Friday, 17 February 2012


By Sanne

So, we made it to Cambodia. The border guards were a bit corrupt and demanding $1 for this and $1 for that. They even wanted us to pay $1 just to get a stamp in our passports. Surely this cash goes straight into their own pockets but when we tried questioning him it became quite clear that either we pay or we simply do not get the stamp! We had to go to quite a few offices and each one demanded another $1. As a result we ended up paying $8 which perhaps was stupid of us; maybe we should have questioned it but it was so bloody hot and we just wanted to get on our way that we just let it slide. 
We headed straight for the town of Banlung. To get there we had to ride 140 km's on a dusty road. We were surprised how dry everything was and how little trees were around here as we had heard that it was meant to be jungle.
Once in Banlung we decided to spoil ourselves and check into a really nice bungalow at a whopping $15 a night! While in Banlung we visited some waterfalls (when we could actually find them - Cambodian signage is confusing at its best!) We also went to a big volcanic lake where we went for our first swim since Southern Thailand. It's mainly tourists who swim here as apparently most locals believe demons live in it. No demons were spotted and a good time was had by all! 
While here we tried to find out about this track that led from Banlung south to another province. We had heard that it was only for 'hardcore' dirtbikers - a group I don't necessarily consider myself part of! We then ran into a tour group of dirtbikers from Phnom Pehn who were on a 2 week tour of Cambodia and had just come from there. When we asked them of the track conditions the first thing they said was: "You like riding in sand and bull dust?" Eh no, not particularly to be honest! They told us that the worst stretch of 40 km's took them 4 hours to traverse! Upon hearing that I seriously started doubting if this was really a route we wanted to take. There had been lots of people who had come off as well. For us it would be even harder fully loaded up with all our luggage. However we were still considering it just for the adventure. The bikers ended up inviting us for dinner with them that night and paid for our meals and beers. Safe to say we had a great night enjoying the company of some fellow bike riders. They were all British and on holiday doing this 2 week bike ride all over Cambodia. They seemed to be having a great time doing it. We went to bed that night still not sure if we should take this track or not. But when we woke up late the next morning we figured it would be too late to make it through the track before nightfall so we didn't end up doing it. 
Instead we headed for the town of Kratie which, sorry Kratie, didn't leave too big an impression on us, then we only spend the night there. After that we followed a dirt track that ran along the Mekong to Kampong Cham. This took us through many little villages, many of them muslim, and it was a nice little ride. The road did deterioate quite badly in parts and we did end up getting lost (again great Cambodian signage - or lack of I should say). For the latter half of the ride I was starting to feel slightly off. I was getting a slight nauseous feeling and the many potholes weren't helping this. When we arrived in Kampong Cham the first thing Mark and I did was loose each other! I assumed he was right behind me until I stopped at an intersection and saw that he was no longer there. So I waited, and I waited, but no Mark. I immediately assumed the worst and thought he might have been knocked over by a bus or something but I just couldn't find him anywhere. I thought, "How the hell are we going to find each other again?" We don't have Cambodian phone no's, besides Mark had all the money. That is when I decided to do a ride past the river front and surely there he was! Casually sitting astride his bike waiting for me to arrive. He had been caught behind a bus that had pulled out behind me. Drama averted we found a guesthouse that let us leave the bikes in the foyer and cost a whole of $5. We went to a night market for dinner where we were surprised at the amount of child beggars which is never nice to see. Later that night I was feeling increasingly ill and next thing I knew I was throwing up in the toilet. This continued throughout the night with me having to get up every 15 mins or so to throw up. This was clearly a case of food poisoning. By the next morning I felt shattered with not an ounce of energy in me anymore. There was no way I could get on the bike and ride today. So we stayed another day and I slept for most of it while Mark was left to his own devices (which I think he enjoyed!)

Cambodia here we come!

Our lovely bungalow

Mark chilling out

Some cheeky little monkeys who gathered around us when we stopped for lunch

Kampong Cham

Believe it or not - cars drive on this bamboo bridge (it's rebuilt every year)

1 comment:

  1. good to Meet you Guys in Banlung !!! i was one of the Camoenduro guys you met for Dinner. Sound like you are having a great time .you met Frank too , we met him on his way to Banlung and helped him with his first river crossing on that huge KTM !!! I hear you saw Zeman again as well which is nice . I will be out in Cambodia again in November for a wt season trip , can't wait . Ride safe guys and good to meet with you !!!