The plan for today is to ride from Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri all the way back to Phnom Penh. This is quite a ride in terms of distance but fortunately the road is in good condition. Most of it is paved, much of it recently. We plan on first traveling to Snuol on Provincial Road 76, a distance of 135km on decent dirt road. From Snuol we follow the recently upgraded National Road 7 through Memot towards Kampong Cham.
About 12km before reaching Kampong Cham we turn south right after we pass Chob and follow Provincial Road 11 through Prey Veng to Neak Luong (Neak Loeang, Neak Loeung), a distance of almost 100km on paved road with little traffic through rubber plantations. The route through Prey Veng is a moderate detour but due to little traffic and the bending road a much nicer ride than the alternative National Roads 6 and 7. Moreover, these roads tend to be terribly jammed in the evenings, particularly during holidays such as today. We cross the Mekong River in Neak Luong and head back to Phnom Penh on National Road 1.
Continue reading From Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri to Phnom Penh, via Snuol, Kampong Cham, Neak Luong
With a week of holidays on the occasion of Cambodia’s Water Festival comes the prospect of a multiple day trip to the northeast, with fellow traveling enthusiasts Katrin, Becky and Toby. The overall plan is to travel Cambodia’s northeast from Phnom Penh on a loop via Kampong Cham, Kratie, Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Prey Veng, Neak Luong back to Phnom Penh. Admittedly, details of the route emerge only on the flight. The only given in the plan is the part from Banlung in Rattanakiri to Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri, a stretch of forest, mountains and wilderness which we anticipate to be the most exciting part of the trip.
For today we aim only at reaching either Kratie or Stung Treng.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Kratie along the Mekong via Kampong Cham, Wat Hanchey, Stung Tran, Chhlong
It is time for an extended weekend trip again. The plan is to ride from Phnom Penh to Kampong Thom today and meet up with Vothear and Sokhom, two friends of mine who are excellent guides for exploring the temples in Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap.
The plan for tomorrow is to follow National Road 6 towards Siem Reap town for another 100 km or so, passing Stoung and Kouk Thlok Kraom on the way until we reach Dam Daek. From here, we follow the newly upgraded Road 66 to the north for about 30 km, until we reach Prasat Trapeang Noem, close to Beng Mealea (Boeng Mealea), an ancient temple. After visiting the temple we plan to proceed on what is a new road towards the northeast until via Svay Leu to Prasat Kor Ker (Kaoh Kerr, Chok Gargyar, Phnum Dai), another ancient temple, or rather, a complex of dozens of them. From here we continue on a more modest road and via an extensive detour through Trayang to Kulen (Koulen) and finally to Tbaeng Mean Chey (T’beng Meanchey), the provincial capital of Preah Vihear province, where we spend the night. The next day we return to Kampong Thom on Road 64 and from there I continue home to Phnom Penh.
Continue reading Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear: Beng Mealea, Kor Ker, Kulen, Tbaeng Mean Chey by Motorbike
The plan for today is to ride from Kratie back to Phnom Penh. We decided to go follow the National Road 7 through Snuol, Memot (Memout), Suong and Chob to Kampong Cham. From Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh we want to give the dirt road along the Western bank of the Mekong a try.
The Adventure Cambodia guide book has a ‘Phnom Penh to Kratie’ motorcycle info section:
“If you are going to Kratie from Phnom Penh, the road to Kampong Cham is excellent, the road from Kampong Cham to the Snuol junction isn’t that great, but it’s definitely doable. The last section taking you to Kratie from Snuol has some huge bomb craters that fill up and look like lakes during the rainy season, but it’s also doable; you’re just going to get wet.”
Well, it is definitely rainy season right now but times have changed, and not only recently.
Continue reading Kratie to Phnom Penh via Snuol, Memot, Kampong Cham, Riverbank Villages
For this weekend Maraile and I have been planning to visit Kratie province, for a number of reasons among them the fact that much of the province is flooded right now. The plan for today is to leave in the afternoon and spent the night either in Kampong Cham, Kratie or Chhlong (Chloung) depending on how far we get. Saturday we want to spend in Kratie province and return at some point on Sunday to Phnom Penh.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Chhlong via Kampong Cham by Motorbike
Many of my colleagues are in Kampong Thom (Kompong Thom) this weekend and I decide to go there and meet up. I have been to Kampong Thom many times but until recently was not aware that there are countless temples to visit along the way, in particular between Kampong Thom town and Skuon (Skon). The plan for this weekend is to meet my colleagues in Kampong Thom and also Vothear and Sokhom, two friends and guides of mine whom I have been exploring the surrounding provinces with on a number of occasions. I am sure these people are the best guides you can find in Kampong Thom with detailed knowledge of the surrounding provinces.
Kampong Thom does not see many visitors, despite the fact that the site of the ancient capital of the Pre-Angkor kingdom of Chenla is right next to the provincial capital. The ruins of Sambor Prei Kok (Sambor Prei Kuk) cover a vast area of mostly forested land in close proximity to Kampong Thom town which is an excellent starting point for journeys into neighboring provinces also. The complex contains countless structures that are nearly 1400 years old and easily accessible even by coach. If this place was in Vietnam or Thailand it would be a sensation attracting thousands of tourists daily. Tourists who make it to Cambodia pass through Kampong Thom on their way from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh or just bypass it by aircraft. While exploring the site you will meet few tourists, if any. I have been to Sambor Prei Kuk before and my interest this time is more in these lesser known temples along the way to Phnom Penh.
Continue reading Temples along the Road from Kampong Thom to Skuon by Motorbike
This weekend I find time for only a day trip. I want to use this opportunity to explore some of those parts of the more immediate souroundings of Phnom Penh that I am less familiar with than with, say, the National Roads.
The plan is to cross the Mekong right at Phnom Penh and follow its eastern bank north towards Kampong Cham, on what is marked as “other provincial road, unpaved” in the Gekko road map. Depending on road conditions or, rather: the existence of roads, the plan is to go all the way to Kampong Cham. If that is not possible I want to go as far as it gets, cross the Mekong with a ferry if there is one and decide on the flight how to proceed.
Many tourists crossing the Japanese bridge in Phnom Penh believe that they are actually crossing the Mekong River. What they are crossing is the Tonle Sap. There is as of now only one bridge in Cambodia that spans the Mekong, which is the Japanese bridge in Kampong Cham. Interestingly, a new Mekong bridge at Neak Luong (Neak Loeang) is planned and the Japan International Cooperation Agency has completed a feasibility study on the project. Japan is now expected to start soon building this bridge. There was an interesting article in the IHT recently on this and other infracture projects in Cambodia. I copy the text below this blog article.
Continue reading Riverbank villages and Ferries north of Phnom Penh, Mekong, Tonle Sap and Phnom Udong
This weekend it is time to go on an overnight trip to the provinces. Maraile is ready to go and we plan to visit Prey Veng and to go there via Kampong Cham. Prey Veng is not so far from Phnom Penh but not connected to any national road. Accordingly, it is said to be a very provincial and sleepy town. The road distances are from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham 129km and from Kampong Cham to Prey Veng 80km. Prey Veng to Phnom Penh is 90km.
Continue reading By Motorbike: Phnom Penh to Prey Veng via Kampong Cham, Phnom Pros & Phnom Srei, Rubber Plantations and more
The plan for today is to visit Wat Hanchey (Han Chey) in the morning, attend my friend Ny’s wedding in the afternoon and ride back to Phnom Penh before it gets dark. Yesterday I agreed with the guesthouse guy that we would meet at 7:30am and that he would show me the way to Wat Hanchey. The guide books say that Wat Hanchey is a beautifully located hill top pagoda that was an important religious centre during the Chenla period. They also suggest it is easy to visit Wat Hanchey, which is about 25 km from Kampong Cham town, by boat. Anyway, I take the bike for convenience and time efficiency.
We start at the agreed time without any breakfast and head north along the Mekong. After very few kilometres we are riding on a narrow and bumpy dirt road. The road leads along the Mekong through a couple of villages in a nice and rural setting. We are not the only ones on the roads. There are all kinds of vehicles, like oxcarts, minibuses and bicycles.
Continue reading Kampong Cham: Wat Hanchey and Ny’s wedding
My friend Sok Ny gets married this weekend in Kampong Cham and invited me on the occasion of this event to join in the celebration. I decide to attend on Sunday and visit a number of places in around Kampong Cham town on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Today I just want to travel to Kampong Cham, which is about 129km from Phnom Penh, check in at some accommodation and visit Wat Nokor (Angkor Bahjay) before it is dark.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham, Wat Nokor
I get up at 7:30 am. The plan is to have breakfast at riverside and buy some stuff in the market before heading to Preah Vihear.
Continue reading Preah Vihear First Day: Kampong Thom
Again, we start early in the morning. For some reasons I do not get much sleep. We pack our stuff and have breakfast. Yet I do not feel like eating and seeing other people having breakfast makes me feel sick. We plan to ride all the way back to Phnom Penh, with a lunch break in Kampong Cham provincial capital. Bun Tach had warned me the other day that my front tire is broken and I need to ride carefully. In addition, we are uncertain about the state of Pongro’s bike, since it fell down many times. So we decide to go to the moto doctor before we head to Phnom Penh.
Those are my boots in the morning. They had gotten pretty wet yesterday, since they where filled with water several times when we had to cross creeks. Those are Meinl boots, equipped with a gore tex membrane which makes them water proof. Although those boots where outside all night while there where strong winds they are still pretty wet in the morning. Getting into them still feels like water is standing in them. I am somewhat surprised that it takes so long to dry those boots. And even of today, almost one week later, they are still not entirely dry, which I find quite disappointing. After all, what is the point of having water proof shows if they never ever get dry once they get water inside?
Continue reading Mondulkiri Fifth Day: Sen Monorom, Snuol, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh
I wake up the next day when Pongro is knocking on my door. It is already bright daylight. Pongro tells me he is alright. And it looks like we will proceed with the trip.
Japanese Bridge in the morning
So I go with the same moto taxi driver who was helpful yesterday to find a mechanic. After asking in a few shops we find a mechanic who is willing to take care of our bikes and claims to be familiar with big motos. So we go back to the guesthouse and later we push the motos the few hundred meters to the shop and go to a food place close by to have breakfast.
Continue reading Mondulkiri Second Day: Kampong Cham, Snuol, Sen Monorom
I had decided earlier this week that I would leave to Mondulkiri on Friday one way or the other. Yet as I wanted to avoid riding at night time in Mondulkiri I planned to go only the few kilometers to Kampong Cham provincial capital and continue the next day to Sen Monorom.
Continue reading Mondulkiri First Day: Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham
This is the last weekend before I go back to Germany. I did not have much vacation so far and manage to get a day off on Monday. I always wanted to travel to Siem Reap and to see Angkor Wat but unfortunately I did not yet get the chance to go. So I thought better one day in Siem Reap than not at all.
I have planned to go to Siem Reap by moto for quite some time. And I have tried to find somebody to give me company. However, I did not find anybody who had both time and interest to go. After all, it is a distance of about 350 km one way.
So I decide to go on my own. The plan is to leave Saturday early in Phnom Penh in order to arrive in Siem Reap early enough to buy the ticket and see the sunset. The next day would be dedicated to visit the temples. And on Monday I would have to travel back early enough to go to work on Tuesday again.
Saturday I get of at about 8 am and go to riverside to have breakfast. This picture is taken from the restaurant at the Mekong River, which is in the background.
Continue reading From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by motor bike: Skun, Kompong Thom