By Motorbike from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh via Kampot

Today is Thursday and I want to ride back to Phnom Penh in the morning. In fact I want to be in the office in the afternoon. Now that I came to Sihanoukville on national road 4 I want to return via Kampot, which is along national road 3. The guide books suggest that this road is covered with bomb craters which make for a bumpy and time-consuming ride. However, people in the guesthouse told me that the road is ok, so I give it a try. It is the first time that I ride on national road 3 between Sihanoukville and Kampot.

I start at about 8 and by that time it looks clouded and rainy, after it has been raining all night. National roads 3 and 4 depart about 30 from Sihanoukville and I am familiar by now with the stretch of it between here and there. I am glad it does not start raining.

This is where I turn right to follow national road 3 to Kampot, along the coastline. It is raining over there along a chain of hills.

The road is indeed excellent.

However, parts of it are flooded from the strong rains last night and covered with substantial amounts of water. However, most of the time I can ride fast.

The road continues to be very good for some time and there is not much traffic. The landscape on both sides of the road is truly beautiful, the mountains to the left and the sea to the right.

There are some rural homes along the road but not many and I see few villages.

After I leave national road 4 I ride for just about 30 minutes when road conditions change dramatically. The wide lanes turn into a narrow secondary road which in many of its parts is not paved. Besides, there are indeed huge holes in the road once in a while.

I come across many construction sides, too, and assume that this road will be upgraded soon.

Obviously, the state of the road forces me to ride slower than I had anticipated. In addition, traffic increases and so does my concern that I won’t make it to the office directly after lunch time.

After some time I reach what looks like a town, assuming this must be somewhere between Sihanoukville and Kampot.

It is only when I see a bridge over a big river that I realize that I just arrived in Kampot. I stop at the river close to the bridge and drink some water.

Then I continue the trip. From now on I am familiar with the road, as I have been to Kampot with the motorbike twice. The surroundings of national road 3 are particularly appealing at this stretch of the road between Kampot and Phnom Penh, not least due to the hills on both sides of the road..

I stop once in a while to take a picture. The land around here is very dry. I keep reading in the newspaper that there is a shortage of water in the provinces closer to Phnom Penh and that the rainy season is late this year.

The road is fairly good most of the time, and increasingly so the closer I come to Phnom Penh.

It is about 40km before I reach Phnom Penh that I have a break and drink some water in this town.

Then I ride to Phnom Penh. As usually, the last part of the journey is very slow and hectic, in the dense and chaotic traffic in the outskirts of Phnom Penh. I am very tiered when I reach the apartment.

It turns out that I was lucky, as it starts raining heavily shortly after I arrive. It keeps raining for some time, which gives me the opportunity to rest before I leave for the office.

10 thoughts on “By Motorbike from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh via Kampot”

  1. Stefan,
    I am intending to rent a bike in Phnom Penh for five days or so and travel down to Kampot and Sihankouville for a bit of R&R at the beach. However I have read that there is no insurance and that if the hire bike gets stolen or damanged I will have to pay for it. Also one report that a bloke got knocked off his bike and then his bike was stolen. How safe is it riding in Cambodia and is there no insurance that you can take out against theft or damage.
    Thanks for you help,

  2. Hi Anton,

    Glad to hear from you. I am not aware that people insure rented bikes and it sounds plausible to me that such insurance is not common.

    Riding bikes in Cambodia is arguably not very safe, in my view due to anarchic traffic rather than theft. It seems to me that 125cc scooters are much more likely to be stolen as there is only a very small market to resell dirt bikes, in which most Cambodians have little interest anyways.

    If a rented bike is stolen or damaged then yes, you will most likely have to pay for it. Damage should not be much of a problem since labor is ridiculously cheap and rentals don’t check very carefully when you return bikes. I have returned bikes in very bad condition without trouble. Accordingly, bikes tend to be in bad shape when you rent them and you better check twice.

    It does happen that people are robbed of there bikes but rarely and hardly ever with dirt bikes.

    Taken together I don’t think the risk of your rented bike getting damaged or stolen should prevent you from going on this trip, as long as you feel able to deal with the traffic. Rentals usually give you a pad lock with your bikes, insist on it and use it and you should be fine. Many people don’t use it and are fine nevertheless.

    Enjoy your trip,

  3. Hi stephan
    This would be my dream holiday your photographs make it really appealing, what size dirt bike did you hire as I know from driving a car there that the roads can change so quickly. I too would be concerned about insurance.

  4. Hi Den,

    I typically hire 250cc bikes. There actually are very few dirt bikes larger than 250cc around in Cambodia nad 250 does seem an appropriate size for the Cambodian circumsdances, forcefull enough to get you around quickly and light enough to maneuver tricky terrain.

    I don’t have insurance at this point. Was quoted about 100$ a year for third party even if you only need a few months covered.


  5. Dear Stefan,

    Im planning to ride in Cambodia and Loas over 12 days entering from Poipet to Seam Reap-Phnom Penh- Kratie and exit to Laos, need some advice from you on the above road condition, interesting places to visit and if possible can i contact you when we reach Phnom Penh?

    best regards

  6. Dear all,

    i did google and heard mr bike rental ( ) was the best place to rent a dirt bike in phnom penh, cambodia.

    Should i rent one from that shop?



  7. I have never come across company. Hope their bikes work better than their web site because it doesn’t. There are plenty of rentals around. Much depends on your budget. Those who have lots prefer Adventure Moto which I had mixed experience with and their prices are high.

    There are lots of cheap rentals but at their rates they cannot be expected to maintain carefully. If you get a bike there, have it checked by a mechanic (such as Dara shop near railway station or Bike Shop) before going on long tours.

    good luck and enjoy!

  8. Hi Again,

    I did go to that mr bike rental dirt bike rental shop in Phnom Penh. I rent one Honda Xr Baja from him. Well i think USD 15 per day was reasonable since the bike was in good looking. i rejected the cheaper bike offered from him since it did not look good at all.

    I would recommend if you plan for a long ride. the owner speaks really good english. thats such a suprising.

  9. hi, thank you for these posts, i’m planning on doing the exact same trip 4 weeks from now. From reading your posts and pictures, i have a better idea of what to expect now.

    By the way, the motorcycle you rented, is that a manual transmission or auto?

  10. i, thank you for these posts, i’m planning on doing the exact same trip 4 weeks from now. From reading your posts and pictures, i have a better idea of what to expect now.

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