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Cambodian girls cycling home from school.

Cambodian girls cycling home from school.

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.

Flat roads in Cambodia.

Flat roads in Cambodia.

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. That makes cycling in Cambodia quite easy in that way.

My bicycle and I, in Cambodia.

Taking a break when cycling in Cambodia.

What are the cambodian roads like for cyclists?

Cambodian roads are quite ok as long as you have decent tires.

Cambodian roads are quite ok as long as you have decent tires.

Cambodian road scene.

Cambodian road scene.

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.

Cambodian roadside shop.

Cambodian roadside shop.

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.

Cambodian roadside shop.

Cambodian roadside shop.

Accommodation along the road in Cambodia.

Simple, but nice cambodian guest house.

Simple, but nice cambodian guest house.

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 of course. 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.That is 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.

Local cambodians, taking a look at my bicycle.

Local cambodians, taking a look at my bicycle.

If you need spare parts for you bicycle, when cycling in Cambodia, then you should stick to the bigger towns. 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.

The roads of Cambodia are colorful.

The roads of Cambodia are colorful.

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 go 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.

Cycling across a Khmer bridge in Cambodia.

Cycling in Cambodia across a Khmer bridge in Cambodia.

 

Cambodian traffic.

Cambodian traffic.

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10 Comments

  1. Wow! The mattresses on the back of a motorbike! What a sight!

  2. Pingback: 2 wheels is enough in Vietnam and Cambodia. - Travelling Claus

  3. Nice post, well designed with images and quality content. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post Travelling Cluas. I’m thinking of doing my first cycle tour ever. I am currently in Vietnam after spending a few months traveling by motorcycle and teaching English, I am ready for a new adventure. Any advice for a first time cycle tourist?

  5. Excellent summary of your adventures. Am considering a trip.would probably buy a bike when I get there. Regards Gordob

  6. Hello! Im a cycling tourer abd I just arrived to Siem Reap. I m looking for a bicycle shop, but cant find anything on the Internet. Could you tell me the name of the place you were? Thanks a lot

    • Hi’ Roberto. You have a couple of bicycle shops on Taphul Road. It’s a side street to National Highway #6. It’s not big shops, but they have some pretty ok things in there for mountainbikes especially. Good luck with your trip mate.

  7. Hi Claus! Great post. We have been cycle touring in SEA for the last 3 months are about to enter Cambodia from Laos.

    We will be doing a popular route to Siem Reap following the Mekong south.

    There is a long stretch between Stung Treng and Kratie that seems very desolate. Have you ridden this route and can you advise if there are any guesthouses or homestays on this leg?

    Thanks, Katie

    • Hi’ Katie. I have not traveled that road by bicycle, but I have driven it a few times as a tour leader. I can’t recall any specific guest house on the route, but I am almost certain that there must be. This route is getting quite popular these days and I have seen several cyclists there. Be ware that this particular road get’s flooded certain times of year, to the point where cycling can become quite difficult. Should that happen to you, then there is an option of just putting your bikes on top of one of the many small cargo boats that sails between Stung Treng. This boat ride is really scenic as well. Hops you will have a fantastic trip through Cambodia.

  8. Do you know anything about the road from Stung Treng to Preah Vihear? Are there any homestays between those two points. My guess is that it is pretty flat and not much traffic? I am coming in from Laos along the Mekong and want to head west to Thailand without going through Phnom Penh. I’ll be traveling that way sometime in early March. Any suggestions?

    Thanks Dave

    • Hi’ Dave. Prea Vihear is one of the few areas in Cambodia that I have not been to yet, so I am not really able to help you on that one. But these days you find small privately owned hotels in almost all towns in Cambodia, so I think you should be ok. Have a fantastic trip.

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