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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. 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.

    Enjoy!!



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

    '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.
    P1020812.

    Adrian, ready for trouble in our first (and only) night in the Khmer captial (trouble redacted)
    P1020261.

    Hey Jim, the kick stand is on the OTHER side of the bike.... (you can see that the stand is down already....)
    P1020343.

    Where is Jim?
    P1020289.

    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.
    P1020395.

    Breakfast is coffee, some roast pork, egg, and rice. Quite nice!
    P1020402.

    Village Women & Children
    P1020417.

    A young girl who sold us some desperately needed water
    P1020363.

    Adrian presses the flesh with some local dignataries, stumbling home from a pre New Year's party
    P1020466.

    La Java Bleue, our base camp in Kampot for 3 nights
    P1020495.

    My Timberlands, end Day 2
    P1020500.

    Our bikes, moring of Day 3
    P1020487.

    Monks watching the beachgoers in Kep
    P1020521.

    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
    P1020559.

    Kampot River, and the old bridge
    P1020597.

    Rusty Keyhole after dark
    P1020618.

    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...)
    P1020629.

    Kampot River Delta. The town is just upriver (left) from the split in the river at center left.
    P1020705-2.

    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)
    P1020710.

    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.
    P1020668.

    Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino
    P1020637.

    Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino
    P1020665.

    The Grand Ballroom
    P1020660.

    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.
    P1020679.

    Tropical jungle below the Hill Station
    P1020680.

    P1020690.

    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.
    P1020691.

    The old bridge in Kampot (the other bridge is called, as you might have guessed, the new bridge).
    P1020723.

    Golden temple rising from the water palms
    P1020735-2.

    Along the Kampot River
    P1020738.

    Kampot River view near sunset
    P1020753.

    Kampot River view near sunset
    P1020773.

    Tradional Khmer farmhouse
    P1020795.

    Khmer fisherman
    P1020798.
     
  2. Well that looked to be a blast. Great picture quality too. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. 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.
    Cheers
    Tom
     
  4. Great stuff.
    Heading there at year's end & am now keener than ever.
     
  5. 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!

    Mike
     
  6. 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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