Tag Archives: cambodia

A review: South-east Asia on two wheels

Wow what a ride, around 4400 km in 90 days, which makes more than 1000 km per month.
Could I have done more?  YES, but
Was it enough? YES

I am happy with what I have achieved, I learned a lot about me, other people, nature, stuff, life, …

I choose the bike because:

  • it’s quicker then walking.
  • you have more time to see the landscape than on a motorbike or in a car, where one just rush through everything.
  • On can (nearly) go wherever one wants to go, not like with bus or train.
  • It’s healthy

Did I hate it that I chose the bike? Yes, but the moments where I was happy about my choice are even more important and rememberable, which makes it a great choice.

Travelling “alone” (not with a fix partner who travels same route with you) was a not so good decision. In the beginning I was lucky to have met Tomaz and we kind of travelled along the same route for several days till somewhere after Pokhara. We rarely cycled next to each other, but we always meet up in the evenings.

I review a little bit by country and show my track of each country (more less) on a map below the text. Between Cambodia and Vietnam I made the cut where I took the bus to get to Phnom Penh and then down to the beach. Although there is no line of a trek in Phnom Penh, this doesn’t mean, that I wasn’t there.

My first actual country I visited was Nepal. Not really, because the country I started in was India, but that was just a way to get to Nepal, but I will not report in India, because, the part I saw, isn’t really representative and it was never a destination of my trip.  So Nepal: I like mountains, a part of  Nepal is in the Himalaya mountain area, which leads to me liking Nepal.

A more detailed view on my track in Nepal can be found here.

Cambodia was the country I knew nothing about. People just told me: lots of temples and Ankor Wat (which is also a temple but a great one). As Cambodia is mostly flat (at least the road I took), I didn’t enjoy riding it that much, but it has some nice beautiful landscapes. I also was able to jump into the ocean (for Christmas), which was great.

A more detailed view on my track in Cambodia can be found here.

My favourite country, is Vietnam. It has great landscape and nature with mountains and I haven’t been yet to the norther mountains. I will definitely  go back to that country. On the one side, I will visit the remaining parts in the north, I haven’t visit yet. On the other hand, I want to revisit the parts I already went to, as I missed some places because I was on the bike and didn’t want to take the detour or I simply didn’t knew about them. Also I have made really interesting friends there who I am looking forward to meet again. Also the food, it is amazing, it is not just rice, but it is rice in all kind of different forms and mixed with everything and other stuff to eat.

A more detailed view on my track in Vietnam can be found here.

This is a really short summary. I once tried to show some pictures of my journey to some friends and it took me about 1,5 hours to tell them just a summary of a subset of the stories with some pictures.

I also wanted to write this blog post a long time ago, but I always found an excuse not to write it, but now it is here.

Day 56: Gooood morning Vietnam 🇻🇳 

Distance: 129,21 km Time: 6:32 Total distance: 2409 km

Today I was able to start really early. The way to the border was easy and flat.

Arrived at the border,  I directly started the process to get through. At the Cambodian side I had to wait because there were many people in front of me. At the Vietnamese side, it went a little bit slower to check in, I got asked if I had any illness or feeling of sick. Then they were not sure if my bicycle should also pass the security scan or just my luggage. At the end they just wanted my luggage😂 Then they checked my passport again. Out on the street there was again a checkpoint to do a final check of my visa. And then I was on the road in Vietnam 😀 Between the two offices of the two countries,  I took some pictures.

The first city wasn’t far away. In there I had 3 tasks:

  1. get Vietnamese money at an ATM
  2. get some food
  3. get a SIM card for my phone.

ATM was found quickly found. Food also. A mobile shop too, but not an official one,  so now I have a SIM card which one isn’t registered to me😂 Do I care? no😂

I continued for another 80 km.

Arrived in Phú Hòa in the dark I started to ask around for a guest house. The first one I asked, told me that a little bit down the road would be one,  but that one was full,  there would be another one more down the road. Eventually the people from the first place were behind me on a motorbike and offered me to stay at their home😀 Awesome,  I got a place to sleep,  I ate with them. They are so kind☺️ really happy☺️

Tomorrow I will continue to a friend who helped me a lot here in Vietnam already,  for example I called here when I had communication problems with my hosts of tonight. Now everything is all right☺️

Day 55: Along the ocean

Distance: 108,59 km Time: 5:40 Total distance: 2279 km

Again I begin my post with yesterday, as I went into a bar yesterday evening to enjoy one or two beer and then it happened,  a local family was invited me to drink some of their beers with them from the happy hour. The guys presented them self as Rom, Diamond and Lucky. They were all tuk tuk drivers 😂 (on the left side one can identify the reflections of the wheels of my bicycle😁)

They also had some food on them,  like chicken and this one:

These fried insects tasted really good (salty) and I didn’t have the feeling like I had one time on the road when one insect landed in my mouth while riding😂 These were very soft.

Today I started normally. At the beginning it was a little bit hilly but nothing really steep. After 20 km it got flat again for the rest of the day. The flat part began with rice fields which then got replaced by little fisher villages.

At the road I then thought: yeahh great a hill

But the road went over the hill in Cambodian style: going around😂

The first wreak I saw on the road

Finally one good shot of a water buff

20 km before I arrived I met 2 cyclists from Poland. First they were just interested in my bicycle and equipment and then the topic changed to where to find a good restaurant on the road. We separated quickly as they still had to do 60 km to Sihanoukville.

Now I am in Kampot,  another touristic city at the ocean of Cambodia.

Tomorrow I will cross the border to Vietnam😀

I once (pretty often) told myself on the bicycle to talk a little bit about my equipment. I still don’t know why I took this shot today of my handle bar,  but now I can talk about it. So from left to right: 

  1. A red buff,  I take it off to clean my face from sweat.
  2. My bell,  it’s useless here,  because they don’t know the sound,  and it’s not loud enough for them.
  3. My GPS,  telling me (most of the time)  where to go and how many kilometers remaining. It’s not always good to know how far you still have to go,  but I think otherwise I would never go so far. It’s fixed with a red cord in case it fells of because it’s not correctly fixed. It happened once to me on the road bike at 30 km/h back at home. It’s still working fine but I think it’s not really healthy for the GPS😂
  4. In the front: my handlebar bag (yeah it’s still there,  although I said it was broken,  it doesn’t look perfect,  bended to the front, but it’s okay, I think). It contains: My camera, notebook (not a laptop, but paper),  my sunglasses (when they are not on my nose), my phone,  power bank. On top there are paper cards of Nepal  (completely useless with GPS and smart phone). On the right side there is my little horn,  actually that one is really useful as bell because people and some animals are used to the sound and it’s louder. It also amuses people when I park my bike somewhere,  so I always know that somebody is looking after it☺️. The orange thing hanging down from the bag next to the fixation of the bag is from the juggling convention in Herxheim.  It was a frog with 4 legs,  now it only has 1 left😂 (hang in there froggy)
  5. My road computer,  telling speed,  distance, time on the road, average and total distance. Normally it’s set to maximum speed so that I don’t always see how less I went since I last checked,  which would be every few seconds,  if it would show the distance.
  6. A black sweat band. It hard to see on the handle but it’s the one I use the most on the road, because the buff is hard to get of and doesn’t really absorb that much sweat but it’s good when I want to clean my head when I don’t have my helmet on.

Day 54: Coconutbeach

no cycling

First the rest what happened yesterday. At the ferry I met some more people from the hostel in Phnom Penh but they went to a different beach than I. It was nice to met them again.

The speed boat ferry took one hour but it brought me directly to the beach where Soraya and Andreas were staying. I saw the sunset on the water: AMAZING

At the beach, Soraya welcomed me at the pier and we went to the tens where we got invited in for christmas dinner by the owner.

After the dinner the owner came by our table and told us to change to our swimsuits to see glowing plankton. As I had never planed to swim on my trip I didn’t pack a swimsuit,  so I just went into the ocean with my underwear. What I saw then was amazing. The owner turned of the lights of the beach,  he went with us into the water and told us to shake our hands inside the water. The plankton, which one can’t see because it’s too small begins to glow as soon as it thinks,  it’s being attack (That’s what the owner told us). So now imagine how swimming in the night must feel like,  when the water starts to glow green as soon as you start to move. Amazing (again).

After the swimming in the night, we spend some more time in the restaurant playing a game and went to sleep.

Until now it was all what happened yesterday.

I decided to stay a whole day at the beach with Soraya and Andreas,  before going back to mainland with the last ferry. Sadly that one left already at 14:30. So I kind of only had half a day at the island,  but it was still amazing. We went swimming and walking around the island before I had to leave.

We took one last selfi when I had to leave

Arrived at mainland I collected my bicycle from the ticket office of the ferry,  as I was not allowed to take it with me and I didn’t see why I should have taken it with me. I found a hostel and skyped with my family at home as they were all together at one place for christmas😀

Now I am planning my day tomorrow to get to Kampot (100 km).

Merry Christmas 🎄

Day 53: Down to the beach

no cycling,  just 4 km together to get to the bus in Phnom Penh and from the bus to the ferry in Sihanoukville.

I tought it would be a wonderful morning. Getting up,  have some breakfast, the van would pick up my luggage, I would follow him to the bus station with my bicycle (it didn’t fit into the van,  which picks you up to get to the bus station) , get into the bus and get down to the beach of Cambodia.

It didn’t all went as planed. Till the pickup everything was all right. Then I was told to wait at the hostel,  as the van would go to another hostel to pick up more people and they would come back for me so that I could follow them. I waited and waited. Suddenly they passed by without breaking,  they just honked and waved to me. The chase through the city began. Arrived at the bus station I got my luggage back and searched for the bus. My luggage got stored in the bus and then my bicycle…​ no. I forgot to buy the ticket. Okay I will buy the ticket for the bicycle,  5$. They didn’t want to sell me a ticket for my bicycle,  they told me “no space”,  I had to take another bus one hour later. Luckily I saw the space in the luggage compartment of the bus and I knew that it would fit as it was the same type of bus I took some days ago. They kept telling me the same lie over and over, till I got really angry and shouted at them, that I know that there is space and I know what to do to get it in. Then suddenly they said okay and even let me jump over the queue at the ticket office,  as it was already 9:15 (the bus should have left at 9:00), but heyyy its cambodian time😂 My bicycle got a ticket too, took my front wheel off placed my bicycle in the bus,  my luggage (which they already took out again)  back in and went into the bus. I had to do everything by myself,  they didn’t even help me😂 I wasn’t the reason for the delay,  there were more people coming later than me! 

In the bus I realised what they tried to do to me. they tried to scam me. Because the bus at 10 o’clock is another bus,  which costs the double😯 f**** a****** (to keep it child save here😂) 

The rest of the ride was normal,  they stopped at 12 o’clock at a restaurant with reasonable food and arrived with 2 hours of delay at Sihanoukville. From there I had to take the ferry to get to the island where Soraya and Andreas are staying. I had to wait for one hour on the ferry (departure time at 17:00). So I am chilling at a bar next to the beach.

Tomorrow I will probably try to get back to mainland and start cycling again towards Vietnam 😀 Alternatively I would stay another day on the island,  I don’t know yet. I have to see when I am at the beach ⛱

Day 52: Tuol Sleng

no cycling,  at least it is not worth to mention as it was.

As I already cycled over 2000 km and I don’t have a chain tool on me, I decided to change my chain as it’s sometimes recommended after that many kilometers on not the nicest roads. Therefore I went to the bicycle shop of the brand Specialize. I already had a new chain on me,  I bought it in Kathmandu. They replaced it for free😀 It was 2 km away.

Next task on the list was organizing a ticket to get down to the beach. My idea was to get the train. The alternative was the bus,  but I wanted to take the train. Sadly I forgot one problem. No it was not the bicycle,  the train was already full for tomorrow…​ So I had to get a bus ticket…​

After all the non touristic tasks I got to my touristic part of today: visiting Tuol Sleng Museum. It was the prison where people were  tortured during the time of the Khmer Rouge, before they were send to the killing fields (which I visited yesterday)  to be executed. Again really great to visit this sad place. I got an audio guide and listened to everything there was to learn everything about the time of the Khmer Rouge. 

For lunch I went to the russian marked again to get noodles as it was close by the museum. 

After the museum it was 15 o’clock. I was told that my passport with the Vietnamese visa would be ready at 16 o’clock, but I went there anyway,  as I had nothing to do anymore. My passport was ready with the approved visa😀

On the way to the Vietnamese embassy I saw this kids paradise 😍 I checked it out,  the whole tower was full of activities for kids like climbing,  laser tag,  bumper cars,… Sadly the maximum age was 12 years…​ (Yeah that is my finder in the lens…)

I was lazy and took a tuk tuk back to the hostel

As I was so interested in the story of the Khmer Rouge, I watched a documentary over this topic as the audio guides only explained what happened at the places I was at but not how it really started and ended.

For the rest of the evening i was just chilling in the roof top bar and packing/preparing my stuff for tomorrow as I leave in the morning at 8:30 for the bus.

So that’s also what I will be doing tomorrow,  taking the bus to get down to the beach,  where I will get a ferry to get to an island where I met up again with Soraya and Andreas😀

Somewhere in the city I saw this commercial,  where I thought: “Photoshop makes every commercial better”

Day 51: Killing Fields

no cycling

Today I met up with Mila from Germany and we took  a tuk tuk together to get to Choeung Ek Memorial also know as the killing fields. It’s one of the many killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, where they executed people who didn’t follow or didn’t seem to follow the regime of Pol Pot,  the leader of the Khmer Rouge. We got an audio guide and listened to all the stories they provided. It took us like 2 hours. They build a memorial stupa where they placed skulls there. It’s an interesting and sad story. I can only recommend it.

After the tour we went to the Russian market to grab some noodles. Then we separated. I went to the Vietnamese embassy to get my visa. As always I was coming unprepared and forgot to take my passport pictures with me…​ So back to the hostel and try again to get a visa. Just filled out the form, added the photo, went to the counter,  handed in the form, the picture, my passport and the money. As I am not in a hurry I didn’t took the 1 hour express service (10$) but the 24 hours standard service. So currently they have my passport.

After that I went to the train station to get information about how to get down to the beach by train. Sadly the station was already closed but I got a sheet of paper with the information. I went to the central marked.

From there I went chilling on a bank next to the river.

Now Joshua and I will go to the cinema watching “Passengers”.

Tomorrow I will try to find a shop to replace my chain,  get a train ticket,  go to S-21 (the prison, where people were kept and tortured during the time of Khmer Rouge) and get my passport back with the visa inside hopefully😊

Day 50: visiting and other stuff

no cycling

This post is one day too late as I didn’t have time yesterday evening to write it.

I had plans of going to some places but I met up with a Joshua from Korea and we changed our plans. We visited a temple and the royal palace. Along the way we met many people,  during breakfast or at the royal palace. Joshua really likes to talk to everybody,  it’s really fun😂

yeah at this temple you could buy some birds for whatever reason. 2 birds for 1 $

Arrived at the area of the palace

In the evening we met Soraya and Andreas again which we met at breakfast and we spend the whole evening together with eating in the streets and having some drinks in a bar.

They started to do some dancing/gym at the place we were sitting. The later it got the more people joined and they did it for more than 3 hours.

Eventually Joshua went away to do a call and when he came back he had a little surprise for me as it was kind of my special day😀 Some german cake (he was in Germany before he came to Phnom Penh), some and some candles. 

Awesome I didn’t expect it and it was amazing. Thanks to all of them for that great day and evening😀

Day 49: Phnom Penh

Distance: 40,37 km Time: 2:13 Total distance: 2167 km

I woke up really early as the first motorbike started at 6 o’clock in front of my door and my earplugs went out during the night. Around 7 I got up myself,  took a quick breakfast and went on my way to Kampong Cham, the next city, which was just 30 km away.

As it was only 30 km and I started early,  I arrived early there around 9:30. So I chilled a little bit on the nice walk they have in the cities and villages along the Mekong

After some cycling through the city to see something (nothing special). I went to a place where they actually had a coffee machine and I took a real coffee for the first time since I arrived in Cambodia. As I already saw the city,  I decided to move on to Phnom Penh. I also wasn’t in the mood to cycle anymore,  so I decided to take the boat to get there. By asking in the cafe I was in,  they laughed at me and told me that there were no boats for years I had to take the bus. So I went to the bus station. Arrived there I was lucky, the last bus today left 10 minutes after I came, it was 12 o’clock. Quickly got a ticket for me and my bicycle for 10$. And waited…​ I was told it was Cambodian time,  so no one knows when it is coming😂 With a delay of just 30 minutes the bus came. After 3 attempts of getting my bicycle in, we finally got it in. I just had to take off the front wheel. My luggage was thrown on top of some bananas in the luggage room😂

After 1,5 hours of driving,  there was a break for lunch. There were two pots of spiders☺️ (yep alive). No I ate fried rice,  these weren’t served for eating,  I don’t know why they were there.

After another 1,5 hours of riding,  we arrived in Phnom Penh. The driver helped me putting my bike back together and I looked for the hostel Justin was in. I am really tired now and just grabbed some food will take a little walk to the Mekong river and probably go back to the hostel.

Tomorrow I will visit Phnom Penh,  I have to check what there is to see here. Also I want to get my visa for Vietnam and check out the possibilities on how to get down to the beach by train😀

And I added the video to yesterday’s post.

Day 48: Along the Mekong

Distance: 88,55 km Time: 4:18 Total distance: 2126 km

During the night power went off multiple times. The first time I was still up and the lights were switched on. As power went off I decided to go to sleep and I thought of switching the switch. Sadly it was not the one from the light but the one next to it for the ventilation. After one hour, I had just fallen asleep,  power went on and with it all the lights and the ventilation…​

In the morning I started to follow the run of the Mekong river. I had 2 cities I could go to. One closer with 80 km and a ferry. Another one was 100 km away. As I wanted to slow down for one day I choose the closer one.

At 10 o’clock I met Justin,  a german cyclist,  who was cycling in the opposite direction. We were talking for over one hour. While talking some kids started playing around us. First they tried out my honk,  then they started to give us some fruits from the trees, but we never understood whether we should eat them or not,  so we never ate them. Eventually,  with some of the present I started juggling😂 Justin made a video. (When I have WiFi I will upload it,  in the current town,  nobody seems to have a WiFi password but there are many WiFi around me).

During my lunch I had a drink with green cream flavor,  whatever that is😂 It tasted like a lot of sugar and the liquid was green😂

The road wasn’t really interesting. Constantly houses around and with it many people,  who wave. There were also many temples of different religions there. It’s interesting to see the difference of landscapes close to the river and further away.

At quarter past three I arrived at the ferry,  I bought a ticket and waited and waited and…​ 45 minutes until the ferry came. On the ferry I had to wait for another 20 minutes for the journey to the other side of the river to start.

Arrived at the little town called Stung Trang (not Stung Treng like some days ago) I had to find out that it’s really a little town with nothing. A guest house in a back street which I wouldn’t have found without my GPS.

When checking what I should/could do tomorrow I got a little frustrated. I should have chosen to cycle further…​ From here to Phnom Penh it’s between 150 and 160 km. Too far for one day. But between here and Phnom Penh is just one city (the other city I could have gone today) which is 30 km away. Too short for one day. My current plan for tomorrow is to get to that city and check:

  • The city is interesting and I will stay there for the rest of the day.
  • I will get there and take a bus to Phnom Penh.
  • I will get there and take a boat to Phnom Penh.
  • I will gain magic power over night and cycle the 150 km to Phnom Penh.😂

I will decide tomorrow what I will do.

Another story from the road: When planning I realised that December is in the middle of my trip. In December this one song called “Last Christmas” is running up and down the radio. Once a year I listen to that song. Sadly that I don’t have a radio on me,  so I placed it on my Ipod. It already came up multiple times in my random playlist and I always had to skip it as it was not December yet. But today was the day,  I listened to it and now I can skip it again every time it comes up😂