.. explained in English. That didn't help
    Then in Thai.. they were immediately more friendly and listened..

    To cut a long story short.. We had to complete the conveyance forms there and then.
    I guess they just needed the right bits of paper to show they were doing their job properly.

    All friendly with old mate at the end.

    It is amazing what gets pushed and pulled across this bordering crossing

    Before this, the same type of setup.. but with blue tarp and water with live fish swimming around.
    some what hilarious.. as one of the cops came up and started telling them off for the water that was spilling on the road.
    It smelt like a brothel.. Fish water every where and drying sun.. You get the idea..

    In the end.. everyone listened to the cop rant a bit.. then all laughing.. Like really.. how can we stop the water sloshing around.

    All across and back in Thailand… Now the scenic way back to Bangkok.. Great ride and managed to avoid most of the big highways.

    That is our Bangkok Weekend Warriors long weekend to Cambo in a nutshell.


    Both our photo's are used in this report.
    Petrol is only $1.03 up country but near the border at Poipet.. $1.30
  22. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    What an adventure, all that riding, and site seeing in only 3 days.

    Funny how they give you an AZ47 to hold, when the area is so sensitive. Imagine what would have happened if you had accidently pulled the trigger.

    Brilliant report, and great photos. The temple is far more impressive that I thought it would have been.

  23. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Very true Rex..
    Tony said today that he read somewhere they were taking shots at each other again last week.

    One person injured and shooting for 30 mins or so..

    When we were there.. All I could see was 2 dogs running around in the minefield / other side of barbed wire.
    Couldn't see any soldiers.. Guess they know where each others bunkers are and shoot in the general direction

    Also surprised they let me go down that far.. No one really policing where you could and couldn't go
    The barbed wire would stop you..

  24. Renzobkk

    Renzobkk Ol'Timer

    Great Ride Brian!
    I am very happy to see that you get along with my...."former babe" :lolno:

    Very soon, let's meet for lunch, because would like to create an itinerary for 7 days in Cambodia and I am definitely going to need your help.
    Stay happy!
  25. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    G'day Renzo,

    Look forward to lunch.
    Now up in Lao for a week. Let's catch up after.

    Only a couple of rides in cambo under my belt.
    Sure we can fill any gaps from the gt-riders that contribute to this forum.


    please pm me your email or phone number.
  26. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    A rather neat Google Earth image of Preah Vihear and the surrounding area.

    Attached files [​IMG]

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