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Cambodia, known as 'The Kingdom of Wonder', is truly a land of contradictions, with its magnificent ancient temples just a short bike ride away from villages of simple stilted huts.
The country is one of the best destinations for cycling. Much of the country is incredibly flat, the only real topography located in the mountains of the south and the far north east. With emerald rice fields, crystal tropical waters, dense jungle, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and the Cardamom Mountains, the landscapes and scenes of Cambodia are unfailingly photogenic and best seen on two wheels.
Riel & US Dollar
Approx. Approx. 16 million
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Phnom Penh (PNH) - Siem Reap (REP)
The most famous of the Angkor temples are found in Angkor Archaeological Park, an area of around 400 square kilometers, containing Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm. While the main temples of the park can be seen in a single day, a more in-depth exploration by bike will introduce visitors to some quieter sites and hidden gems, including Preah Khan, Ta Som, Pre Rup and Bakong. The main park entrance is just a 5km ride from the heart of Siem Reap town. Cycling will allow you to better explore some of the hidden tracks, allowing access to hidden ruins that are rarely visited by tourists. By bike it's also possible to complete a circuit of the walls of Angkor Thom - a distance too far to be covered on foot.As many of the temples are still ins use, visitors are requested to cover their shoulders and knees.
Exploring a little further from the Angkor Park itself will bring the more intrepid cyclist to some of the wonderful, and barely-visited temples of the north. Some of the highlights include Beng Melea, Preah Vihear, Banteay Chhmar, Koh Ker and Preah Khan of Kompong Svay. These ruins see few tourists and offer a great insight into how the main temples must have looked when first uncovered by archaeologists prior to restoration efforts. Though most visitors endure hours in a van to see these sites, a multi-day cycling excursion presents a much more dynamic opportunity to explore the region.
Many of our cycling holidays in Cambodia include a rest day in capital city of Phnom Penh, offering the opportunity to learn about the country’s more recent history by visiting the genocide museum (Tuol Sleng S21 Prison) and the Killing Fields. In April 1975 the Communist Party of Kampuchea (more commonly known as the Khmer Rouge) took control of Phnom Penh, beginning a four year reign of terror during which millions were imprisoned, tortured and killed. With the aim of creating an agrarian society, the Khmer Rouge forcibly relocated city dwellers to the countryside, closed all schools (with education being deemed unnecessary), banned the practise of religion, imprisoned or executed intellectuals and abolished money. The true scale of the atrocities only became apparent when the regime was forced out by the Vietnamese in January 1979.
The Tonle Sap, the name that refers both to the lake itself and the waterway that joins it to the Mekong River, is the largest body of freshwater in Southeast Asia. It is something of a curiosity due to the fact that is flows in different directions at different times of the year. A major source of food in the form of fish, the Tone Sap is home to a large number of fishing communities who make their homes by its shores and on its waters. On our bike trips we have a chance to pedal through the inviting stilted villages surrounding the lake. We also offer opportunities to kayak through the floating villages, getting a glimpse into the unique communities of buoyant homes, shops, schools, and even crocodile farms!
Cambodia has some characterful and charming coastal towns, the most famous being Kep and Kampot, along with the beach resorts of Sihanoukville. Whether you cycle all the way there, or catch a bus or flight from another city, the southern coast is an excellent place to end up after your biking holiday. Reward yourself after a satisfying ride with some relaxing beach time and fine seafood. Enjoy some exploration of French colonial architecture in Kep or Kampot, or take off to an unspoilt island off the shore of Sihanoukville.
Coolest time: November to February – Hottest Time: March to May
Wettest time: June to October – Driest Time: December to March
Our favourite time: December to February or July & August
Cambodia has a tropical climate which, like much of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons. Winters are dry and cool from November to February. Temperatures rise to a peak from March to May, but drop slightly with the return of the rainy season in June. September and October are the wettest months with a return to drier conditions in November.
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
Winter is a great time to cycle with its cooler temperatures and low rainfall, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this time of year sees the greatest number of tourists at the Angkor temples, and the lack of rain means the air will be a bit dusty while riding on dirt roads. The rainy season, while undeniably wet, is also a great time to see Cambodia at its most beautiful. At this time the lands turn green with emerald rice fields, and you'll encounter fewer tourists. While it does rain most days, rain falls mainly in the afternoons in short, heavy showers with the sun appearing as soon as the rain stops. This is actually a great way to keep cool while riding. Our favourite time to ride is at the end of the rainy season. At this time the heavier rains let up, but the lands are still green and the air clear.
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