Riding in Cambodia

Discussion in 'Cambodia - General Discussion Forum' started by Champasak, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Riding in Cambodia
    « on: Sep 27th, 2002, 2:13am » Quote Modify Remove

    About to return home from one month in Cambodia and I'm definitely coming back. Cambodia is off road heaven. There are two bike shops in central Phnom Penh that have excellent deals on rentals. I picked up a Baja 250 in impeccable condition for $6 a day. For long term rentals $4 per diem is possible.

    Urban riding is chaotic, but reasonably predictable. There is no 'system' like that of Thailand, pretty much anything goes as long as you don't ding up your bike or anyone elses. No sudden movements seems to be the best strategy for survival.

    The roads have been ungoing improvements recently, unfortunately. But there are still many rough rides around without looking too hard. Recently rode down to Kompong Som via Kampot and the Bokor hill station. The latter has had alot of massive potholes filled in with pototo sized rock so it can be done fast but you still wouldn't want to biff it. It's a remarkable ride: 3000 vertical feet to the top of the plateau and it's easy to spend a half day exploring the sights. There is a marked mine in the middle of the road near the station. Whether it's real, just a piece of metal, or a prank is anyones guess, but it made for a good photo op anyway.

    Some of hwy 3 is still unimproved and with the recent rain it's a bog of Laos proportions, but fortunately the bad stuff's only a few kms. Hwy 4 is a Thai style 120 km/hr rip between Phnom Penh. As usual, watch for dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, and children on the road. Some of the kids actually lay down on the highway for a nap!

    Next trip will be up through the northeast into the Laos panhandle (which sounds like it is open and easy to traverse) and hopefully back down through Vietnam. May have to buy a bike for that one.

    Happy travels!

  2. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #1 on: Sep 27th, 2002, 8:34am » Quote Modify Remove

    Hello Lee-
    Thanks for the info. I am interested in whether you can tell me more info on your overall experience in Cambodia. I will be in Thailand in February 03 and am tryingb to make up my mind on whether to devote my dirtbiking to the GT area, Laos or Cambodia. Which would you recommend overall? I need to have some afterbike fun, so quality of nightlife is important. Also where did you go and what did you do? Lastly, how do expenses compare with each place?
    Any chance of hooking up with somebody such as yourself, that will be touring SEA in Feb?

    Thanks for any info!

    [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]
  3. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #2 on: Oct 1st, 2002, 3:35pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Hey bullet,
    I'll try to answer your questions without writing a novel. First, my 'overall' impression of Cambodia is that it is the wild east of what Thailand must have been about 50 years ago before it became so.... developed. Riding is kind of apples and oranges. The roads in Thailand are numerous, made of impeccable asphalt, and have no one on them. Cambodia, like Laos, doesn't have many roads period, and they are definitely WAY more primitive than those of Thailand, and the driving is a bit insane. Cambodia is a very intense place compared to Thailand, which is comparitively laid back. The Khmers and Viets in Cambodia are genuinely extremely friendly, but this is a country enjoying a very young peace. There are still alot of guns around and people who like to use them, for fun of course, and all the other things that go along with a very impovershed country. As for the nightlife, Phnom Penh is incredibly fun and practically doesn't close. Several bars stay open 24/7 and many others don't close until the last person leaves. It makes Bangkok's "outrageous" image look alot tamer after visiting there first. It is also way cheaper than Thailand with soda costing more than beer and whiskey half that. Food, lodging, and other diversions are ludicrously inexpensive which is why so many people who visit there for a short while are still there years later. I found all places, GT area, Laos, and Cambodia to have quite different flavours from one another. Thailand felt much safer, less "exposed" I guess with all the quality medical care nearby than Laos or Cambodia. Laos had no nightlife to speak of but was incredibly beautiful and had the deserted roads. Cambodia is quite flat overall so the scenery wasn't there as much but the nightlife was and it had the most adventurous feel of all the places. So I dunno, I liked them all immensely. I may be going back to Cambodia in the Nov/Dec time frame to hook up with some guys for a ride up through Cambodia, up the Laos panhandle, and into Northern Vietnam and then back down through Vietnam. About a 6 week trip. I'll keep you posted if you're interested. If you want, you can reply to my email at [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]. Take care and thanks for your interest.
  4. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #3 on: Oct 19th, 2002, 12:51pm » Quote Modify Remove

    As someone who lived for seven years in Cambodia and rode in most of its provinces, I'd have to vouch for what Lee said. Pretty dead on. Some things to consider, however, before riding there:

    - have some sort of int'l medical insurance which provides evacuation service. Believe me, speaking from experience, you do NOT want to rely on the tender mercies of Cambodian "physicians." Seriously.

    - take it easy, real easy. Cambodians have zero experience with fast moving traffic, and very slow reaction times. Example: you will often see people and vehicles enter the road in front of a speeding vehicle, with no thought as to how said vehicle might avoid a collision. Go slow, even on seemingly open roads.

    - If in fact you DO have an accident, expect next to no help. People will stare at you as you lie bleeding. Or they will try to steal your wallet if you're unconscious. A sad fact of life in Cambodia. Thus, always ride with a partner if at all possible.

    - Also, remember that as a foreigner, you are ALWAYS at fault in traffic accidents, even if someone rear-ends you!

    That said, have fun and say hi to Way or Chove at the Flying Motorcycle shop in PP

  5. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #4 on: Oct 19th, 2002, 8:47pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Thanks for the info CambodiaMan.

    Have talked some more with Lee Baer, and with what you are saying, I get the picture that Cambodia is definitely worth visiting if you understand the unique perils. With the timeframe that I have, (2-18 Feb), I am leaning towards taking a more leisurely re-visit of the GT area, and perhaps a quick jaunt into Laos for a float down the Mekong, then back to Chiang Mai. It sounds like a trip to northeastern Thailand might win out over Laos tho, if I spend too much time in the GT area.

    Thanks for the additional info.

  6. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #5 on: Oct 22nd, 2002, 11:29pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Lee, Wonder if you can tell me what is the name of the shop in the middle of pnom penh where the rentals are so good(Baja for $4-6). Thanks, [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]
  7. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #6 on: Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:17am » Quote Modify Remove


    Yeah Lee- Give it up!!

  8. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #7 on: Nov 13th, 2002, 12:02pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Hey Smoore and Larry, how are things?

    Sorry for the long absense. Time moves differently back in the 'real world'.

    There were 2 good shops close to my hotel (Walkabout) in PP. One is a 30 second walk north on Pasteur called ANGKOR. The address is #92 Eo, Street, Pasteur (51). Their phone is 012-916-824 or 012-722-098.

    The other is called Lucky Lucky at 413 Monivong Blvd. Their number is 023-212-788.

    I rented from Angkor. From my experience and that of several expat buddies, the consensus was that if you are looking to rent, go to Angkor. If you want to buy, Lucky is the place. Angkor's rental units are in better shape than Lucky's, but Lucky's bikes for sale look to be in 'new' shape. The going rate for a Baja 250 was around $1500 I think. They look like they are pieced together from other bikes which, according to rumour, are 'creatively acquired' from Japan.

    Mr Lucky likes to dip his beak in a bit of everything, he and his wife also arrange visas, airline tickets, and supply cash advances on credit cards at the same rate as the banks (4% for a Visa). I used Mr Lucky for cash and Angkor for the bike. I'm sure if you used him for everything he would knock the price of a rental down a bit especially if it were a longer tern rental.

    Angkor also has great service. One night on the way to a local watering hole I had a flat and managed to limp back to my hotel and catch a ride with someone else. Other than my buddies I didn't tell anyone about the flat. The next morning I came out of my hotel to find my bike all fixed up and ready to go. I have no idea who took it in for me but if I find them they get a free drink of their choice or two.

    So Larry, a November trip is off for me due to an illness in the family. But January - Feb is looking good provided work doesn't get in the way. So if you do happen to swing down to Cambodia we may be able to hook up for a ride afterall.

    CambodiaHand: how is the riding weather now? Are things drying out a bit? Where is the Flying Motorcycle shop anyway? I never saw that one......

  9. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #8 on: Nov 13th, 2002, 4:22pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the reply. Thought something had came up for you, so am sorry about family illnesses. Are you set on Cambodia for january and Feb, or are you coming to Thailand as well? I had planned on biking around Chiang Mai, then over to ride the Laotian border area, then into Laos for a quick tour around the northern area of Laos. Not sure if they will rent bikes in Laos tho.
    Got to admit, Cambo does sound like a neat area over in the north, if rideable. I'd like to check out the gemstone mines in that area. What areas did you have in mind to visit ? Regards- bullet
  10. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #9 on: Dec 19th, 2002, 12:05pm » Quote Modify Remove

    Lee, the Flying Motorcycle Shop was/is on Pochentong Blvd, along the first tree-lined section where the road begins near the new market (Psaa Th'mei). Lesseee, my three year old biz card reads :

    #20A EO Street 114, tel. (023) 210-765, fax (023) 426-622.

    If you go ask for Chove, the manager, and tell him Jason sent ya.
  11. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #10 on: Dec 20th, 2002, 4:24am » Quote Modify Remove

    Lucky has the best bikes and they are 1000US$ with some haggling. The roads in Cambodia can make for some slow rides so take this into consideration when planning a trip. Try to avoid land mines when ridding off road as there are still some out there. I didn't think anything of this until several farmers warned me and told me their stories regarding unexploded mines.
    The roads are better here in Thailand but the nightlife has suffered from the 2-3am closing times. Cambodia has more going for it in the way of nightlife- but this is only my opinion. I like to be able to ride into the night if and when I have to but this can be fatal in Cambodia- the little I did was eye opening to say the least. In one village the kids had turned the road into a quarter Klm snooker table with the players laid flat out in the road n the middle of the road eying up their next shot. Needless to say I lost a couple of $ due to the black ball (made from ox dung) crumbled when I tried to pot it, my cries of unfair were only meet with laughter. I ended up staying in this village for several days and having a great time.

  12. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    « Reply #11 on: Dec 25th, 2002, 8:28pm » Quote Modify Remove

    on Dec 20th, 2002, 4:24am, jake wrote:The roads in Cambodia can make for some slow rides so take this into consideration when planning a trip. Try to avoid land mines when ridding off road as there are still some out there.

    "Try to avoid land mines." Hoohoooo! That's a good one. yes, you should be very careful to avoid land mines...and since they're all clearly marked in dayglo orange, this should be quite easy too....

  13. Re: Riding in Cambodia
    Reply #12 on: Dec 28th, 2002, 1:11am Quote Modify Remove

    A brief report from Jerome & Sophie at
    The Pha Daeng Mansion

    Below are some information that could interest you about Cambodia:
    We enter via Ko Khong in the South part of Thailand.
    No problem to take our scooters in Cambodia. We do not have the Carnet
    de passage en Douane! the customs were really nice.
    The visa cost 1100 Bath at the border (normally 20us$ or 860 baths).
    Custom fee!!! or corruption fee!!!

    Koh Kong - Sihanoukville : good unpaved road. 4 rivers to cross on boat
    Sihanoukville - Kep : mainly paved and good road.120 Km
    Kep - Phnom Penh : 150 Km / paved/ good
    Phnom Penh - Kompong Cham 130Km / paved / good
    Kompong Cham - Sen Monorom : 120 Km / unpaved/ ok
    Sen Monorom - Kratie : 120Km / unpaved/ +/- good
    Kratie - Kompong Cham : 130 Km / unpaved/ +/- good
    Kompong Cham - Kompong Thom : 160 Km / paved/ ok (sauf 20 Km)
    Kompong Thom - Siem Reap : 140 Km / paved but destroyed/ BAD
    Siem Reap - Poipet : 130 Km / unpaved/ bad

    No problem for fuelling
    2100 Riels / litre (0.5 Euros)

    No problems on our way
    Dangerous driving in Phnom Penh.
    On the road, the bigger is always right

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