Cycle Cambodia - Karma Cambodia

Cambodia Cycling Tour - Siem Reap, Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

Trip Notes   •   Back to this tour's main page

Introduction

This trip will take you cycling on the fun roads of Cambodia to some of the most spectacular temples in history and through the villages of smiling Khmer people. The majesty of the Angkor temples is lost on no one and you'll realise why after spending 3 days in and around the temples.
But there's more to Cambodia than just temples. Cycling the highways and byways we travel from west to east and then south to the beautiful Cambodian coastline visiting the charming capital Phnom Penh, riding by the impressive Mekong River, as well as smaller regional towns and witnessing all that Cambodia has to offer.

Itinerary

DayActivityAccomMealsKm cycled
1Arrival DaySiem ReapD
2Angkor Wat mini circuitSiem ReapBL40
3Sunrise at Angkor Wat, cycle to Banteay SreiSiem ReapBL70
4Drive & cycle to Mekong RiverKompong ChamBLD 76
5Cycle along the river to Phnom PenhPhnom PenhBL63
6Free day in Phnom PenhPhnom PenhB
7Visit Killing Fields, cycle to TakeoTakeoBLD83
8Cycle to KepKepBLD100
9Cycle to KampotKampotBL25
10Cycle to SihanoukvilleSihanoukvilleB 108
11Free day at the beach / islandsSihanoukvilleB
12Drive back to Phnom PenhB
*Whilst every endeavour will be made to run the itinerary as stated, Bike Asia reserves the right to change any part of the itinerary at any time without notice due to weather, political, health or safety concerns.
Day 1 - Siem Reap

We meet in the regional town of Siem Reap. People will be arriving at different times throughout the day so please meet in the hotel restaurant at 6pm for the tour briefing before heading out for our first dinner together.

Day 2 - Siem Reap (cycling 40 km)

On our first full day in Siem Reap we will spend the day exploring some of the other temples cycling around the 40km 'mini circuit' including a detailed tour of the magnificent Angkor Wat. There are over 100 temples in the area so we will visit some of the most important and learn something of the history and importance of these temples.

Day 3 - Siem Reap (cycling 70 km)

Rising early to watch the sunrise on Angkor Wat, continue on to the outlying temple Banteay Srei. The ride is beautiful, passing verdant green fields and lively villages. Banteay Srei is a small Hindu temple built more than 1000 years ago. Many of the carving are still perfectly preserved in the unique pink stone.

Day 4 - to Kompong Cham (cycling 45 km)

Leaving Siem Reap by bus, we drive for a few hours as we head around the north side of Tonle Sap on our way to Kompong Cham, an important trade centre. Rather than drive the whole way we'll break out the bikes for the last 45km hitting a quiet back road that takes us into this peaceful town. Our hotel in Kompong Cham looks out over the Mekong River - what better place to enjoy a drink on the banks of this mighty river.

Day 5 - to Phnom Penh (cycling 60 km)

Definitely a highlight day, we ride 63km on a quiet, mostly unpaved road that follows the Mekong River on its path towards Phnom Penh. Foreigners are extremely rare through these parts so expect a few surprised faces as you ride by. Our picnic lunch is a site in itself. Relax under the shade of a huge mango tree and enjoy your view of the Mekong. The final section of this day will be travelled in our support vehicle.

Day 6 - Phnom Penh

A free day in Cambodia’s capital to relax from the bike and explore the city's sights. You can visit Tuol Sleng, originally a school and then a jail of the Khmer Rouge, it is now a museum documenting the atrocities committed here during the short reign of Pol Pot. There are also the many markets and temples of Phnom Penh or relax in a riverside cafe.

Day 7 - to Takeo (cycling 83 km)

Leaving Phnom Penh we stay off the highway and take a back road to the infamous Choeung Ek Killing Fields where thousands of people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. No family in Cambodia was untouched by terror of the Khmer Rouge and places such as Choeung Ek are monuments to those lost during this time. Back on the bikes we continue along a mixture of dirt road and highway to the quiet regional town of Takeo.

Day 8 - to Kep (cycling 100 km)

Taking great back roads all day we arrive in Kep, the former beach side resort town of the French era. Now partly in ruins Kep is enjoying a comeback.

Day 9 - to Kampot (cycling 25 km)

A free realxing morning and an easy afternoon ride brings us to charming Kampot which sits between rivers and mountains and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an old colonial town.

Day 10 - Sihanoukville (cycling 104 km)

It's coastline riding for our last day on the bikes, cycling under the gaze of the Elephant Mountains.

Day 11 - Sihanoukville

The day is yours to enjoy. Sick back on the beach or take a day trip out to the surrounding islands showing off your fantastic cyclist tan.

Day 12

Today is departure day. We will travel back to Phnom Penh in our support vehicle (4-5 hours). You are free to leave at any time.

Inclusions

  • 11 nights accommodation
  • All itinerised transport
  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Bike & bike tools
  • Support vehicle
  • All water and snack food whilst cycling & trekking
  • Local guide
  • Tour leader
  • Entry fees – Angkor Historic Park, Choeung Ek Killing Fields, Tonle Bati temple

Bike Asia Travel Style

We think cycling through a region for the first time with a group of like-minded people is a great way to travel in Asia. Our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, learn about new cultures, experience different landscapes and most all to have some fun. Cycling is a major part of our trips – they are cycle tours after all. We have designed them so that they are accessible to people with a reasonable level of fitness. Different trips will require varying degrees of physical ability. Each trip dossier has specific details on terrain, cycling conditions, distances covered each day and an altitude profile. All of our trips are fully supported, so should you want or need to take a rest, there will be a seat for you and a place to put your bike. Our trips are also designed to allow you the opportunities and time to appreciate the environment, scenery and culture around you, and to participate in any activities that may be on offer.

Responsible Travel

An integral part of travelling is to have a positive impact on the country that you are visiting. On this trip there are a number of things you can do to have a positive impact on the communities that we visit.

Dress: Cambodia is still quite a conservative region. In rural areas and temples overly revealing clothing is considered offensive. You should make an effort to dress more conservatively in these situations. Walking around a village in bike shorts is not appropriate so if you wish to cycle in just bike shorts you should have something with you, on the bike, to put on over the top (long loose shorts or a skirt/sarong). When visiting temples shorts are acceptable providing they cover the knee. Singlet tops are not acceptable in temples.

Phrase Book: A highly memorable part of your travels will be the local people you meet. In the tourist areas some people will speak English but away from these areas you should learn a few words of Tibetan. We will teach you some of the basics but if you want to really interact we recommend bringing a phrase book.

Donations: Often when coming on trips overseas people like to bring items such as sweets, pens and books for children or old clothing for families. While this is a fantastic idea, if distributed in the wrong way it can actually create more problems. Giving away anything to local people can create an expectation that visiting foreigner equals free give-aways. In some communities in Asia this has created whole villages where the only interaction is the locals asking for things. If you would like to donate anything to the communities that we visit we suggest that you give the items to us and we will then pass them on to development organizations, schools or whole communities. In this way items are distributed to those really in need by those working in the communities.

Poverty: There is an enormous amount of poverty in Cambodia which you will see, particularly in tourist areas. If you choose to give something to a beggar you must bear in mind the value of money in the country you are visiting. There are organizations which are working to alleviate this poverty and may be able to do more good with donations that you make. Your Tour Leader will be able to provide more information about this.

Support Organisations There are a number of organizations which we hope you can support in one way or another. Your Tour Leader will provide more information on these as you travel.

For more information about Bike Asia's commitment to ethical and sustainable travel practices, please read our Responsible Travel Policy.

Group Size

Minimum 3
Maximum 12

Accommodation

9 nights comfortable hotel, 3 nights guesthouse (all rooms have private bathroom). Due the nature of cycling trips we stay in some towns where the general standard of accommodation is quite low. In these places we have chosen the best possible place to stay - trust us there's nothing better!

Transport

All transport listed is included in the trip price. For the cycling days we will have the backup support of a large songtaew (local style truck for transporting people) which will carry our luggage, snacks and water, and anybody not cycling. We also use boats, minibuses and anything else that you might see coming.

Bikes

Bikes are included in the trip cost (however there is a discount for bringing your own bike – see below). Our mountain bikes are well-maintained Trek 3900 and Giant Boulder DX. We keep them well-maintained and we travel with all necessary tools and spare parts. Your tour leader (or mechanic) will fix any bike problems. Supplied bikes are hard tail (front suspension) with Shimano 21 speed gears, Shimano v-brakes, off road tyres, one bottle cage, ergonomic seat, in sizes 15", 17", 19" or 21". Please specify your bike size when booking. You may wish to bring your own pedals, cleats, saddle or handlebar extensions, as we can easily fit them to our bikes.

You are of course welcome to bring your own bike and we offer a $100 USD discount on this trip if you do. Keep in mind though, that while we offer maintenance and spares for the bikes we provide, we can't guarantee that we can cater to your particular bicycle's needs so it would be best to bring your own parts and tools. If you are unsure we recommend that you speak to your local bike shop about what parts to bring.

To see the bikes we use go to our Bike Info page.

Because we travel with a support vehicle it is not necessary to carry many things when on the bike. You may like to carry a daypack, bumbag or handlebar bag with personal belongings, camera, sunscreen etc., or you may prefer to leave a daypack in the support vehicle and carry only a camera & rain jacket (perhaps in a seatpost bag) when cycling.

Food

Food is a very important part of any travel experience. Most of the meals on this trip are included in the trip cost, with a few exceptions like free days. To see which meals are included, read the itinerary table. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for and should you have any other dietary restrictions, you just need to inform us.

Money

You will need to bring money on the trip to pay for some meals, drinks, activities in the free time, departure tax and of course shopping.

The official currency of Cambodia is the riel, however, the US dollar serves as a second currency and can be used in all situations. When going to Cambodia it is best to bring small denomination US dollars cash along with travellers cheques as your main form of money. Around Siem Reap Thai baht can also be used. Credit cards can be used in a few major centres, however, they should not be relied on as the main way you will access your money. There are now ATMs in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville which dispenses US dollars, however, this should not be relied on as your sole source of money.

The amount you bring is going to depend on how much you plan to spend. To give you an indication of prices
Beer would cost around 6,000
Dinner at local restaurant 4,000 – 6,000
Dinner at foreign restaurant 10,000 – 25,000

Whilst cycling, there will be few opportunities to spend money and most of your shopping will need to be done in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

Cambodian Reil (KHR) Exchange rates at the time of writing are approx:
1 AUD = 3,250
1 CAD = 3,600
1 EUR = 5,400
1 GBP = 7,900
1 NZD = 2,900
1 USD = 4,000
1 Thai Baht = 120

We also recommend that you bring US $100 in emergency funds, to be used when circumstances beyond the control of Bike Asia necessitate a change in itinerary.

Insurance

Obtaining your own travel insurance is required in order to participate on a Bike Asia tour. It will need to include a minimum coverage of medical expenses with emergency evacuation, personal liability and accident insurance. Your group leader will need to see a copy of your insurance at the group meeting on the first day.

Two well known travel insurance providers are: World Nomads and Covermore.

Joining Point Instructions

This trip will begin at the Freedom Hotel. The hotel is a short way from the central Old Market area where there are many restaurants, internet cafes, travel agents, market stalls and banks. The hotel has comfortable rooms with private bathroom, air conditioning, TV and 24 hour reception. There is also internet, a restaurant and swimming pool at the hotel.

From the airport there are prepaid cars (US$5) and vans (US$7) that will take you to the hotel. If you are bringing your own bike you might need to take a van. The hotel is well known and the drivers at the airport know its location. The hotel address is:

Freedom Hotel, Route 6, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Tel: +855 (0) 63 963 473

There is a map included in the print version (PDF).

Finishing point hotel: New York Hotel, No 256 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tel: +855 2321 4116-8, Fax: +855 2321 7142

Pre/post trip accommodation

If you would like us to organise some extra nights accommodation either before or after the trip at our start or finish point hotel, just let us know when you book the trip. Prices are:

CityHotelPrice p/p singlePrice p/p twin
Siem ReapFreedom Hotel25 USD18 USD
Phnom PenhNew York Hotel27 USD18 USD

Fitness

You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to participate in this trip. This trip involves some off road riding and/or longer days over 80km.

Cycling Conditions

84% sealed roads, 16% dirt roads. Road conditions in Cambodia have improved considerably over the past few years. This trip is mainly on recently made sealed roads with some stages on dirt roads. Road maintenance, however, is not always the best so you must expect random potholes, short sections of terrible surface and road works. In general this is a very flat ride with the only hills coming in the last 20km of the ride to Sihanoukville. Traffic is generally light but care must be taken with all those unexpected surprises like chickens, children and dogs running out in front of you. Stay alert.

Health

In order to make the most of your holiday, the healthier you are the more you will enjoy it! For a list of vaccinations we recommend that you seek advice at a travel clinic at least six weeks prior to departure. Our group leader will have Senior’s Level first aid training and will travel with a first-aid kit, however it is also recommended that individual travellers have a basic first aid kit with any personal medical requirements. Our group leader is not authorised, for legal reasons, to administer any kind of drugs, including pain relief tablets, antibiotics etc so be sure to pack a supply of your favourite pain-killers. Pharmacy products vary in different countries and you may not be able to buy products that are widely available at home. Include the following: plasters, dressings, bandage, calamine lotion (a must for soothing sunburn), oral re-hydration treatment (in case of bouts of diarrhoea), insect repellent, insect sting relief, antiseptic cream and antiseptic wipes.

For more information on travel health, you can click on the links below:

Australia - United States - United Kingdom

Visas

One month single entry visas can be easily obtained upon entry to Cambodia. Visas at the airport cost US$20 and require one passport photo. You can obtain a visa in your own country if you wish. Before you travel check your passport to ensure that there is room for a visa and entry/exit stamps (at least 3 pages) and that it has at least 6 months validity remaining.

Luggage / Packing List (Guide Only)

We strongly advise against using a hard shell suitcase for this trip. Tibet is not suitcase or wheelie-bag friendly country. We will be camping most nights and the ground will be grass and earth. A soft backpack would be the most suitable, and the easiest to transfer in/out of the trucks in the morning and evening. Keep in mind when you are packing that often our local crew are lifting our bags before we cycle into camp, so try to pack as lightly as possible. Please check our climate charts to assess your clothing requirements, or contact us if you are unsure.

    Personal
  • Long trousers
  • Shorts
  • Shirts
  • Hat
  • Sandals/light shoes
  • Swimming costume
  • Rain/Wind coat
  • Toiletries
  • Small towel
  • First aid kit
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Camera and film
  • Alarm Clock
  • Contact solution
  • Medication (eg. cold tablets, headache tablets, sleeping tablets)
    Travel
  • Passport with 6 months validity and spare pages
  • Passport photo
  • Travel insurance details
  • Flight tickets
  • Money - travellers cheques / cash / credit card
  • Guide/phrase book
  • Money pouch
  • Sleep sheet
    Cycling
  • Optional daypack, bumbag or handlebar bag.
  • Helmet
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle/bladder
  • 2 x Padded bike shorts with something to put on over the top when off the bike
  • Light wind-proof, rain-proof jacket for cycling
  • Cycle shoes
  • Own pedals, seat, bar ends etc.
  • Optional gel seat cover

Tipping

One of the reasons that our trips run so well, and are so much fun is the effort and energy put in by our local crew. On this trip, we will have a driver and a local guide. Their mix of professionalism, enthusiasm and sense of fun are infectious. We recognise that the wages in an economically developing country are vastly different to ours and ask that if you are satisfied with the service you show your appreciation with a tip. Your group leader will collect this at the end of the trip and organise a small thankyou presentation. As an indication only, we recommend you allocate USD 20. Tipping is NOT compulsory and it is meant to be a reward for good service.

Safety

Our cycling tour leader has the authority to change or cancel all or part of this trip if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. This decision would not be taken lightly, and where possible it would be made in consultation with our local crew, local operator and Bike Asia management. Your leader will be present on all included activities, staying at all the same hotels, guesthouses and of course cycling with you. During free time, should you choose to participate in any optional activities that are not part of our itinerary, please note that we cannot give any representations or guarantees about the safety of the activity, the standard of the operators running them or the equipment that they use.

In the group meeting on day 1, your tour leader will run a session on cycling safety. Whilst some travellers will have had years of touring experience, for others this might be their first cycling trip. We need to cater for a range of abilities and experience and it is in everyone’s interest to learn about the particulars of cycling in this region from someone who has already done it. It goes without saying that by running and participating in a cycling trip, both parties accept an inherent level of risk. However, we take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we ask that you cycle in a safe and responsible manner and that you look out for the well-being of your fellow travellers. Cycling helmets must be worn by all cyclists at all times whilst cycling.

Most national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information before departure. The links for some major travel advisories and updates are listed below

Australia - United Kingdom - Canada - New Zealand - United States

We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling in cities, for the safe keeping of your passport, money, credit cards and traveller's cheques. Utilise the hotel's safety boxes or safe where these are available.

Communication

In Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville you will be able to access email, phone, fax and post offices. Elsewhere there will be fewer chances to email and the main communication will be phone. You should leave your family or friends the Bike Asia contact details. Our office staff will be able to get in touch with us in an emergency.

Cycling Tour Leader

Our leaders are passionate about Asia and cycling... phew! They love what they do and take their job seriously. They will make every effort to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable trip with as much fun as possible. They bring many qualities and skills to this role; knowledge of group cycling, safety, management, and liasing between you and the local crew. In working for us, they have made a commitment to learning as much about the culture, language and customs of Cambodia as possible, and they are happy to share any of this knowledge with you. However, please keep in mind that they are not local and will not know everything.

Rules

We don't have many, but the ones we do have are important. We always abide by the laws of the country that we are travelling through. This means you are not to use any illegal drugs or use prostitutes. Any passenger who does so will be asked to leave the tour immediately.

Feedback

After you have completed the trip, we want to know what you thought about it. This is important to us, as it is through your feedback that we monitor our trips and make improvements for the future. Log on to our website and click on the feedback link. It will take you a minimum of 3 minutes, or should you feel like writing in more detail, then a little longer. If you fill in the feedback form, we'll give you an automatic 5% discount on any of our trips in any other region.

Photos

We are always looking for good photos of the regions which we travel through. If you have some that you would like to send us, we would love to have a look.

Newsletter

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