our trip of February 2008 part 2

Bert on the bike

Oct 5, 2007
Having arrived in T’beng Meanchay in part one we were ready to go again the next morning early with the plan to head back in to the jungle. After having loaded up the bikes Murray’s bike did not want to start. After some test and trials from all three of us it still did not start. We went looking for the local motorbike guru and after being turned around at the first shop we found a mechanic at the site of the road who was willing to give it a try. He came over to the hotel but after 30 minutes the result was still the same, not starting. It was decided to bring the bike to his shop and the bike with Murray on top of it was pulled by a very old Daelim over the hill. A lot of people were watching the farang in full gear sitting on his bike being pulled by one of the oldest Daelim’s I have ever seen.


The motor bike repair shop in T’beng Meanchay

With the right tools the mechanic managed to adjust the valves and the bike started again. Since the bike was not running as it should we decided to go back to Sieam Reap to have the bike checked out their before heading back to the jungle. So we made a quick run towards Koh Ker and then left on the gravel road to Dom Dek and following the route 6 back to Sieam Reap.


Murray and myself did this road in October 2007 when it was full of ruts and very deep potholes. This time the road in and outside the villages was almost perfect. High speeds were reached and there was more then enough time to stop and take some pictures.


Since the roads were so good and we made so much progress we decided to do some reconnaissance for our next jungle trip. Mike never been to the Beng Melea temple and since that is one of the most interesting (almost no tourist, partial still covered by the jungle) we dropped him there.



Murray and myself drove on and wanted to look for the entrance of the famous route 66. This is an ancient kmer road of 800 years old between Siem Reap and the temple complex of Preah Khan (see part 1) and passes Beng Melea. The bridges which were build then are still intact and being used. In October 2007 we looked for the road/dirt track but ended up back at the Beng Melea temple after 20 minutes through the jungle.

We asked the people at the Beng Melea temple and got the same directions as before. After having driven approx 1 km over the wide road we suddenly came to a complete new road. Where in October was still dense jungle there was suddenly an eight meter wide very smooth dirt road. We found the entrance of the old route 66 just on the left side of the new road.


We asked some people how far this new road was ready and the answers were from “3 kilometer” until “all the way to the temple”. We decided to go back, gets Murray’s bike to the shop and get some beer.

The next day was a cultural day with Murray’s bike being checked. We went around the temples which is always nice to see again.



Having the bike back in the evening and being rested we were ready to head back in to the jungle again. The next morning it was early up and by nine we were in Beng melea. Having a breakfast here we followed the road and found that the new road was around 8 kilometers long.


At the end there were 2 mine clearing teams busy in clearing the area but the road changed in to the old route 66 which we wanted to drive. As you can see below the old road is much more beautiful to drive then the new high way they are building for the tourists to the Preah Khan temple.


I realize that it will bring a lot of income to the very poor people there but at the same time it is a pitty that these roads disappear. This is real dirt track riding.


And when you come to a 800 year old bridge (10 kilometers before the village of Khvao) which is still standing there in all its glory then it does not get much better.


After the village of Khvao the road became smaller and smaller until there was not much more left then a track. The speed dropped and we really needed the GPS map we got from Auke. There are many small tracks going around fallen trees, going left or right and sometimes coming back to the main track sometimes not. It is very easy to loose your way and never get out of there. The GPS showed the track and sometimes we were 100 meter to the south or 75 meter to the north but at least you knew you were close.

We had a new toy with us which we bought in Thailand. This was a helmet cam. We made some film and since we did not make pictures on this last part of route 66 I will try to upload them to give you guys an impression. They are not too long or too high resolution to keep the size reasonable.

After having reached Preah Khan through the route 66 we had done where we came for and all three felt very good. Time for a nice noodle lunch in our favorite (the only) restaurant in Ta Seng.


Although tired from the trip we decided to go through the sand trails down to Stroung and stay there for the night. The sand was even softer and deeper then the last time and in the last stretch of sand both Murray and me whipped out. I was ok but Murray dislocated his shoulder and could not drive anymore. Mike brought him to the next village where he could get a lift from a passing NGO land rover, I drove the bikes leg over leg down and when Mike came back we, with the help of one of the local guys who drove a dirt bike for the first time in his life, brought the bikes and gear to the village as well. The whole village surrounded us as usual.


And everybody was trying to help us or something like that.


We left Mike rented bike at the village after having received the address and loaded the gear of 3 bikes on to 2. Since the light was running out we had to hurry and could not stay long in the village.


The keeper of the bike

The last 20 minutes of dirt road before reaching the tarmac of route 6 we had to do in the dark but we made our way to Siem Reap save and by 22:00 hours we had our first beer.

The next day Murray flew back to Bangkok, we paid the rental company 150 US$ to pick up the bike and we drove back to Poipet and over the border.

It was a good trip with a lot of impressions, experiences, etc. etc. Cambodia is just a perfect place to drive dirt bike as long as you do not expect good tarmac roads and you can stand some dust and dirt. The next one will be most likely January 2009. I will try not to wait that long with reporting on that trip.