5 Days Dirt Biking west of Phnom Penh, Kampot and Kep. A blast!

Discussion in 'Cambodia Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by mikehohman, May 1, 2011.

  1. mikehohman

    mikehohman Ol'Timer

    My friends Adrian, Jim and I went riding in Cambodia for 5 days over Songkran. If you want to ride over Songkran and want to avoid all the water nonsense, then Cambodia is a perfect destination. We had an absolute blast! Can wait to go back and get some more.

    Here is a video of the trip, and some photos follow.


    Map of our 5 Day trip to Cambodia for Songkran (Thai and Khmer New Year), April 10-15, 2011

    'The Bike Shop', where we rented our XR 250 Bajas. It's run by French expat Bernie Merklen, who had a small but memorable part in the 2002 Matt Dillon thriller 'City of Ghosts', the climatic scene of which was shot at Bokor Hill Station.

    Adrian, ready for trouble in our first (and only) night in the Khmer captial (trouble redacted)

    Hey Jim, the kick stand is on the OTHER side of the bike.... (you can see that the stand is down already....)

    Where is Jim?

    Bub's place for breakfast. It's 7:00 AM on Day 2 and these gentleman have already finished their breakfast and are watching a movie on the TV.

    Breakfast is coffee, some roast pork, egg, and rice. Quite nice!

    Village Women & Children

    A young girl who sold us some desperately needed water

    Adrian presses the flesh with some local dignataries, stumbling home from a pre New Year's party

    La Java Bleue, our base camp in Kampot for 3 nights

    My Timberlands, end Day 2

    Our bikes, moring of Day 3

    Monks watching the beachgoers in Kep

    A Khmer temple, very similar in style to Thai. Most Khmer are Theravada Buddhists, just like most Thai's, but there are scattered communities of Muslims as well

    Kampot River, and the old bridge

    Rusty Keyhole after dark

    A monument to the noble Durian, the provincial fruit, i guess. This was in the middle of a traffic circle. Unlike Thailand, Cambodia makes regular and efficient use of the roundabout (and they drive on the right...)

    Kampot River Delta. The town is just upriver (left) from the split in the river at center left.

    New Year's Day holiday makers stop for photos on the road up to Bokor Hill Station - the road is only open on Khmer holidays, and April 14th is the Khmer New Year (the day after Songkran, Thailand's New Year)

    The ruined Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino, floating on the clouds at Bokor Hill Station. Built by the French in the 1920's, the site was one of the last strongholds of Khmer Rouge in the 1990's.

    Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino

    Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino

    The Grand Ballroom

    The Hotel was built on the edge of an escarpment in the 'Elephant Mountains' west of Kampot, about 1,000 feet up. It offered stunning views and a cool escape from the tropical heat below.

    Tropical jungle below the Hill Station


    The old Catholic Church near the hotel. Government and Khmer Rouge soldiers would battle each other between the Hotel and Church, often switching sides from time to time. The site might make an excellent map for the next release of Call of Duty.

    The old bridge in Kampot (the other bridge is called, as you might have guessed, the new bridge).

    Golden temple rising from the water palms

    Along the Kampot River

    Kampot River view near sunset

    Kampot River view near sunset

    Tradional Khmer farmhouse

    Khmer fisherman
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  3. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Well that looked to be a blast. Great picture quality too. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Tom Forde

    Tom Forde Ol'Timer

    Great report Mike,
    I was there in 2004 with big Robert H and his brother Mark.
    Isn't Bokor scary! Aparently it was also used as a movie backdrop.
    Well worth a visit, I may do the same thing next Songkran.
  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Great stuff.
    Heading there at year's end & am now keener than ever.
  6. mikehohman

    mikehohman Ol'Timer

    Yeah, Robert H was supposed to come on this trip with me, but couldn't make it at last moment. Too bad for him! What a great place to ride, can't wait to go back. Songkran seems like a good time to go, there is zero waterplay, so that's not an issue. Was riding around Phnom Penh on the 14th (their New Year's Day) and all the women were out wearing their finest and taking flowers to the temples. Very pretty, and seems quite civilized after a couple years in Thailand... Also, Bokor is only open on Holidays, another good reason to go at Songkran. The ride up is awesome too, the road is immaculate, except for about 20% of it which is still dirt. It must be the most well built road in Cambodia. Serious fun to ride (although better on a sport bike for sure). I was trying to make a video of the whole ride up but my damn SD card filled up about half way up.

    Thanks everyone for your comments, hope you enjoyed the video and pix!

  7. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    Nice report Mike

    I'm told Bokor will be open year round as from November 2011, that's the plan anyway.
    The old road used to be a great offroad track.
    As of Songkran 2010,(last time I was up there) there was still a 17km offroad track that ran along the top of the plateau.
    Agree, the new road is one of the best in Cambodia and will be excellent for sportbike/tourers.

    How was your stay in Kampot. I have a shophouse across the road from where you stayed. Hoping the tourism in the area will pickup so I can do something with it.

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