Cycling the Coast to Kampot
After hosting my friend Adam of the Cycling Two for two weeks, he decided that he would make his way to Bangkok by following the coast of Cambodia and Thailand. I decided to join him for the weekend, and to take a bus back from Kampot, which is about 160km from Phnom Penh. Of course, with the route we chose it was closer to 220km, but totally worth it because the roads were paved and way better than what it would have been like following Hwy 3 or 4.
When I had previously gone to Kep with my wife, someone had mentioned that Angkol Beach, 25km east of Kep, is really nice and a great place to spend the day. Adam and I decided that it would make a perfect place to camp for a night. When leaving Phnom Penh, we mostly rode through small village streets and slowly made our way to the Choeung Ed Genocidal Centre, more commonly known as the Killing Fields. We decided not to go in as it would have required several hours to truly pay homage and appreciate the gravity of what took place there. I had already seen it 7 years before and once was enough for me. Since I am currently living in Cambodia, I am witness daily to the after-effects of what took place during the time of the Khmer Rouge.
After leaving the killing field we saw some food stalls selling bugs and decided to stop and have a quick snack, surprisingly delicious. We then headed towards Ta Prohm Temple, an Angkorian Era temple built by King Jayavarman VII. We had a bit of a run-in with the tourist police, when they came up and demanded $1 from each of us. With the help of a local woman that could speak a bit of English we explained that we hadn’t seen any signs, and we would be happy to pay if he could show us the sign. I wasn’t sure if it was a scam to get $1 or not, so I figured I should be wary. The officer then left and only started to return as we were leaving, so we still don’t know for sure if we were supposed to pay. From Ta Prohm, we headed through some back roads, so as to avoid Highway 2, and make our way towards the Chisor Mountain Temple. As we were on bikes and Adam didn’t want to leave all his gear to climb 500 steps, we decided to fly the drone up and check it out. This was pretty cool and the locals really loved seeing the little drone flying all over the place.
As night would soon be approaching, we decided it was time to figure out where we would be sleeping. We soon came upon a road that had 5 pagodas on it. We went in the first one and asked if we could camp the night. The head monk, a young guy in his early 20s that spoke a bit of English, was more than happy to let us stay there. We attracted a lot of attention from the locals, and even got into an argument with one woman, as she wanted us to come stay at her place because it was too dangerous to camp outside. She was worried we would be killed. After about 30 minutes of arguing with her, she told us she pitied us and finally left. We never heard from her again. In the morning, the head monk received a large group of locals and blessed their food. Although we had already finished breakfast, we were invited to partake in the community feast, and it would have been rude to say no, so we had a second breakfast, two courses in fact, so, basically, three breakfasts. Needless to say, the ride that day was not overly quick.
We didn’t really stop anywhere in particular on the second day, but just took our time making our way to the coast. At around 11am we stopped at a petrol station to fill up our water bottles and noticed they had a gazebo with hammocks and decided to take a rest. We reached the beach at around 3:30pm, started to drink a few beers to celebrate our awesome day on the bike and scored a gazebo with hammocks for the night for $5. They were a little disappointed we didn’t want to order food and cooked our own, but we did buy some beers and hanged out with people from the next gazebo over. We couldn’t understand each other at all, but had fun dancing, drinking beers, and eating their left-over chicken. hahaha. The next morning, Adam decided he wanted to skip Kep and instead cover a lot of ground. We reached Kampot (37km) in around one and half hours, and Adam and I said our goodbyes. Turned out I had six and a half hours before my bus, so I decided to tackle Bokor Mountain, and put in a good 23km of climbing. People were constantly surprised to see a guy on a folding bike with saddle bags going up the mountain. Coming down was a great way to end the journey.
Click to see trip to Kampot full gallery (coming soon)
Click to see my YouTube video (coming soon)
Click to see my touring tips for cycling in Cambodia
Click to see my 2 day packing kit list (coming soon)