The following tips and advice is based on 4 cross country tours I have done by bicycle in Cambodia over the past 13 years, plus another dozen visits to the country because of work. So I feel that I have a pretty good idea about what it’s like to go cycling in Cambodia, so here is my 5 cents.
Cambodia is flat.
Cambodia is not a country of many mountains. There is a bit in the south and a little bit in the north east, but you will most likely be cycling on flat roads for most of your journey in Cambodia as the country has very little elevation, so that makes cycling in Cambodia quite easy in that way.
What are the cambodian roads like for cyclists?
The roads in Cambodia are world famous for being really bad, but this reputation is mainly due to what it was like a decade ago and these days, they are a lot better, but you are still in a developing country, so you will have a mix of paved roads and dirt roads. In Cambodia, many people will travel with ox carts, scooters, bicycles and so on, so the drivers are used to having soft traffic on the side of the road and you will often have a nice shoulder on the road where you can bike next to all the scooters, ox carts and so on. Be ware of the big Lexus cars on the road though. These super expensive big 4WD cars are mostly owned by corrupt government employees and these people have little respect for others when they are on the road as they are generally free from prosecution if they do anything wrong, as long as they have contacts high up in the system, which they mostly have. So be ware of the big Lexus cars, as they are the most dangerous thing on the cambodian roads. But apart from that, the road safety is pretty good for asian country in my opinion. But try to stay away from the rainy season that falls from may until september, as you can have a lot of flooding and a lot of mud during that period.
Please support the little roadside shops.
You often have little stalls by the side of the road, selling canned drinks from a little cooler box. I would recommend that you support these people by buying some water or other drinks from them from time to time, as these people are among the poorest in Cambodia and deserve to be supported a little financially, while they are trying to make a better tomorrow in an honest way.
Accommodation along the road in Cambodia.
Accommodation in non touristy towns in Cambodia, used to be a problem when cycling around Cambodia. But these days I find it very easy to track down a place to sleep for the night, as long as I am not fuzzy. Generally speaking, you will find at least one small hotel in every town of any size in Cambodia and they tend to cost around 8-10$ for a single room, in a place where you have a simple room with private bathroom and quite often some sort of wifi these days. The strength of that wifi can vary greatly though. And I have never had any problems in a hotel in Cambodia, when it came to getting my bicycle locked up for the night, inside the hotel.
Getting spare bicycle parts in Cambodia.
If you need spare parts for you bicycle, when cycling in Cambodia, then you should stick to the bigger towns, as I have found it hard to find quality bike shops outside Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, does on the other hand have a few nicely equipped bicycle shops, where you can get spare parts or even buy a decent bike. I bought a bike in Siem Reap on one trip that I cycled to Saigon in Vietnam on and I still have this fine Giant mountain bike to this day and I am using it for cycling around Denmark at the moment. That bike cost me 265$ by the way.
My conclusion about cycling in Cambodia.
Cambodia is a really good country for tour cycling if you ask me. It has world class sights to see and the roads are good as long as you do not have thin tires. Cambodians are among the friendliest in all Asia and hotel rooms are cheap and there is a great variety. Be ware that tourist scams and petty theft is becoming a real problem in the spots where you have lot’s of tour groups, sex tourists and backpackers, but being a bicycle tourist, these scenes are really easy to avoid as we cyclists do usually not follow a guidebook and go with the flow. I have never experienced a single scam when being off the beaten track in Cambodia, so they off the beaten track and you will find that cycling in Cambodia is a fantastic experience.
If you plan to go cycling in Indonesia Vietnam Malaysia or Philippines when you are in Asia, then you can also check out these links, where I have given a little run down of the local bicycle situation.