Even though I recommended Lonely Planet Cambodia for my previous Bokor Hill Station ride, it’s because I did not know about Adventure Cambodia until this trip. Adventure Cambodia is especially tailored to travelers on motorcycles. In addition to the basic country background, accommodation, maps, restaurants and places of interest, you will be able to find information on road conditions, distances and even GPS coordinates. If I have to pick one out of the two books, it would be Adventure Cambodia.
Day 8 (Phnom Penh)
I arranged for a motor to bring me to the killing fields of Choeung Ek which is located 15km from central Phnom Penh. Between 1975 and 1978, 17,000 people held and tortured at the S-21 (Tuol Sleng Museum) were transported to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek. Today, all that remains of the grim past are multiple disinterred pits and a memorial stupa filled with skulls.
After the gloomy trip, I returned to my guesthouse and ordered lunch. While waiting for my food, I picked up a book from the shelf. The title of the book was Hun Sen. The prime minister of Cambodia was to keep me occupied for the rest of the day. It’s a recommended read to anybody who’s interested to know more about the amazing life of Hun Sen and the history of Cambodia.
Memorial stupa at Choeung Ek where more than 8000 skulls are stored
Day 7 (Mondulkiri – Phnom Penh)
The bad thing about riding before sunrise is the cold. I had my jacket zipped up to my neck and yet I could not ride faster than 30km/h without trembling. But the reward is you get the road to yourself. So despite the freezing winds, I would say it’s my favorite time of the day for riding. Besides, there is the sunrise to look forward to. You know that as the sun rises, you would get warmer. Knowing that things will get better puts me in a good mood. What about the blazing afternoon sun? Well, it gives me a good tan and a good sweat. I like to think that I can slim down in this way.
The plan today was to ride all the way from Sen Monorom back to Phnom Penh. The distance might look great but I was able to make good pace because of the good-conditioned tarmac roads. I left my guesthouse at 6am and reached Suong at 11am . As I didn’t want the repeat the roads I have taken, I turned left for highway 11 instead of continuing west to Kampong Cham. Besides, I heard Prey Veng has some nice rubber plantations by the roads which would make for a pleasant ride.
Day 6 (Mondulkiri)
Nested in a hilly province, Sen Monorom boasts beautiful scenery and cool weather. The charming capital of Mondulkiri is very laid back and makes for a pleasant place to laze for a few days. And laze around I did. I took it easy and gave the usual attractions of waterfall and elephant trekking a miss. Energetic travelers can consider visiting Monorom Falls and Bou Sraa Waterfall, both of which were highly recommended by the locals.
I woke up at 7am and visited the morning market. The buzzing locals and sweet aroma of food filled my senses. In no time, my stomach started groaning. Expertly avoiding the zipping motorcycles whose views were blocked by overflowing baskets, I let my nose be my guide (hope it doesn’t remind you of the movie Perfume). I was richly rewarded with barbecued banana and glutinous rice wrapped in slightly charred banana leaves. This simple delicacy cost me 200R. Excellent value for money!
Day 5 (Ratanakiri – Mondulkiri)
I had a restless sleep, waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night. The staffs at Rattanak Hotel had told me that it’s easy riding to Mondulkiri and they had done it many times. They offered to be my guide. I declined, not so much because of my desire to ride alone, but because I didn’t want to spend the extra money. Yes, I am that tight.
By 6am, I was packed and ready to move off. I had difficulty finding the pier at Lumphat. Luckily, helpful locals directed me to the right track. The pier is not located along the main housing stretch but is located further down Tonle Srepok river, towards the south eastern direction. To get there, keep left when you reach the junction at N13 30.269 E106 58.621 (right brings you to the main town). Continue following the road until you see a small grocery and fuel shop at N13 28.670 E107 00.493. The ferry is located just further down the descending road. I paid 5000R to the boatman. The GPS coordinates across the river is N13 27.927 E107 00.399.
Tonle Srepok river of Apocalypse Now fame. The Death Highway awaits across the river.