The Kingdom of Wonder is aptly named, as any exploration of Cambodia yields the discovery of numerous wonders-especially when you’re traveling by bicycle. Unsure of what to expect when pedaling through this Southeast Asian country? Read on.
Caution: may cause immediate booking of a trip to Cambodia.
1. World Wonders
There is no doubt that Angkor Wat is one of the world’s greatest treasures, and luckily for us, it is easily accessible by bike. Angkor Archeological Park features the ruins of temples from the ancient Khmer Empire, all scattered in the jungle near Siem Reap.
Snaking dirt paths through the jungle connect many of the temples, and are so much fun to ride! Whether you are traveling with your family, are in town for a short time, or want to include this incredible site in a greater adventure, there are plenty of options to visit.
2. Friendliest Locals Around
Anyone who has spent time in Cambodia will tell you that engaging with the locals is a highlight of every visit. When pedaling through small villages in the countryside, don’t be surprised by enthusiastic greetings, especially from the children. You may even need to park your bike for a few minutes to dole out the high-fives and respond to young ones practicing their English.
In the city of Battambang, your visit will include a cycle tour of local industries, where you’ll have a chance to catch Cambodian artisans at work. It is hard to say whether you’ll be more impressed by the beautiful crafts or the beautiful smiles as you interact with these inviting people.
Nothing is better than a home-cooked meal, especially when you need to gather your energy to hop on a bike the next day. There is also no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than to join the incredibly generous and hospitable Khmer around a table to share in their delicious cuisine. Beware that you may come away with more friends than you were anticipating!
3. Accessible Cycling
For those who have less experience on a bike, Cambodia is an excellent destination to ease into the joys of cycle touring with some quality time on the bike. Most of the country is extremely flat and much of the riding will be on comfortable dirt paths, with the occasional sandy spot to navigate.
What is so great about exploring Cambodia by bike is that it allows you to penetrate to the heart of the country and see things you never could reach in a large tour bus. Often, roads through rice paddies in the countryside or past small villages are too small for vehicles larger than a bike or motorbike. As the large tour buses roar past large swaths of land on the highway, cyclists can delve deeper into the rural lanes, in places where locals are shocked and happy to see foreigners.
A bike allows you access to the Silk Islands of Phnom Penh, where even near the capital city, village life runs at a slow pace. There is no greater pleasure than emerging from riding in the forest only to be greeted by spectacular views, which happens as you pedal your way from Kep National Park to the sparkling sea.
4. Unique Traffic
While riding your bike down the road, have you ever come across a motorbike with more than 4 people on it? What about a monk in orange robes, or a cart piled precariously high with wares headed for market and perhaps a young child sitting on top? If you have answered no to these questions, it probably means you haven’t cycled in Cambodia before!
Some of the greatest scenes you will witness in Cambodia will be from your bike as you pedal amongst the local traffic. Whether riding through Phnom Penh on a traditional cycle rickshaw, paddling a kayak on the waters near a floating village, or pedaling your bike through the countryside near Angkor Wat, plenty of interesting sights await.
5. Variety of Sights
Is your dream to lie out on white-sand beaches near crystalline waters? Are you inspired by cycling through the bright green of rice paddies and the shade of palm trees? Does the jungle hold countless secrets you are excited to discover? What about the floating villages of Southeast Asia’s greatest freshwater lake, the Tonle Sap? With a variety of natural sights, National Parks, temple ruins, and quickly modernizing cities, Cambodia has it all, and you can reach it all by bike.