Cycle Thailand & Cambodia Challenge – 14 Days

Your challenge begins with 2 delightful days tracing the wonderful coastline and beaches of south eastern Thailand, before heading inland to a remote Cambodian border crossing. Once in Cambodia you will make your way to Siem Reap the home of the magnificent

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok and transfer to Laem Mae Phim Beach (30km) – / – / D
This morning we meet early at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. Once we have all arrived we will be transferred south away from the busy streets of Bangkok to the laidback and beautiful Laem Mae Phim Beach. Here you will have some free time to relax, have lunch, and maybe even take a dip in the clear warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. In the afternoon we will spend some time preparing our bikes and going on a gentle warm up cycle ride through the surrounding countryside, nearby villages and fruit plantations (this region of Thailand is renown for its exotic fruit). This short ride allows you to get to know your fellow cyclists as well as ensuring your bike is in fine working order. Back at the resort the Tour Leader and guide will brief you all on what lies ahead as you enjoy your traditional Thai ‘Welcome’ dinner. [ Terrain: Mostly flat tarmac ]

Day 2: Cycle Laem Mae Phim Beach to Chaolao Beach (80km) B / L / D
An early start today as we acclimatise to the weather. The ride hugs the coastline as we pass from beach to beach on small local roads that are very quiet to traffic, the seascapes are marvellous. This is an interesting ride that lets you see the local Thai way of life, as we pass through local fishing villages, sea food markets and of course plenty of temples where we can stop for a well earned rest and refreshments. The mangrove swamps and fruit plantations add a diversity to the scenery on this very picturesque of rides. We also take two short ferry crossings which help us save some distance by taking us directly across the estuaries. We finish the ride right on the quiet beach of Chaolao at the wonderful beachside Seashell Village Resort & Spa. From here it is so easy to take a refreshing dip in the resorts pool or in the sea before dinner… [ Terrain: Mostly tarmac with some gentle climbs ]

Day 3: Cycle Chaolao Beach to Pong Nam Ron (110km)  B / L / D
 A big day today as we spin through 110km with some steady climbs near the end. Initially we head inland and notice the scenery changing from coastline to forests and distant mountains. Again this ride is on small paved roads that have little traffic and are a joy to ride on. We are now in Chantaburi province which is well known for its fruit and we will see (and taste!) plenty as we pass by plantations, forests and lots of small local villages. The last 12km of the ride is on a busier road and this is where we meet the small climbs. However, on arrival in Pong Nam Ron the reward is the hotel’s pool where you can relax with a well earned beer, overlooking the adjacent golf course with a backdrop of forested mountains… [ Terrain: Mostly undulating tarmac with some long steady climbs, and short sections of flatish dirt roads ]

Day 4: Cycle Pong Nam Ron to Pailin (into Cambodia!) (65km) B / L / D
This morning we head east on the road less travelled as we pedal towards the quiet Thai / Cambodian border crossing nestled in the foothills of the scenic Cardamom mountains. In times gone by this was strategically important as a life line for the Khmer Rouge, both for trading gems and receiving supplies, and as an escape route when threatened by the Cambodian army. Immediately on crossing the border you will notice the difference in the fortunes of these neighbouring countries as we leave the tarmac of Thailand and cycle on the bumpy red dirt roads of Cambodia! It is also very obvious how the concrete homes of Thailand give way to the wood and thatch shacks of Cambodia. After 20km of Cambodian cycling we arrive at the small, dusty town of Pailin, which was once home to both a thriving semi-precious stone mining industry and some former high ranking officials of the expired brutal Khmer Rouge regime. [ Terrain: Tarmac in Thailand and bumpy dirt road in Cambodia ]

Day 5: Cycle Pailin to Battambang (85km) B / L / D
 Make the most of the tarmac in town as shortly after leaving Pailin the tarmac disappears and we will have the company of a winding dirt road all the way to the outskirts of Battambang. After a few early climbs the majority of the day is downhill, not that we will obviously notice it as we weave around the large potholes! Initially we cycle through cash-crop plantations such as corn, cassava, and cashew nut, however as we get closer to Battambang this changes to the emerald green of endless rice paddies. We pass through various pleasant small villages made up of wooden shacks and shady trees. Excellent places to stop for a rest and get some real interaction with the curious and friendly locals. They don’t see many tourists along this route and certainly not on bicycles! About 15km from Battambang you cannot fail to miss the imposing limestone outcrop of Phnom Sampeau with its hilltop pagoda. If you still have excess energy you may choose to climb the 700+ steps and be rewarded with great views of the surrounding countryside. Battambang is a relaxed and laid back town sitting on the banks of the Sangker River and it still has a very local, untouristed, provincial atmosphere. Much of the town’s architecture is French colonial and traditional Cambodian with very few buildings over three stories. A pleasant place to explore before dinner. [ Terrain: Bumpy dirt road all the way except for short streches of tarmac in Pailin and Battambang ]

Day 6: Cruise Battambang to Siem Reap (20km) B / L / D
An early start as we cycle through the sleepy streets of Battambang to board our boat to Siem Reap. This is arguably the most fascinating river trip in Cambodia and takes around 6 – 7 hours. Yet the timeless scenes you pass makes the time disappear: fishermen returning from the lake with their nights silvery catch; the blue smoke of fires shifting like mist in the pale pink light of dawn; the scent of breakfasts being prepared; and always, the sound of laughter and conversation. As the river winds its way into the Tonle Sap lake (South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake) you pass an amazing variety of landscapes and lives, seemingly unchanged for hundreds of years. As the river joins the Tonle Sap Lake you pass the protected wetland of  Prek Toal, regarded as the single most important breeding ground for globally threatened large waterbirds in South East Asia. After crossing the vast expanse of this inland sea and heading towards Siem Reap port we pass through the floating village of Chong Khneas where we witness an entire bamboo village complete with homes, gas stations, schools, hair dressers, and even karaoke bars floating on water! Once we arrive at the port we get a chance to shake our legs as we spin the 15km into Siem Reap and to our hotel. [ Terrain: Mainly flat tarmac ]

Day 7: Exploring the Magnificent Angkor Temples by Bike (40km) B / L / –
On your first morning in Siem Reap we head out to begin our cycle exploration of these incredible temples. Today we will focus on the Small Circuit which features temple greats such as: the pyramid of Takeo, the jungle-clad Ta Prohm, made famous by the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Tomb Raider’; Sras Srang, known as the King’s bathing pond; and the impressive Royal City of Angkor Thom, where you will find the Bayon, a temple famed for its many gigantic carved faces smiling beguilingly down at you. You will also visit other important sites in this immense walled city. After lunch it is time to take on the majestic Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building. After being initially inspired by its overall size you will explore in more detail, getting up close and personal to fully appreciate its architecture and intricately detailed bas-reliefs. After returning to the hotel you are free at leisure to experience Siem Reap’s nightlife which includes many fine restaurants and lively bars. [ Terrain: Mainly flat tarmac ]

Day 8: Cycling to Beautiful Banteay Srei Temple (80km) B / L / D
This morning you head north towards Banteay Srei. This cycle ride is a real delight and your first introduction to the wonderful Cambodian countryside and its friendly villagers. On route we will stop off at a couple of villages to get a closer look at the wooden stilted homes and every day life. One thing you will notice for sure is large black pots in people’s gardens containing a thick light brown bubbling mixture – this area is famed for its sugar palm tree sweets, sure to give any cyclist a much needed energy boost! On arrival at Banteay Srei you will be struck by its delicate beauty. It is an elaborately decorated temple, embellished with floral motifs and scenes from the Ramayana, all carved from pink sandstone. It is said the carvings must have been done by women as the detail is too fine for the hands of a man. You will have lunch at a local restaurant, after which you cycle back towards Siem Reap, and depending on the time explore some other temples on the way. This evening you will enjoy dinner and a mesmerising Apsara dance performance [ Terrain: Mainly flat tarmac ].

Day 9: Village Life and Cycling Kompong Cham (80km) B / L / D
This morning we load all the bicycles on the support vehicle and drive the 200km to the small village of Baray. On route you will witness the everyday lives of Cambodians as you pass through interesting provincial towns, bucolic villages, and delightful scenery. This is no ‘freeway dash’ as you will often slow down to let cows and water buffalo wander across the road, pass horse drawn carriages, and school kids walking and cycling to/from school. We will stop off to in Kompong Kdei to take a look at Spean Pratos, an ancient Angkorian bridge, that was still part of the main highway until only a couple of years ago! Further on we will make a short stop at the village of Santuk where you will find the road lined with large stone carvings of Buddha, elephants, apsara etc in various stages of completion, as this village is renown for the quality of its stone carvers. On arrival in Baray we will visit the Khmer Village Project, which has been set up to give poor villagers an opportunity to benefit from tourism is a sustainable way. We will take a tour of the village in a pony or ox drawn cart and stop off at the local school, join in the sugar palm fruit collection and sweet preparation, and visit the weaving and woodcarving workshops. Finally we will have a traditional Khmer lunch to get us ready for hopping back on the bikes and cycling the back road to Kompong Cham, a once thriving and prosperous Mekong River port living off the income from tobacco and rubber. This ride takes us through some delightful shady rubber plantations. [ Terrain: Mainly flat tarmac, with some short sections of dirt road ]

Day 10: Cycle Kompong Cham to Phnom Penh (65 – 105km) B / L / D
A delightful, shady 65km ride today as you follow the course of the Mekong River along a mostly unpaved, and at times bumpy road toward the country’s capital Phnom Penh. Foreigners are extremely rare through these parts so expect a few surprised faces as you cycle through the many traditional villages where you will witness people busy with their everyday lives: cooking, cleaning, playing, leading the cows to the river, cycling school kids, pagodas & monks, and the sun-drying of bright red chilies, pepper, rice, and fish by the side of the road, and of course the river life on the mighty Mekong which keeps coming and going from view. There are plenty of cool, shady, scenic spots for rest breaks where the curious locals are sure to want to say ‘Hello’, and our picnic lunch stop is a treat, relax under the shade of a huge mango tree and enjoy views stretching out across the Mekong River. 40km from Phnom Penh we come to the main busy Highway 6 heading to the capital, from here you can choose to travel in the support vehicle or continue cycling to the city. Once you have checked-in and freshened up you will be taken to a delightful local restaurant for dinner. [ Terrain: First 65km mostly bumpy dirt road, final 40km flat tarmac ]

Day 11: Phnom Penh City Cyclo Tour (0km!) B / L / –
On your first morning in charming Phnom Penh you will be met by your city guide who will inform you that today it is someone else’s turn to do the pedalling as you are treated to a fun cyclo tour, a traditional mode of transport. Your first stop will be the terracotta red National Museum which offers a charming setting for a comprehensive collection of Khmer artefacts. After this you will visit the nearby Royal Palace, on the banks of the mighty Mekong river. Inside the Palace walls you will be treated to the Throne Hall, the Chan Chaya Pavilion, and the King’s residential quarters. You will then move onto the neighbouring Silver Pagoda, so named as it is claimed its floor is made up of over 4,000 silver tiles! Your cyclo driver will then take you to a local restaurant for lunch. Afterwards it is back in the cyclos as you are pedalled through the streets of Phnom Penh to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S21), ironically a former school, located in a quiet Phnom Penh suburb, this was the infamous Khmer Rouge prison / torture centre. You will then be taken to the Russian Market an excellent place for picking up souvenirs. There are stalls selling some very good Khmer antique reproductions, other stalls piled ceiling high with wonderful colourful silks, incredibly cheap clothing stalls, and of course those stalls selling pirated CDs, DVDs, and computer software. Afterwards you will be taken back to the hotel where you are free at leisure for the rest of the evening, perhaps wanting to experience the eclectic string of bars and restaurants along the city’s riverside.

Day 12: Cycle Phnom Penh to Takeo (85km) B / L / D 
This morning you pedal away from the early morning hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh to Cheoung Ek, more commonly known as the ‘Killing Fields’. This is where Toul Sleng prisoners were forcibly marched and then executed; it is now a memorial site located in a beautiful tranquil setting. After some contemplation you continue pedalling south. After a short combination of almost traffic free dirt roads and some lightly trafficked tarmac roads you will arrive at Tonle Bati, a riverside location where we will have time to explore the small, yet picturesque Angkorian temples of Ta Prohm and Yeay Peau. This is a very pleasant spot for enjoying your picnic lunch. After lunch you continue South towards Takeo. Upon arrival we will check-in to your guesthouse and after freshening up will visit the New Futures office where you will learn about the great work this organisation is doing with orphans as well as skill training for underprivileged teenagers in the surrounding poor villages. You will also learn how Asia Adventures and New Futures are working together to develop the Pedal2Empower initiative. Dinner will be prepared and served by students of the hospitality training project.

Day 13: Takeo: Time with the Children (0km!) B / L / D
Today will be spent seeing at first hand the work that New Futures is involved in as well as getting to know the children. The highlight of the day will be when you present your donated bicycle to an excited and thankful child / teenager. You will learn how this simple gesture really can make a significant difference to their lives. This evening we will enjoy a celebratory ‘Farewell Dinner’ where we can reflect on all the wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and experiences we have encountered during the past 2 weeks…

Day 14: Transfer to Phnom Penh (0km!) B / – /
Yes, all good things come to an end – departure day. After saying goodbye to all at New Futures we are driven back to Phnom Penh and dropped off at the airport to continue our onward journey leaving the home of the mighty Khmer Empire with many wonderful memories and valuable friendships…
If you would like to extend your holiday after the cycling challenge has finished, perhaps wanting to relax for a few days on Cambodia’s beaches, please let us know as we will be happy to arrange this for you.

*The cost for the above tour is $2,550 (US dollars) per person based on 2 people sharing accommodation (single room supplement $350), and a minimum of 4 people travelling.
If 8 or more people join the tour the cost will be $ 2,350 (US Dollars) per person.
The above costs include an $90 donation for your donated bicycle
Good quality cycle hire is available for an additional charge of $190.

TOUR PRICE : Contact Us

Tour Package Includes

• All sightseeing tour and transfer services as detailed in the above itinerary
• Western English speaking Tour Leader
• English speaking local guide
• English speaking local cycle guide / mechanic
• All accommodation based on two sharing a room
• All entrance fees for attractions included in the above itinerary
• Air conditioned support vehicle
• Daily drinking water, soft drinks, cool face towels & snacks whilst cycling
• All meals as detailed in the above itinerary (B = Breakfast – L = Lunch – D = Dinner)

Tour Package Excludes

– Visa stamping fee
– Travel assurance
– Mineral water beyond that supplied
– Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
– Additional transport required due to any emergency situation
– Tips and gratuites
– Personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.
– International air tickets and airport departure taxes
– Meals and drinks not mentioned in the program
– Optional excursions

Special offers :
– Mineral water drinking.
– Seasonal fruits.
– Snacks
– Fresh tissue and some fruits while touring !

What to bring :
Sun Block , Wide brim hat, Camera + Film, Comfortable shoes, Rain Gear , Warm clothes in winter, Original Passport, Bike Helmet ( compulsory ), Small backpack , Shoes and shorts for cycling ,Sunglasses , Gloves , Professional Pedal ,Insect repellent ,Wide brim hat ,Bike water bottle (if you don’t want to use Indochina Bike Tours’bottle)

Highlights :
Glide down hills, through villages and fields to experience the north’s wilderness.

Tour can be modified,hotels changed to suit your tastes and budget
Minor program changes are sometime necessary, depending on road conditions and weather.
This itinerary allows for 11 days on the cycling section. You will be able to decide for yourself at any time during each of these days how far you want to cycle. Average daily cycling distances are approximately 40 -100 km. These distances may vary according to weather, road conditions and group fitness and preferences. This is a sightseeing cycle tour, not a marathon or time trial.

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