We were approached by a group of 6 friends who were looking to do a private week long motorcycle tour of Cambodia in November. They were looking for something a bit different and so we organised a trip with XR250s and a bit of adventure involved.
Below is the first of the e-mails that were sent back from the trip. Words courtesy of Damien Atkinson and photos courtesy of Victor Kalinowski. More updates to follow
We’re all waking up in Phnom Penh.
Plane got here at about 8pm last night, and Zeman met us at the airport. I was thinking he would be a tall, rangy bloke who might be ex-Israeli army, but he turned out to be a pale, stout Welshman, who says that his mother pronounces his name so that it rhymes with Stamen.
Hope you like the photograph above. We sat opposite a lovely Scottish air hostess call Julie in the exit row and, as you can imagine, one thing lead to another before we got to the flight deck
Phnom Penh was a bit of a shock. There is a 10 km drive from the airport. I guess the first surprise was that the “”support” vehicle was broken down and needed us to push it in the airport carpark. But Zamen said it just needs its alternator fixed and that was being done overnight. The drive was kind of hectic. People seem to have decided that rules about helmets, lanes, direction and lights are more of a guideline than anything else, and there was a whole lot of random activity. Which concerns me a little since we are driving through it this morning, and I found myself practically leaning out the window, yelling out like John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious”.
Tim the Khmer driver says that it was the quiet time in the traffic, and that it really kicks in at about 8am, but that mostly people are just beetle bopping along at a steady speed. And Zamen says that once we get passed the Japanese Friendship Bridge, we just go straight. So we should be all good.
The place is kind of a cross between Palermo, Port Moresby and London. Lots of tuk-tuks, and strange lane ways. Bars and blokes in epilettes, frangipanis and bouganvillea, the Mekong River snaking through at 300 metres wide, 3 million people living close, and gardens and tall buildings left over from the French era. Zamen says that Khmer society is quite prim and boys and girls aren’t allowed to touch. So they tend to promenade, or ride bikes close to each other, by way of courting.
Gary said he’d like to have dinner on a rooftop, and Zamen took us to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. Had beef and a local beer called Angkor. Then we went to a bar called Metro that seemed very fancy. Lots of middle class locals, having mohitos etc.
Its almost breakfast time, so I’ll go. Very excited about being on the bike.
If you are interested in riding in Cambodia, we have another trip starting in February which can be viewed here – http://www.compassexpeditions.com/tour/short-adventures/complete-cambodia/