Sihanoukville to Koh Kong

Discussion in 'Cambodia Road Trip Reports' started by Steve P, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Steve P

    Steve P New Member

    Sihanoukville to BKK through the Koh Kong border Crossing
    2560 KMs on our Super Tenere
    Rhodie and I had done 2000 KMs from BKK into Laos and then down through Cambodia to Phnom Penh (see Rhodie’s report for this bit. He’s a real Journo and his stuff is readable..!) My girlfriend, Jay joined me in PP. We left Rhodie there to go down to Sinaokville. His plan was to travel back up north to Battembang and then go back to Thailand through Poipet (although that changed). Having done the Poipet thing only 3 weeks before on a trip to Siem Reap Jay and I wanted to try another route through the Koh Kong border crossing.
    So we went down to Sinoukville from PP a 240 km easy ride apart from getting a soaking for the last 100 kms. Slowed down as we passed the turn off to Koh Kong to see if we could get an indication of conditions as the reports and gossip I had read and heard made it sound difficult especially in the wet season. The road looked like many of the roads under construction in Cambodia, compacted red dirt with some flat bits and some potholed areas. Thought it looked like worth giving it a go especially seeing a few Toyota Mini buses and Honda Dreams heading off that way in the five minutes we were there and it was pissing it down at the time...! So, off we went to spend a couple of days in Sihannoukville quite excited of the prospect of getting through to Thailand without having to go all the way back up country..
    Rolled into Sihanoukville and headed for Serendipity Beach which is actually just one end of Ocheanelle beach. We got pulled over by a security guard armed with pea whistle who directed us to a couple of officials sitting at a small desk at the side of the road. They said we didn’t have the current required sticker which I think was a sort of road tax. Anyway the charge was $4 which I thought was OK and better than doing 20 press ups which the locals had to do when they were stopped without the same little red sticker..!
    Headed for Coasters which had a nice sound to it from the Lonely Planet and actually turned out to be a really nice place to spend a couple of nights. Nice bar on the beach, good food and T.V and Fridge in the room although at $20 a night a little bit pricey which was our general consensus on Sihanoukville, beer being my benchmark cost / value indicator. ($1.50 for a Heineken small bottle..)
    Anyway, bought a couple of additional tools for my fairly frugal toolkit and 10 meters of nylon rope in case needed a tow out of the shit..! Set of at 7.30 am to get a full day in as owner of Coasters speculated could be a 12 hour journey although he did say that was only usually caused by bottlenecks where the minivans had got stuck and needed to wait for something with more clearance and traction to tow them out.

    Got the first easy 100 k out of the way and filled up and had breakfast at roadside stall at Andoung Tuek, the turnoff for Koh Khong. Left here at 9.30am not really knowing what to expect.

    I would say that 60 % of the road is easy riding, i.e. flat solid surface that you can do about 80 km/hr on and enjoy the scenery, which is beautiful. The other 40% lies in the category of great fun to downright exhausting… the exhausting bits are especially so with a fully laden bike including passenger, remember that the Tenere is heavy to start with…! The challenging stuff is where there is half a meter deep mud and rocks with semi rigid truck tracks that can sometimes help but more often force you to slow down to a crawl or risk dropping the lot. I can see why it could be impassable with heavy sustained rain as there are areas that could easily be under a meter of water. We were lucky in that while it hade rained in the previous days and a lot of it was still on the road, we had only a few showers on the day. The only stuff that might take a fella by surprise is the road that looks like all the rest but happens to have a hard surface under a half inch of loose clay like shit that can wake you up when the front wheel suddenly feels like it’s not there ! Typically with Cambodian road construction projects, there are intermittent stretches of tarmac. These are a joy as you can put a few kms behind you and have a rest before the next bit of motocross track..! Other milestones on the road are the 4 river crossings to negotiate. The first one at Srae Ambel is the easiest with the option of a car ferry or the standard m/c ferry with a couple of 4 metre fishing boats held together with the platform that you ride your bike onto and then prey it all holds together. We opted for the car ferry as it was leaving right away and it was only $3 for us and the bike. Of course this was the inflated farang price but while I don’t want to push up the prices for other bikers coming through these crossing, I always find the guys so helpful and the bridges are being built while we cross so I don’t mind paying a little extra towards their forced retirement. All the ride on and off points for the ferrys are a mud bath due to the high volume of traffic but as I said the guys will give you a hand so you probably don’t end up in the drink..!
    The other three crossings are at Andoung Tuek, Trapeang Rung and Peam Krasoap. Being approximately evenly spaced on the road, I found that these stops made nice breaks to ease the weary bones and prepare for the next leg. Also, good fun watching various forms of transport negotiate the entry and exit from the ferrys.
    We met the Thai road construction supervisor whilst having a smoke break on one of the big open stretches. He was a real nice guy who gave us fair warning of what was up ahead. He was heading home to his house at the side of the road at about 60 KMs from the border. He did this ride a couple of times a week at least and it was heartening to know he does it on his trusty Honda Dream…..! We tracked each other for about 50 kms during which his rear wheel became loose and the chain came off, locking the whole thing up and bringing him to a graceful 30 meter sliding stop. I knew I brought the tool kit for a reason.
    The last 10 km is tarmac and there’s a great spot about 5kms out from Koh Kong where you can stop and go down to the river, sit on the side with your feet in the water and pat yourself on the back for your grand achievement…
    Border control was a doddle with relaxed and friendly guys on both sides. The Thai immigration and customs were up on the required paperwork so just make sure you have it with you.
    The dash up to Chantaburi was a joy back on fast Thai roads and having a beer in the Riverside Hotel, (350 baht / night, secure parking and hot shower) by 7.30pm. Could have done the whole trip in a lot less time but it was good to take the time and enjoy the scenery and the ride.
    The road is scheduled to be completed in 10 months according to our friendly road supervisor so I would recommend you guys give it a go before it becomes just another stretch of tarmac, albeit through some beautiful scenery. Oh, and do it in the rainy season, it’s definitely good fun and a rewarding ride.
    The bike was great and the whole trip was a great “getting to know you” exercise as this is my first Tenere and I had not really ridden a bike since a ZXR750 15 years ago back in the UK. Anyway, enjoyed it so much we were planning the next trip on the way back.
    Back to BKK after a day of rest with Jay’s family. The last hour into BKK being the only frustrating 10 kms of a great 2500 km ride. Well you know what Bangkok traffic is, a big rot tit.
    Oh, and sorry for the lack of pictures...our camera is crap..!
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  3. juddadredd

    juddadredd Member

    Hi, Drove the same on the 22nd Aug 2006

    Bike honda Baja 250cc
    Experience Beginner
    Load Heavy 80kg of Baggage
    Time taken about 6 hours inc ferry's

    This road is a killer for the begginer, as it had not rained for two days I was lucky that I timed it just right. The roads were still pretty slick and deep melting rutts made life quite hard going. I had a great time slipping and sliding around in the mud fun factor KILLER, I arrived at Kong knackered out and ready for bed.

    I only paid $1 per ferry crossing, as I said I was also coming back that way after I had been to the border. :)

    Again this route needs to be travelled before the road is completed just to say "YOU DID IT!"
  4. David Knight

    David Knight New Member

    Just rode from Phnom Penh to Ko Khong and then back again via Kampot with a run up Bokor thrown in over a long weekend (1-3 December). The road between Srae Ambel and Koh Kong was dry and bascially VERY straight forward. If it was not for the river crossings and the scenery it would have been quite boring. We were on dirt bikes, but a 650/750 dual purpose would have been the ticket and I think that in another year a r1100gs would be the go. Such is the rate of change in Cambodia's road system.... Next time we will make our way there via Kirirom. Cat's guest house in Koh Kong deserves a plug - just opposite the main pier for the S'ville ferry service. Cat is a Thai girl trying to make a go of it in Koh Khong and was up, as she promised, at 6am to make us big breakfats despite being up drinking with customers till 1am. Sevice with a big smile.
  5. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    went thru KK to Snooky on 25-03-07

    90% of road is sealed

    Still some dirt bits between 1st and 2nd river crossing


    Bridges over 1st and 4th river span all the way across but not open yet

  6. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer

    Hi all

    Anybody did the Kho Kong road recently.
    Is it still a passable road or a mess after heavy rains have started.
    Any bridgees already opened.
    Last year the road was closed for 9 days as river's level went up so much that all ferries stopped operation.
    So be warned.
    Any update welcome
  7. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    Phillipe, others
    A friend of mine went through to Koh Kong last weekend
    Road is in good condition, apparently mostly sealed and has held up well to the wet season so far.....unlike previous years when it got washed away.
    Bridges not open to public yet
    4th river crossing closest to Koh Kong used to be a quagmire in the wet season but they have re-routed the road/track to allow better drainage so its OK now.
  8. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    Hi all,
    We're in Sihanoukville on the 25th October to ride to Bangkok on the buell, then ship back to Brisbane, how's the road? Anyone in the area at that time?
    Chris and Nat
  9. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    I went thru 27-09-07
    Last bridge (koh Kong end ) is open
    Road is sealed all the way although remaining 3 ferry crossings have short dirt road approaches.
    Second ferry crossing (coming from route 4 turnoff) has 50-100meters of deep mud on the KK side approach.
    Its been raining very heavily lately and I reckon by Oct 25 it should be much improved....unless we get abnormally wet October.
    Apart from that small section, its smooth sailing all the way
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Unbelievable - you're back again.
    What happened to your trip last time?
    Please tell as there's quite a few of us interested to know.
    Probably the Genghis Khan Master Plan to conquer S E Asia on a Buell did not quite work out & we were all left in the dark. I think that your last post was I can't believe the people i dealt with and the one's encountered in these stories are in the same countries!

    so what happened? Were both of you & the bike ok?
  11. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    HI David, Yep, we ran out of time, then left the bike at a Mate's hotel (The Oasis) in Sihanoukville to return and continue, time and the border crossing troubles at Vietnam/China/Burma mean we're landlocked so we're bringing the bike back to Oz. My job is defining our movements but hopefully we'll return to live in the Krabi region fulltime. We've bought a small yacht and are living in it at Dampier in WA, having a few sea-borne adventures at the moment. The promised trip report will get there as soon as we get the bike out and the story has a conclusion, Natalie is in charge and she's directing some time that way.
  12. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    PS, there's an implication in your reply that I'd buggered up with biting off more than I could handle and hid, not likely, just very busy and Nat's better at storytelling/typing than me! My aplogies again for not being quicker with a trip report but I work in remote locations and long hours,
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    No implication was intended that "you'd buggered up with biting off more than you could handle and hid."
    But myself & a few others were quite "stunned" that you simply disappeared off the planet (message board) sort of mid trip.
    I wondered what happened to you, but you never answered any emails & I dont think you website bratinfo was / is operating.
    You were last heard of in Laos & I even checked with the Aussie embassy to see you'd had any trouble - but zilch.
    Now all of this was a bit alarming considering the barrage of emails & input you had on the board at the start, when you needed help, info & feed back on your master plan. We still dont know what happened!

    But now you're back after a break of 9 months & need more info. It would be great to see you / Nat finish off your trip report, to share the info that we all need / want.

    I & many others on this board work in remote locations and long hours, but try to make the time to contribute & help each other.
  14. brat

    brat Ol'Timer

    Hi David, I'm the registered contact for a few websites and as such my old email address has been heavily spammed, my new address is a lot less widely broadcast, my apologies for not updating my contact on this site and for any alarm created I had thought we'd provided more info than what was here.

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