TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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A Ride To The Capitol, But Not A Capitol Ride

Posted by TravellingStrom on February 6, 2013

I packed up today, I was heading south to the capitol Phnom Penh. I have been here in Siem Reap quite a while, it was cheap and comfortable, a nice place to stay is the Home Sweet Home πŸ™‚ This morning I had been madly writing up yesterdays ride and hoped to post before I left, but the power went off, bugger! I decided to finish writing it anyway, and then see if the power was back on, but nope, in the end I saved the text and figured I would post it when I got to my new lodgings that afternoon. It was only 300km to PP and I figured, depending on traffic, I should get there within 4 hours or so, about mid afternoon. I had also been trying to find some place to stay, which had secure bike parking, I found a few places to stay but only one had been mentioned with bikes. I made up a number of POI’s so that I could get around the city and check them out. I was actually dreading the traffic, I had read so many bad stories, but if it is anything like SR then I should be able to handle it.

Because of trying to finish off the post, I ended up leaving about 10.45, I had been hoping to leave at 9am! Never mind, off I go and of course had to get through the first 3kms of nightmare traffic again as I was heading east, same as yesterday. Watch yesterdays video, same same!!

The road was flat and smooth, out of the villages I mostly had open space, with an occasional cow, but just fast riding, listening to tunes πŸ™‚ I did stop and check out some of the hay stacks, at one spot it was higher than the houses!!!

Of course there is always the occasional near miss which keeps your brain engaged, sometimes the people coming at you back off, others don’t give a rats and you have to back off. I gave as good as I got though. Here are a selection of SHORT movies of traffic.
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So in amongst all that normal excitement I once again came to the funny sales principle of lets all make and sell the same thing ❓ Buddha’s, Buddha’s, Come and get em, hot out of the oven!!!

I had been riding for well over an hour, it was very hot and I had been looking for a quiet shady spot to stop for a leak and a quick snack. But this whole highway has been built up on a causeway, obviously to stop it becoming flooded during the wet, and it was hard to find any trees, without houses under them! The ones I did see eventually I could not get to because they were doings works and I could not get down there!!!

But, I did manage to find a spot at about the half way or 150km mark, even though another car had pulled up as well(I think we both resented each others presence), and stopped for a quick bite. I even marked a way point I was so impressed by there being one!!! πŸ™‚ Shady Rest Spot N12.57436 E105.03666

So after about 20 minutes I continue on and after passing a chook truck, all in small plastic cages, I soon pass a car towing a small truck, they have used either bamboo or a small tree as the tow bar, hopefully it is lashed securely. Not long after this I nearly had another head on, just the usual wanker on my side of the road!!! All that is captured on video as well.


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As I get closer to the city of Phnom Penh, and by closer I mean within 50km or so, the country side starts to look a bit greener, mainly because of the rice fields, it must be the second crop or something like that. But, I also enter roadworks, and between the sections without road works, but with many many potholes, and sections with roadworks, but with a lot of dust and crazy traffic, because there are potholes as well, the next hour or so became very hard work 😦 I tried riding the dirt section instead of the potholed pavement, a bit like Kazakhstan, it was smoother, but on the whole I went through about 20-30 different works sites and saw ONE water truck laying dust 😦 The other issue was because it was so hot, I could not get any airflow to cool me down, one of the downsides to wearing ATGATT(All The Gear All The Time). Here are a few photos and movies of that section, a very dangerous place, I never saw any accidents, but I could not see much anyway.

Potholes and passing trucks, not a good combination, but worse is to sit behind them and not SEE a pothole, if you leave a gap though and fall back, someone will fill it 😦
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More of the same, very dusty and you never know what you will find
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I took a bit of a risk here, the dickhead truckie looked like he was going to pass the other truck, then just sat there like a big turd, well you can squeeze between turds any time and I did πŸ˜‰
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OK once I got through the gap I could see a tuktuk type thing in the right hand lane, but if he could not pass, he could have sat behind the other truck and let someone pass him, but they don’t think like that over here, mirrors are for girls to look in!!! Anyway, I got into town and finally found some smooth pavement again but of course then entered the ‘traffic zone’, this was a bit of a nightmare! I had been given a name of a bike shop here called Flying Bikes, apparently if I spoke to the owner he may recommend a cheap and secure place to stay, secure for the bike I mean and cheap for me πŸ™‚ I ended up over the next hour riding in circles. Don’t get me wrong, I did get to Flying Bikes Phnom Penh GPS- N11.57193 E104.92111 and I will plug him because he tried to help. I have heard he does good bike work on big bikes, so it will be worthwhile to store that info.

That was him in the doorway looking for the hotel name. But the hotel he sent me too was over $45/n which was too much for me. I then went and tried a couple of the guest houses that I had saved as way points, but they were either full or too expensive, but one of them had a chap outside who told me of a cheaper place over on street whatever. It was next to a WAT and although I could not find it on my GPS, nor the hotel name, I decided to go for a look. As it turns out I entered a side street and there was this hotel with the name he mentioned, that was arsey, I just picked a random spot on that street as a go to point. There were a lot of small bikes and tuktuks around, and after talking to reception, and getting quite a nice discount(from 45 down to 30), I booked in to the Mittapheap Hotel GPS – N11.56435 E104.91994 If you look at the map you can see I went a long way around and all of it in crazy crap traffic. For a scale, between Flying bikes and Mittapheap Hotel, is 1.4km

Of course, I did not get the deluxe room, but the basics were there, aircon, fridge, TV, window(with a view of a building wall) and good WiFi and includes brekky. πŸ™‚ So, I had a nice cool shower which helped immensely before wandering around the corner for a feed. I was starved, I had only had a packet of chips for lunch. I found a place and chose chook and chips, it was OK, but a bit greasy was the chook. Mind you it was American style, so probably quite authentic πŸ˜‰

I had a quiet night, I was hoping to go on a sight seeing tour tomorrow, if I could find a reasonably priced TukTuk who spoke English. I am certain I do NOT want to ride my bike through this traffic, as I would see nothing but mudguards and front wheels and I would hate to drop the bike here, it might get scratched! As gruesome as it sounds, I really wanted to visit the Killing Fields and the S21 prison, it is a sad part of history, but I don’t know much about it and the best way to find out is in the country it happened.

I have heard that it is not a good idea to be on the highway between here and the coast on the weekend, apparently the rich and corrupt(the ones in the BIG flashy cars) will force you off the road and that is where they spend their weekends. So, either I go down there early Friday or Monday, Monday looks like a more relaxing schedule to me πŸ™‚ Plus Sunday is Chinese New Year, this is I think a Chinese Hotel, so I would love to get involved and watch the celebrations πŸ™‚ I can remember Dragon Dances from Hong Kong when I was a kid πŸ™‚ Anyway, I still have a few weeks on my Visa, but I can see the bottom of the bucket, so I am starting to think about heading home, not in a big hurry, but the idea is present and that will take some planning, and I would have to clean the bike!!!

Cheers from Phnom Penh
TravellingStrom

2 Responses to “A Ride To The Capitol, But Not A Capitol Ride”

  1. Ron2wheels said

    This could have been titled “A Handful of Horse Power Comes in Handy at Times’!!

    No Sihanoukville Richard?

    Regards

    • Horse power is king and makes the job easier, but the bigger the bike, the better protected you need to be, which means heat and sweat.

      In a few days I will go to Sihanoukville. I want to stay here for Chinese New year on Sunday, then I may go south after that

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