Trip to Cardamom mountains in November 09

Discussion in 'Cambodia Road Trip Reports' started by bard, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Planning a trip entering Cambodia in Pailin province going South through Cardamom mountains and down to Koh Kong then S'Ville. If time permits return through Bokor to Phom Phen then maybe Ankor Wat or Battambang or what have we.

    Probably be 4+ going on 250's - 400 and 650/690 dirtbikes anyone who want to join on the tour? It will be a blast, so join in...

    Cheers Bard :D
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  3. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Confirmed list is this

    Bard Honda XR440R
    Johnny Kawasaki KLX250
    Landon Rental 250 from Phom Phen
    Simon Rental 250 from Phom Phen

    Anyone else who want to join either on own bike or rental from Cambodia give a signal so we can prepare for it.

    Cheers Bard
  4. mikehohman

    mikehohman Ol'Timer

    Have you set the dates for the trip? Sounds like a great ride!
  5. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Yes the riders with bikes from Thailand will meet up at a resort in Pong Nam Ron the 22nd of November and pop over the border and meet up with the guys on rentals from Cambodia in Pailin, Will be a 7 day ride if we go conservative on it, and some of us might extend the ride after that.

    The guys on rentals will fly over to Cambodia and meet up with MuddyMick then leave Phom Phen the 22nd and meet up at Pailin.

    We will go from Pailin to Osom on day one (23rd)

    Osom and try to hit Koh Kong day 2 (24th) This might take longer

    Koh Kong to Kirirom

    Kirirom via Bokor to Kep or S'Ville

    Kep or S'Ville - Phom Phen where we will meet up with Unicef and document and try to hand over charity to them.

    Then the rental guys will fly back to Thailand, while the guys on Thai bikes might ride home or continue, this is something we will decide later as time constraint will decide this.

    Hope you can join us, it will be an awesome ride.

    Cheers Bard
  6. mikehohman

    mikehohman Ol'Timer

    Shite. It does sound like a great trip, the problem is i have to work. The good news is i have 2 weeks off. The bad news is that they are both in December. December 5-12, and Dec 25 to Jan 3.

    Are you planning a similar trip during any of those times? Do you know if anyone else is?

    Will ask the boss about moving 1 of the weeks to Nov., but i don't think that will fly...

  7. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    I am on man, I am free all of December and January so I'll join you if you can't do the Nov 23rd ride. It's a good group going then and it would be easiest, but I'm always up for a ride.

    Cross my fingers for Nov. 23 for you, if not we can plan out a new trip.

    Cheers Bard
  8. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    Have you researched with the local offroad tour operators on the expected water levels through the Cardomons in November ?
    Are some of the rivers passable that time of year or do you intend to carry or float the bikes across on makeshift rafts.
  9. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Yes, I was thinking the same - Why do it at the end of the rainy season? Reports from people riding at the start in the rainy season indicate grueling conditions in the mud as well as high rivers.

    See for instance ... t4124.html (North Cambo) and ... t1263.html (Cardamom). The latter is at the end of the dry season and the ruts will be considerable worse than shown on the pictures.

    Then again I am sticking to 4-wheels so I may not know what I am talking about :lol:.
  10. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    End of November should be good...

    We have been in contact with local operators, should some rivers be too high still we will float the bikes over, got geared up for it. Would be a blast to do so, noting is grueling just a challenge, and as more of a challenge as more adventure and fun it is :D

    Can't wait to get fired up on the trip...
  11. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    OK Got the participation list;

    Mick - XR250
    Bard - XR440R (Pikeys old bike)
    Simon - Djebel250
    Landon -Djebel250
    Frank - KTM690 (rebuilt for offroad)
    Johnny - KLX250

    As the trip will be published in Bike Magazines, we have to wait until it's been in print for the full tour report to be posted. The money they pay goes to Charity for UNICEF and CMAG in Cambodia. We get about 12,000,- Baht per page per magazine.

    We also have a few sponsors already, but hope to get more as it will go to Charity. So if someone want to sponsor to the charity, or persons who want to contribute to the charity please PM me. Sponsors will get media coverage in Bike magazines without saying as we will put on stickers and put them up in the Charity list in the bike magazines.
  12. andy_bkk

    andy_bkk Member

    Sounds like a great trip, I'd love to go but there is no way I can be in cambodia around that time. If there is anything similar being organized late in the dry season (April), I'd be up for it.
  13. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Wet season ends by end of October, we will be a close to it and I hope it won't be to muddy. If it is, we spend more time doing.

    April... Too early to say yet, but I think February and or March will be good timing for more of this for me. Hope we can arrange another tour again when you can join it will be a heap of fun.

    Right now we are 7 participants
  14. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    Would be happy to help you arrange a trip for April, guide you if need be, mail me or pm me on this site, Also guiding the Charity Ride. Will arrange you the ride from hell if thats what you want...... :twisted:
  15. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Hmmmm. Muddy time with mates, mayhem, 'n bikes, sounds a hoot. Sign me up. I'll be crossing from Thailand.
  16. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Awesome the more the merrier.

    Will meet you at the border from Thailand with the rest of the guys. Mud mayhem too good to pass...

    Cheers Bard
  17. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Meet you at the border? :D Maybe read this part from a message from Hiko ( ... t2295.html) and make sure that all those who will meet at the border know where to meet :wink:

    We crossed the border from Thailand to Cambodia at the �lower� Pailin border (Pong Nam Ron on the Thai side and Prum on the Cambodian side) This border is quite pleasant almost no traffic and seldom any visa buses. To get to this border you turn right in Pong Nam Ron from road 317 to road 3193 and then you take the second big road to right and the border. If You continue the same road you will end up at the �upper� Pailin border at Baen Laem where most of the visa buses go.

    The border crossing here is quite easy. The immigration boss speaks good English and is very helpful when he �melts� up. The customs is not very used to bikes but the telephone for advice to their former boss who is now in charge for Had Lek (Klong Yai) and he is a nice guy.
  18. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    Hi Auke,

    Good tip as there are several crossings in the area.

    The one we talk about is calle Ban Phakkad


    And correctly you Follow 3193 and the take off to the border is right at Khlong Yai, depending on which way you come from. The take off to the border is just South of Khlong Yai.

    Meetup at 09:00 as some will ride from a bit away.

    Cheers Bard
  19. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Hi Bard,

    Yes, that is what Hiko calls the lower Pailin crossing (the Pong Nam Ron / Klong Yai / Ban Phakard to Prum crossing) as it is the shortest way to Pailin from the Thai border.

    Will send the Cambodia GPS map probably on Sunday as there are a few details which need to be changed.
  20. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    First of all when I arrived home in high anticipation for the tour, I literally jumped on my XR and tried to kick it to life… 200 kicks later there were no way this would happen, I was in a very down state in just 7 days we would go on a major adventure ride and my bike would not even start… SHIT…

    The very next day the pulling apart the bike to figure out why it would not start started. The carburetor was pulled apart and wow it was completely clogged with yellow hardened crap… Last rider obviously used Gasohol on it, well a major cleaning was done, checked the valves, which were off. And kicked it, success she started again. Rode it around and was happy, then the job started to change the damaged rims, new IMS 4 gallon fuel tank, and air filter to a new “twin airâ€
  21. harrythefinn

    harrythefinn Ol'Timer

    Must say it was a good group, every one pitched in to help where they could. Every one having a laugh and not taking things too serious. I had not ridden with the group before and they made me fell welcome and I have hopefully made some good riding buddies for the future.

    I was impressed by Johnny on his first real offroad ride ( probably not the last). And lets not forget Frank who did it all on a KTM 690 SM, boy can he ride. He probably has the record for the first ever SM through the cardomoms. I soon learnt not to stay too close to his rear end especially power drifting on the gravel.

    Justin keeping the front clear and popping wheelies at will to amuse the locals. Bard keeping discipline in the pack and trying to find an electric start in the jungle for his XR.

    For anyone going on the Cardomoms all the deeply rutted big hills have been bulldozed flat.(the ruts I mean). The challenging bits are still there on the old track and between Pailin and Prumoi.

    One thing to remember is that road conditions offroad in Cambodia can change daily. The bridge there yesterday might not be there tomorrow.

    Bard, what about the ice cream man? Franks' puff of dust and arms and legs? Johnnys missile muffler? Spice of life, ride fast not safe.
  22. johnnysneds

    johnnysneds Ol'Timer

    Great trip report Bard. Wish I was still doing it, what an experience and cant wait to do it again.
    A great team effort by all involved, morale was through the roof. Even the wee Yank (Frodo Baggins) was entertaining, the wheelie king of the tour for sure. Father figure Harry the Fin was always present when I needed a nut or bolt to carry out on the go repairs. Whenever I crashed and burned, every-time I picked my face out of the dirt and turned around, there he was "its ok son, you'll live". A fella abundant with off-road experience. I also have to take a bow to Frank. When I first saw your tires before the trip I have to admit to having a wee snigger, 1 day tops and big Frank will be finished. Dude you were frickin awesome. Every challenge that we encountered Frank powered through with ease on his KTM 690 "SUPERMOTO" with SLICK tires, sick mate absolutely SICK. And Bard many thanks for organising it, it wouldn't have happened if you hadnt put so much effort in, appreciate it mate, kudos to you. Nice wee race we had at the end.
    And for me, well I just crashed into everything and loved every moment of it. The KLX is now well and truly run in. Suppose to keep it under 4,000rpm for 1,600 Km, hmmmm.....didnt see much under 9,000 rpm out the box. Im not a big fan of Kawasaki's, but the wee 250 done me proud. Only failures was luggage rack coming loose, rear sprocket coming loose and exhaust falling apart about three times, when it fell off for the last time narrowly missing Franks head I decided to continue home without it leaving it at the side of the road and sounding like a Lancaster bomber, my ears are still bleeding. All these failed parts were aftermarket and dont point the finger at Kawasaki.
    All in all what a fantastic adventure this trip will stay close to me til the day die.

  23. mikehohman

    mikehohman Ol'Timer

    Looks like a great ride! Thanks for sharing the photos, i really enjoyed them.

  24. cdrw

    cdrw Ol'Timer


    Bard and Johnny, neither of whom I've never met, had provided my with details of the planned Cardamom ride, however I later backed out being concerned about the weather and water levels. Alas.

    After reading about all the problems with the initial 'guided' tour it was wonderful to read Bard's report of those who successfully completed the intended journey. Thanks for the report and pictures!!

    Ahh...regrets! :)
  25. dancingroads

    dancingroads Active Member

    sorry about that cdrw!

    But great to hear that those who rode the full trip got through safely, and good news about that new bridge :)
  26. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Awesome write-up Bard.

    All I can say is what a trip. Anytime you meet a new group there will always be those you wish were not a part of the group. This bunch of tarts had none of those in the group. All were super fun, easy going and enthusiastic. A great chemistry was soon developed and the miles were eaten with (dusty and muddy)smiles. All were great people despite Johnnys penchant for ladies with strange characteristics. I reckon they were jealous of my featherweight frame meaning less mass to haul through the jungle despite its inability to touch the ground. This caused great glee for the group as I made sure to fall over or have close calls in most river crossings. Their penchant for exaggeration is apparent as those that know me are welll aware of my wheelieing inability.

    Here's hoping Frank is having a hell of a time in Chiang Mai during biike week. That man is king. I thought after the third mudhole Frank would have the bike parkd. No way that nutter was on the throttle ,rear tire always doing twice the mileage as the front as it spun the whole trip, f-ing sideways everywhere. Great job mate.
    And a special thanks for towing the KTM into pailin.

    Sorry Bard and Harry had business to attend to back home and could not contine the ride. So far having a blast. Rode some great singletrack trails from Stung Treng to Tbean Menchaey that you boys would of loved, through national parks etc. Also managed to choose a not so wonderful track trying to get from Kratie to Kampong Thom which ended up with me beaten, knackered, and spent 13 KM before my destination when the trail came across an eight foot deep gorge that was 15 feet across. Un ablw to get across i had to backtrack and ended up spending the night with a monk in some rural temple near Sambor. Joy. I spent the night dreaming of the lass from Koh Kong.

    Hoping to hook up with you boys on a future ride sometime when the schedules get free.

    Harri glad you gave me the $300 to buy your bags with when I'm in the states next month. Already spent a third of it and not even into Laos yet, haha.

    Talk to you boys once I land back in Thailand.

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