Fantastic Three days. Action packed riding and exploring Cambodia..
1,485 kilometres round trip.
Amazingly good roads and mostly empty.. Worst part of the ride is from Sieam Reap to Poipet.
We decided to make a bit of a ride of it and try the Osmarch Border crossing to get in to Cambodia. Bypassing the Poipet mafia.
The weekend before the trip. I had arrived back from a work trip to the UK early Saturday morning.
Rob invited me around for a BBQ and beers.
While we had a great night.. In my drunken carry on said.. Why don’t we go for a ride to Cambodia.
– We had talked about this a year earlier
That was that.. Wake up the next morning to a message from Rob.. All keen on this ride to Cambodia.
Oh sh1t.. I was a little drunk last night..
Oh well.. What the hell.. Lets do it.. I will take Monday off work.
Then I get the mother of all Flu and cancelled on the friday..
The good old doctor had some pink wonder pills
They managed to make me feel good enough to be ready to roll at 6:00 am Saturday
Rob arrives at 6:30 and we take the back roads up towards Burriram..
Then ride a long the border for a bit.. It was a bit boring
So join up to the main highway and nail it to the Chom Jom Border.
Ready to roll at 6am Saturday morning
At Chom Jom border crossing. Very friendly and very Hill Billy..
Hill Billy as they had no idea of the correct paper work we needed..
At the time I said to Rob.. That was all to easy. ( At the end of the trip.. We found out it was way to easy )
Cross over to O’smarch
This is a really quiet border crossing.. Mostly Thai’s just crossing to gamble in the Casino.
All very civilised.
Get your visa on arrival at the building on the left.. Get stamped in at the building on the right.
No corruption, no extra fees.. Just smiles and friendly people
No bike paper work what so ever.. Just cover the headlight and ride down to Customs
Two blokes sitting at the side of the road that wave us past.
You ride away from the border. There is really not very much of a town or anything..
Following the GPS, we arrive at a turn in the road.. Looks like the right way and off we head in the direction of Preah Vihear.
This is our destination for today..
But we didn’t make it.. Arrived at Anlong Veng.. Not sure if it was all the drugs I was on to fight the flu.. but started looking for Preah Vihear.
After a ride to the other local border crossing (Choam) and a few shocked locals seeing us up there.. Also asking what we are doing there.
– There is a lot of development going on at this crossing.. Big hotel (Casino?) going up.. Loads of Thai registered Minivans.. Not much else.
Found out Preah Vihear is around another 80 + KM along the main road… Too much for today, so head back to town and find a place to stay.
Pick an OK looking hotel… You know, one of the nice ones where they have a sign to leave your guns and other weapons outside.
Jokingly I asked the girl if I could leave my gun with her.. She said yes and put her hands out.
Friendly staff pushing the coal across the car park
We found some good food.. They spoke a bit of Thai so could order the favourites.
Rob was keen to get a bit of dental work done.. I said he didn’t need to.. His smile is nice enough 😉
Not a bad 1st day meander
Nice doing the scenic route up from Bangkok.. But would not bother trying to ride along the border. Pretty uninteresting country side.
When you get to the main highway heading to Ubon..
Just stick on that.. Good quality and not too much traffic.
You could probably do Bangkok to Chom Jom in 4.5 to 5 hours with scenic route then highway.
Giving you enough time to make it to Preah Vihear on day 1 with a 6 am start, skipping the need to stay over in Anlong Veng.
Second day of our meander.
Wake up early and head off to Preah Vihear.. The night before we had a discussion.. Should we dump Preah Vihear and go straight to Siem Reap or should we try and do both.
Worse case we will do Angkor Wat next time (I have been 3 times already).. Rob’s first time to Angkor Wat.
We decide as we are so close to Preah Vihear and Siem Reap is so close to Bangkok.. Lets focus on Preah Vihear and do it properly.
Stumble across a wedding as we ride through a town on the way to Preah Vihear.
Fantastic road that leads in to Preah Vihear temple.
Entry is free.. There is a donation box. We willingly paid $5 each towards the local generals new BMW
A lovely twisty winding road up to Preah Vihear.
Belting along enjoy the bends and nice road… All very steep and up up up…
Holy crap.. Next thing I see is dirt and a decent drop.. Jump up, standing on the pegs..
Stop and look back.
Where did the road go?
Hmmm. No sign saying the road is ending or to slow down and take the goat track to the left.
Up we go and it was getting steeper…
On the way back down, both bikes had the ABS kicking in front and back.. Never had the front ABS kick in before.
A short ride across a dirt track that the KLX would have enjoyed and park the bikes with these fellas for 2000 riel each.
Looking over at the Thai army checkpoint and observation area.
The Cambodian and UNESCO Flag facing off the Thai flag
The road up to the right, with the building to get your ticket at to the left bottom of the picture.
Work place health and safety? No workers compensation..
Just don’t fall over the edge and use your common sense..
The Cambodians are pretty adamant this is their temple…
At the bottom of the steps, near the perimeter with Thailand walking back up to the temple.
(Guessing this was here for when day trippers were allowed to cross from Thailand (Now it is all a minefield and covered in barbed wire )
Walk down the steps and there is an open area. Like a small housing community.
Keep walking, through a makeshift football field then over a wooden bridge..
Lots of army and people living here as well as bunkers..
Then I reach an area with 4 fella’s sitting down very relaxed.. Have a chat and smiles all around
One of them says.. Thailand, Thailand.. (Thailand on the other side of the barbed wire)
This looks to be the walk way from Thailand.. When tourists were allowed to visit before the area was made a political football by the right wing zealots in both countries
Preah Vihear Rambo
While chatting with the guys and wandering around taking Photo’s..
One of the army guys runs off and comes back with his AK47
Never asked for money.. Just took photo’s together and had a chat..
All very friendly on the front line..
Right at the perimeter there are a lot of bunkers
Good to see traditions are still followed.
Shoes outside.. RPG’s inside.
Time to roam around the temple.
Bullet holes from one of the skirmishes with Thailand.
There are quite a few battle scars around the temple.
Had my pic taken with about 5 different groups of people this day..
After spending a fantastic day at Preah Vihear we headed for Siem Reap.
The quickest most direct way is to go back the way we came to Anlong Veng.
Having just come from that direction and not wanting to retrace steps we look at the OSM map on the GPS.
There is another way. Get back to the main road after leaving Preah Vihear and turn left.
It adds about 40 km may be more to the journey.. Yet again.. Great roads..
Rob finally found our first pothole later on.
Enjoying the riding and not wanting to get in to Siem Reap too early.. we ignore the GPS and take a few other routes.
Yet again, more amazing roads.
A couple of occasions the nice road ran out and we had to ride 4 or 5 km on dirt to join back up to the next main road.
Then to the north of Siem Reap.. We come across the Mile Marker Grave Yard.
It is north of Siem Reap on the most potholed roundabout in Cambodia
Next stop Siem Reap.
Love this town. My first visit here was around 20 years ago… Yes I am that old.
The town is just growing like crazy.
Twenty years ago when we changed money at the local bank.. They had a petition they asked us to sign.
The petition was from the bank branch to head office… They wanted to get the first ATM in Sieam Reap !
Now ATM’s are everywhere..
Never at the time did I think I would be recalling that event all these years later..
Check in and head off for some beers.
Plus great pizza.
With a red wine to accompany the pizza.
We gave this fella a few bucks and he took us around town for a pub tour
Monday morning and time to head back to the Big Durian (AKA Bangkok).
Years ago when at Siem Reap.. We did the tour one day of Angkor Wat then rocked up on bicycles the next day.
They let us ride around for free on the 2nd day, but we couldn’t go in to the temples.
Thought we would give that a try again.. But no go.. not too disappointed anyway.
The crowds getting in were crazy and we would have only had temple pics with all the tourists in the photo’s.
So we head back to Bangkok
The road from Siem Reap to Poipet is pretty rough in parts.. Too much traffic and poor quality road..
Quite cut up, but still doable on a road bike.. Just have to watch the potholes and road works, not to mention the crazy Cambo driving.
Arrive at immigration / customs in Poipet.. The fella offers to go and do the paper work for us.
I politely say no, we will do it.. (You need to have finger prints and photo taken, so not sure what he was going to do).
No hassle from them.. You could see they were trying to think of something to make a few bucks.
Then over to the Thailand side
We had a bit of a hiccup here. At Chom Jom they didn’t give us any conveyance paper work..
Just see you later with the customs form.
I should have known better.. Will put this down to flu and drugs too…
The fella was not very happy.. Explained in English. That didn’t help
Then in Thai.. They were immediately more friendly and listened..
To cut a long story short.. We had to complete the conveyance forms there and then.
I guess they just needed the right bits of paper to show they were doing their job properly.
All friendly with old mate at the end.
It is amazing what gets pushed and pulled across this bordering crossing
Before this, the same type of setup.. but with blue tarp and water with live fish swimming around.
Some what hilarious.. As one of the cops came up and started telling them off for the water that was spilling on the road.
It smelt like a brothel.. Fish water every where and drying sun.. You get the idea..
In the end.. Everyone listened to the cop rant a bit..
Then all laughing.. Like really.. How can we stop the water sloshing around.
All across and back in Thailand… Now the scenic way back to Bangkok.. Great ride and managed to avoid most of the big highways.
That is our Bangkok Weekend Warriors long weekend to Cambo in a nutshell.
Both our photo’s are used in this report.
Petrol is only $1.03 up country but near the border at Poipet.. $1.30