Christmas Road Trip #1 - PP-Kampot-Sihanoukville-Koh Kong-Cardamoms-Pursat-PP

Discussion in 'Cambodia Road Trip Reports' started by MartinJR, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. MartinJR

    MartinJR Member

    My wife and I did a road trip around Cambodia over Christmas/New Years, clocking up around 3000km all up. Mostly pretty tame roads, but a great trip nonetheless.

    We started by heading to Kampot from Phnom Penh. We took Highway 2 until just before Takeo, where we turned right to link up with Highway 3 for 7km or so, where we then turned left onto the back road which sweeps around to the coast and comes in past Kep to Kampot. The roads were great all the way down and very scenic, with the exception of the last 15km into Kampot which was just a potholed, dusty nightmare. There are some great little side roads screaming out to be explored and also some very quiet beaches if you turn left between the Ha Tien turn off and Kampot.

    [​IMG] On the road to Kampot.

    We stayed in Kampot for a couple of very relaxing days at the Green House, which is easy to find - from riverside in town go over the bridge and turn right. Follow the river for 8-10km and it is on your right. It is a stunning spot with a great swimming hole out the front and good food.

    From Kampot, we headed to Sihanuokville via Bokor Mountain. The new road up there is a motorcyclists wet dream, with 35km of sweeping turns, hairpins, nice straights and nearly no traffic! It costs $0.25 to use the road (from memory), and the views at the top are well worth it! The day w went up there it was very windy, to the point where it was hard to stand up in places, but the road was fairly sheltered from this except right up on top. It was also bloody cold, so put on a few extra layers before heading up. The good thing about the wind was that it had blown all the clouds away, with amazing views from the top (if you ignore th heinous casino being built up there):

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    An old house halfway up Bokor. _________________The original casino has been re-rendered. ________ The views were stunning!

    Heading back down, we turned right at the bottom of the road and headed towards Sihanoukville. When we got to the T-junction with Highway 4 instead of turning left towards Sihanoukville we turned right, following the road for 2km or so before turning left at a junction with a small monument in the middle. This road took us through some great scenery down to the coast then more or less followed the shore around to the back of Sihanoukville through the port and Hun Sen beach. The road was in rubbish shape for the first half but this was due to road works. It was a great way to avoid the chaos of Highway 4.

    After spending Christmas in Sihanoukville and a trip out to Koh Ta Kiev on Boxing Day, we headed to Koh Kong.

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    [​IMG] Koh Ta Kiev.

    Heading up Highway 4 to the Koh Kong turnoff was predictably chaotic, but the road from the junction through to Koh Kong was quiet and the scenery great, with national parks, rivers and mountains lending a nice backdrop to a good road.

    In Koh Kong we found two really nice places that are definitely worth a visit. One was Oasis bungalows which has 5 bungalows and an infinity pool which opens straight out onto the mangroves with the Cardamom Mountains in the background. The other was Koh Yer beach. This beach was deserted except for the wife and I the day we went. White sand, shady trees and a couple of crab shacks made for a perfect day doing nothing at the beach. To get there, you head over the toll bridge from Koh Kong town. When you get to the roundabout a few km's up, instead of going right to the Thai border, you head left along a dirt road which takes you down to the beach where there are a couple of crab shacks that you can park up at:

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    Oasis Bungalows._____________________________ Koh Yer beach.

    After a day and a bit chilling out in Koh Kong it was off into the Cardamoms. From the Independence Monument we headed 6 or 7km East before turning left into the hills. From here you just follow your nose. The couple of times we took wrong turns there were soldiers on the roads we turned down who quickly showed us the right way! There are new dams being built right up through here so the first 90km was good, graded dirt road. There are a few spots where you can drop off the road and go for a swim, although the dam work had left the river pretty murky. It is a good idea to take it easy on this section as the trucks going to and from the dam fly through here and quite happily cut the corners at speed! After the last lot of dam stuff, the road worsens, but nothing that my first-time-out-of-town-on-a-bike wife couldn't handle easily. A river ford, a ramshackle bridge crossing, some great scenery and some very empty wide open spaces later and we pulled into Veal Veng for the night. We stayed at the guesthouse about 500m East of the traffic circle which was good as we could park the bikes right at the door of our room. Also in Veal Veng we replaced a broken clutch cable (which thankfully broke right in town a our spare was not the right kind - lesson learnt!) at a mechanic shop about 500m South of the traffic circle on the left hand side heading out of town.

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    On the road.______________________ One of the many dams being built. ______________Local-built bridge. _________________ On the road.

    [​IMG] On top of the Cardamoms.

    From Veal Veng it was an easy 100km out to Pursat on a dirt road in good condition and then an uneventful trip down Highway 5 to Phnom Penh for New Years Eve and some repairs to my bike before heading out on Part 2 of the trip. A great trip with some fantastic stops along the way.
     
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  3. hawaiianbrians

    hawaiianbrians Ol'Timer

    Very nice report and pictures, looking forward to Part II. Thanks!
     
  4. MartinJR

    MartinJR Member

    Thanks Brian. I've posted Part 2 - Hope you enjoy!
     

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