Continue riding all the way on good paved roads to Siem Reap. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant or have a picnic. When we arrive in Siem Reap, you’ll check into your hotel.
Cycling: approx. 80km
It’s now getting quite late and so I’m going to do today’s events in bullet points. I’m sure you will still get the gist.
Had a good nights sleep having managed to master the air-con.
Good breakfast and away from hotel at 7.30am
Van took us 35k/45 mins to the Sambor Prei Kuk temple in the forest
Very nice to wander around in the shade.
Over 100 Hindu temples dotted about the forest, some built ias far back as the year 600.
Temples and burial places for monks
Hindu religion used these but this is no longer the case in Cambodia since a king around 1200 (I think) introduced Buddhism
One temple had a 300 year old strangler fig tree growing on it and it’s roots growing all around it. Cool.
We met 6 monks by a huge tree and had pictures with them
Funny jokes about monks ensued. Especially when David asked them to sit in a trunk for a photo on their own. So that was Monk Trunk! What does a monk wear to go swimming?….. …..swimming monks! and so on…….!!!
Walking round the forest we saw spiders, huge spiders webs, butterflies, big ants, termite nests and a red squirrel possibly squirrel monkey high in a tree.
2 girls selling scarves were following us and they spoke quite good English, they overheard us asking questions to each other about the place and explained about the inner and outer walls to the complex. Nothing like that from our guide Siem!
Then after about an hour, back to the van.
Siem then told us it was 2.5 hours transfer before we started cycling. I wasn’t expecting that and it didn’t mention it in the Itinerary. Nothing we could do but I was getting frustrated as we have hardly cycled for 2 days.
Ate some snacks and had a snooze. Felt better
Road was good. Scenery of the usual never-ending houses, shops and industrial areas
One town had lots of scooter showrooms. Such a choice. Suppose there must be many, given how many scooters there are on the road.
Started cycling at 11.40. Bang in the heat of the day 34 and very humid.
We were continuing to cycle along the main road we had been travelling down before which was ok as it was not too busy. But I was so very hot, it’s 94 degrees. It doesn’t feel quite as humid as Vietnam, but in terms of pure heat, this is as hot as it’s been on the trip so far.
Heads down to do the 14 miles to lunch.
Stopped at 12 miles for a water stop. Then did the next few miles to lunch. What a waste of time the first stop was-should have gone straight through to lunch or at least Siem should have asked us.
Lunch was in a very nice open air Polynesian style place. There was a rest area with hammocks, but we didn’t get to us them
Slow lunch but nice. Just enough for us all. Lots of rice and a few noodles.
Off we went again and almost straight away turned onto country roads and tracks That’s more like it. I was happy again
Similar views as before but more cattle and oxen outside homes used for ploughing the rice fields. It’s not like in Vietnam, not set out to fill and drain as there is no water to refill in the dry season. More natural looking.
Some lanes gravel and mud.
Near Siem Reap we had the option of an extra 35 miles once at the hotel by doing a loop. It was by then about 2.45 and we had 10 miles to the hotel so we said we would work it out when at the hotel.
Siem Reap was busy to cycle through but we are used to that now
There is an art to crossing the roads and junctions over here – keep going and avoid who is in front of you! And consequently those behind you hopefully do the same
That said, we saw 2 nasty crashes on the main road today at the beginning of our transfers from the van.
Got to the hotel about 4.15. Debated about going to the swimming pool or doing a further cycle. Alan was more pool than cycle but we persuaded him to come with and he agreed the future ridicule was not worth it!
We told Siem his original loop would not work as it would be dark. He looked surprised! We asked for a shorter route and eventually came up with 15 miles half -road, half-tracks. Sounded good and we would be back well before sunset at 5.30.
It was a lovely ride. Made the day for us all. Nice scenery, challenging mud tracks with potholes and puddles that we needed to navigate round. The route was a bit tense but we got through
It was cooling down so that was nice too.
Oh yes, my hands are absolutely fine after yesterday’s tumble
Earlier today I was not concentrating fully on the road ahead. I was looking at the scenery or something as I spotted a lady walking at the side of the road right near me just in time to swerve past her. It was a close thing!
Alan said to avoid a scooter today he accidentally rode through someone’s rice.
The last several miles were on a long, straight road and we got a good pace going. I’ve managed to tease RR a bit about the pace, he thought it was fast and I said I thought there was more we could do to top it. Let’s see what tomorrow brings if we have some fun with a little race.
We got back to the hotel at 5 ish after a satisfying 42 miles.
On the last loop I asked Siem to explain tomorrows’ route in detail when we got back to the hotel
He said 8am start, 30 miles ride, 1 mile hike up a mountain to a waterfall and then back 15 miles to lunch, then transfer to see temples and landmine museum. After a special 15 mile track through the jungle. He is absolutely bonkers. That can’t be done in one day, probably two!
So we talked it over and have now cut out the hikes and waterfall (this is a cycling holiday) and refined the route so we are doing the transfer, temple and museum in the middle of the day and so avoid cycling in the midday heat. Simple really
That sorted we went to get showered and then out for a meal. This is a buzzing, busy, young, packed, loud, touristy place.
We are 5 minutes from the centre and Pub Street.
Many restaurants of all types. So we had burgers, chips and beer. Well what do you really expect!! We need our carbs! Thanks Stephanie and Jason for your suggestion. I found the restaurant you recommended but it lost out to burgers!
We walked around the town, markets, etc.
Had a nice ice cream
It was another busy day and was salvaged in the end.
Tomorrow is our last day cycling. I will make the most of it no matter what
For all the frustrations over the last few days, it’s still been amazing