Looking for Advice: 28 days on dirt through Cambodia

Discussion in 'Cambodia - General Discussion Forum' started by xen, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. I am planning a trip to Cambodia for 28 days from late mid-late March to mid-late April. And am after any advice/GPS maps/etc.

    I am doing the tour alone on an XR250. Which I know is rather dumb to do it alone but I don't have anyone to go with and can't afford $200ish a day for a private guide. Plus I am a bit of a loner!
    Having said that, if anyone is planning to do some dirt biking in Cambodia around the same time let me know, and we might be able to work something out.

    The route I am planning is:
    Phnom Penh -> Kampong Thom -> Sambor Prei -> Preah Khan -> Beng Melea -> Koh Ker -> Preah Vihear -> Anlong Veng -> Siem Reap -> Sisophon -> Banteay Chmar -> Battambang -> Cardamom Mountains -> Koh Kong -> Sihanoukville -> Kampot -> Phnom Penh


    I'll be taking along with the normal travel stuff.
    Garmin GPSMAP 60CX with a free map of Cambodia (Not sure of accuracy) and GPS co-ords for all the temples
    EEEPC 8gb with google earth and cache of Cambodia
    Basic first aid Kit
    Water proof container for EEEPC
    Road and Military maps printed and on EEEPC
    Hammock and net
    1x Draggin Jean Cargo Pants & light summer jacket
    Hire safety gear: Helmet/Goggles/Gloves. Not sure about the rest yet. What do people recommend? (MX Boots, Body Armour etc)
    Tool Kit: What should I be bringing??

    Is there anything else I should consider taking?

    I plan to take it reasonable slowly, I'd estimate a good rider not really worry about sights could do the trip in about 14 days. So I've got double that, which gives me time in PP/Siem Reap and plenty of 'safety days'.
    I am planning on staying in towns close to the temples or setting up the hammock near by on most nights.

    I am an experienced road rider and have done a number of track days, and I have done some but limited dirt biking. But I've picked it up pretty quick (doing small jumps on my first day etc) and I'll be doing a 8 days in Thailand on an XR250 on dirt and tarmac which will hopefully get my experience up before I jump into it in Cambodia. It's hard to tell just how hard this route will be, but my theory is I can just turn around if it gets too hard and take the main roads / skip places.

    Any advice people can offer before I go would be great help. Especially any info about condition of the roads or gps tracks of similar routes.

    Thanks guys
  2. Well I would suggest Mondulkiri and up to Ratanakiri to be included in your trip.

    The only dirt sections of your trip are from Kampong Thom-Anlong Veng and they are all pretty good dirt roads. There is even a new road from Preah Khan to Beng Melea.

    Take good boots MX boots are good protection. No need for a jacket at that time of year just a long sleave shirt so you dont gent burnt.

    Cardamom Mountains -kk is the only place that you may find challengeing single tracks.
  3. Ref the tool kit, you need to have enough tools to repair a puncture. Tyre irons (small) , small pump,spare tube/s. If only carrying one, carry a 21" it will also fit in the rear tyre. If you have plenty of time take a puncture patch kit.
    If the bike has no brush guards then take spare levers, you can buy an inner for the clutch cable in Cambo for 3,000 Riel or less. Start with a new chain.If crossing rivers a plug spanner is a must.ALWAYS carry water! A breakdown in the hot sun and you get thirsty quick.

    I travelled there a lot by myself and if you are a reasonable mechanic and not a speed demon you should be OK, but I would hesitate to do the Cardomoms by myself. Some guys have done it. A broken leg or arm in a remote area (Cardomoms has virtually no local traffic) and you are in the shit. The new Chinese road may be open by then and it would be a breeze.

    Just do it.
  4. From the sounds of it, it's an easier ride that I thought. Single tracks are good, so any suggestions of where more can be found is great.

    I originally was planning to include PP -> Kratie -> Sen Monorom -> Banlung -> Stung Streng -> Preah Khan. But wasn't sure if I'd have the time or not. As I want to see the temples not just ride past them :)

    From what you said I take it Route 66 is pretty much gone from the old 'must ride' ox-trails and is not a proper dirt road?
  5. The free gps map from mapcenter2 has been reasonably accurate for me.
    I used it to visit Preah Khan, entering from Stoung on R6 and exiting at Phnum Deik.
    Also used it for TMC to Stung Treng.
    Plenty of sand etc to keep you busy on both those routes.
    I did them solo but would agree that Cardomons should not be done solo.
    Auke, a gt-rider member is the best one to ask regarding the accuracy of the mapcenter maps.

    There's a dirt track linking Preah Khan and Koh Ker temples. Never tried it but would be interested to know if its doable....
  6. The GPS map from Auke is accurate as any other, good for Strung Treng to Tebeng Menchay, and Koh Ker temples, also most of the tracks between Sen Monorom and Ratanakiri. Went on the road from Preah Khan to Koh Ker a few years ago and it was mainly cart track, little sand , easier than the access to the Preah Khan from the Tebeng Menchay road. The road to Koh Ker is good enough for a bus now (also has USD$10 entry fee now).

    Any news on the Chinese road in the Cardomoms?
  7. Thanks on the advice guys.

    I've got hold of a copy of Auke maps from Bert on a Bike (Thanks Bert), but might PM Auke see if he has a more up to date copy.

    My route was based on the roads I could get info about (e.g. looking at the maps, reading about Route 66). I am more interested in dirt, mud, single tracks etc than a flat dirt road. So any advice or GPS co-ords of good riding roads I can take would be great.

    The main aim of the trip is to get in some (very) good riding and see some of the remote temples (which unfortunately aren't so remote anymore). So tracks between temples are good, even if it means I have to backtrack to see them all.

    Any info on some of the remote temples I missed would be good as well. I got some GPS co-ords from Cafe California but I have no idea what they are like (If they are literally just a pile of rocks, if they are one small building or if they are quite impressive) and no idea how to get to most of them.

    Thanks for the advice so far. Might have to rethink Cardomoms alone from the sounds of it.
  8. Sorry but you arnt going to see any mud at that time of year. It wont have rained for months (no rain in Jan).

    Get yourself the book by Matt Jacobson Ultimate Cambodia Travel Guide. It has a lot of points of interest in it along with GPS co-ords for a lot of them. It will give you an idea if they are just a small pile of rocks most of the time. I have visted a few he has described just to find a mound of dirt or a small carved lintel, but always worth the trip out there.
  9. I did the cardamom mtns route this week, and would suggest not to do it unless you area very good offroad rider and have 2 or more others with you.
    You need to ride 5inch logs over ririvers and 10 foot drops (and the rest)
    As for new chinese roads,we were trying to follow the ultimate cambodia route,past where the book says go right at fork1(we got a bit lost around there), then we came to a junction/village, and would've gone left to rightfork2, but the locals insisted we go right, and soon we came to a new chinese road, at N12*38.884' E103*02.787' which went north for 25km

    I 'll try to post a writeup soon with pics and gps data
  10. My time frame for Cardamon's is between 7th April and 14th April.

    So if anyone is interested in doing a ride through the Cardamon somewhere in that time frame PM me.

    Thanks for the info alrikki, look forward to reading your write up.

    What do people think of the Kratie/Mondolkiri/Ratanakiri/Stung Treng areas? Is the riding good? what type of sights are there?
  11. Hi Good luck to your trip.

    Be warned that April is the real hot season and so carry always enough water.
    On the little know track North of Krachie goind full East up to just South of Kho Niak, in March 2006, we have almost a disaster as some riders of our team didn't follow advice and left with just as little as 1 liter, while I suggested to take 5 liters. They didn't fill up the tank at the last village. Nobody knows that we will have a further 90 Km drive where the trail was barely visible with absolutly no villages and NOBODY to meet on this distance except a few deers!
    Some riders run out of gas and water. It is a miracle that they survided.
    I had to look for help and bring back IV serum fluid to rehydrate the most affected driver!
    So if you are alone in such situation, wish you good luck!! pH
  12. i wonder if gps works in Cambodia. i have ridden for 2 weeks on honda xr baja from www.mrbikerental.com
  13. GPS works worldwide...even in Cambodia :D
  14. Is that why they call it a "Global Positioning System"?

    Sorry. :roll:
  15. :shock: Really,, i didnt know,, i thought i works only in Thailand :wink:
    ha means when i got Cambodia can take my GPS with me and it should work?
  16. GPS works fine in Cambodia, as Xen wrote I got a map from Auke last year February and used it to go from Preah Khan from Beng Melea through the small jungle tracks and it was the only reason why we did not got lost. So bring it and use it when you go to Cambodia

    Xen, depending on the work I might take you up on the trip through the cardammons in early April. It has been on my wish list for some time now. If I can get off from work I will let you know by end of March.
  17. Would be great if we could meet up Bert, will PM you.

    I tried to hire a bike from On Two Wheels, but the owner refused to loan me the bike if I was going through the Cardamon on my own. So having someone come with me would be good, otherwise might have to skip the Cardamon or hire a guide to take me through.
  18. A rental company with common sense. :eek: He wants his bike back and doesn't want to go to the Cardomoms and try and find it once a solo rider has got stuck and had to walk out. ( if he was lucky). It is a blast of a ride if you are prepared and in a small group it is well doable if your riding skills are reasonable. Done it once with 2 riders only and it could have turned out badly as it rained. As others have said 3 -4 is the ideal group. After you ride around other areas of Cambodia first you will have a better idea of what you can tackle.
  19. I'm fly to BKK tomorrow. First 2 weeks in Northern Thailand, then 4 weeks in Cambodia.

    If anyone is planning to do a similar trip and want up to date info, I am planning on putting details of the trip up here (When I have net access): http://cambodiandirt.blogspot.com/
  20. Hi Xen,
    I'm doing 23 days in country from the 19th April; shame the dates are just out we could've done a section together. I'll watch your blog with interest for very up to date info!!
    Ride safe
    All the best
  21. hey xen,
    whats happening?
    was following yer blog, but it stopped
    you ok?
  22. Hi Xen
    if you need a partner once you'll be in the south of Phnom Penh
    I'm new in the area and actually in Kampot but I am available for a few days of riding.
  23. Hi Xen
    if you need a partner once you'll be in the south of Phnom Penh
    I'm new in the area and actually in Kampot but I am available for a few days of riding.
    Please feel free to contact me.
  24. Xen was alright. i joined with him on the first 3 days. After getting lost in the cardamom---only 30km away from kamlot.

    we decided to come out the way we came in and rode to koh kong. We wanted to enter cardamom again from koh kong but was warned by the local and it would be possible if we hired a guide.

    below is one the vid made with xen:

    /mrbikerenta ... Zx4DZzZyq8

    the 3rd day, i came back pp and he went to shv. he arrived pp earlier than planned and said he got lost in a jungle somewhere near a temple.

    a lesson earned and another try is worth.
  25. bro recommed u try this road Mondulkiri and up to Ratanakiri nice backroad and offroad...hot and dusty in JAn to JUn :D 8) :arrow:
    enjoy ur ride bro.

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