ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-03-2011, 02:56 AM   #1
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
Cambodia: 2-up on a 250cc -Phnom Penh-Preah Vihear-Siam Reap.

So,

The trip in my previous RR ended on 21st of October last year. I began to work on the 22nd and, long story short, didn't get a single day off until the 2nd of January when I told my stunned staff that I was closing the bar until the evening of the 6th.

A night before I was due to leave my girlfriend asked if she could come with me - as she had never seen Preah Vihear and, being Khmer, really wanted to.

I was a little bit hesitant - as it was at such short notice there was no chance of getting her any protective gear beyond a helmet and gloves. Also I warned he that she would have to wear my ex-army Bergin which I usually bungee on behind me - for the whole trip. She was game, so at 9am the next morning we set off. . .

Teaser:
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 03:34 AM   #2
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
Preah Vihear is a mountaintop temple at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.

There have been a number of deadly stand-offs between the Thai and Khmer forces situated on either side of the contentious border lines - the most recent being just a few weeks ago.

It generally does not get a huge number of tourists from the Khmer side due to there not being a surfaced road there.

This is changing now, as fairly intensive road building is going on and, in all likelihood, there will be two lane blacktop all the way there within 12 months. With the blacktop will come the hordes of tour buses and guides, which is why I chose it as the NO1 priority for this trip.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 03:51 AM   #3
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
So, we hit the road. I wanted to get at least one hour out of Phnom Penh before eating breakfast, so we loaded up and headed out of town, over the Japanese Friendship Bridge across the Tonle Sap where it becomes the Tonle Bassac river.

It's a typical Cambodian "National Road" - which means two lane blacktop - and the typical Cambodian road rules of the bigger the vehicle, the greater your right to do whatever the fuck you want on the road applies. So it's not exactly dull. When a bend is coming up and two buses come around that bend side by side, taking up all the road it can cause one's heart to flutter a little.

Then there's the clapped out 50cc mopeds who wobble along on the edge of the road and whose method of indicating they are about to turn left is to steer even forther to the right hand side while half glancing backward as a prelude to turning blindly across the whole two lanes.

Of course there are also cows, buffalo, chickens, dogs, children and cyclists. A working horn is essential kit. An extend-able middle finger is also appropriate at many times.Although my girl does not let me use the finger too much

An hour out we stop at a rice house for our first meal of the day. I keep it simple and have fried rice and iced coffee. Sreioun has a pork stew and rice.





Hunger sorted we hit the road again and I promptly run out of gas . . . so I reach down and switch to reserve - except I am already on reserve. Dammit, I never make that mistake - but oh well, I but 2l froma plastic bottle petrol vendor to get me as far as a real pumping station where I fill up with 97 Octane.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 03:56 AM   #4
GB
Mod Squad
 
GB's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 55,320
Lots to see in the land of the Khmer..

__________________
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 04:02 AM   #5
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
Half an hour more on the National Route and we come to Kampong Thom town, It marks the point where we get off the blacktop and onto dusty roads of sand and gravel which are slowly being graded and rolled in preparation for a concrete base with Tarmac and chips to go on top.

The dust was pretty incredible to behold, particularly at the turnoff where a lot of earthmoving was going on. It's not a bad surface by any means, just a bit fresh and with very soft shoulders that could pull the unwary down. There's also an abundance of fist-sized rocks that could do a tyre or knock a rider off.

After 20 minutes of picking our way through trucks, steamrollers, diggers and slower traffic in near zero-visibility dist I decide we need to stop and drink some water and buy some dust masks.

We stop at a little Mom & Pop Cambodian stylee house/general store and sit in the shade chatting with the owners. My camera was having some problems with too much light getting in my shots, I fixed it later that evening. But took this shot of a man transporting suckling pigs in a cage made from wood strapped to the back of his Daelim.

__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 04:23 AM   #6
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
We got back on the road after fifteen minutes or so. A problem I had anticipated began to manifest itself - my girlfriend was wearing the Bergin pack on her back and the straps had begun to dig into her shoulders.

I had deliberately packed as lightly as I could and had used very little of it's capacity. However she filled the rest of it with girly luggage and was suffering as a consequence.

I kept my speed between 75 and 105kmph so as not to shake her up too much and also to conserve my petrol by keeping the RPM's below 6K.

It was fairly solid going, though a little uncomfortable. I like to stand on the pegs a lot, but my girlfriend shits bricks when I do so and has a tendency to reach up and grab me by the belt when I do so.

I tell her to not worry and hold onto the parcel bracket when I do. There are a few sectins of washboard on this stretch and sometimes an un-expected soft spot.

After 90/100 minutes we came to a largish town, it seemed to be there mainly to service soldiers so we stopped and had a coconut, and got a much needed tank of gas.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 05:35 AM   #7
GRF_Hans
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Shanghai, China
Oddometer: 41
Awesome, we are really interested in hitting up that temple...but as of last week there was still deadly fighting going on...what would you say? It seems like it's definitely worth the effort, just afraid about the risk.
__________________
Currently riding from China through Southeast Asia. Visit www.greatrideforward.com for some great photos!
GRF_Hans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 05:39 AM   #8
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
It's quiet at the moment. They have UNESCO observers with the troops on both sides so you may get in.

Even if you do not, you can make a wonderful loop on dirt in the whole north of the country.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2011, 04:32 AM   #9
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671


Did I say the road was dusty?

It was very nervy overtaking trucks. The rick was to try and not breathe while driving into the huge dust-cloud coming from their rear with visibility at zero (except for the dust, I could see that just fine) until you got close enough to their rear to be higher than the dust coming from under the truck, enabling you to have a peek around the side to see what may be coming, drop a gear and go.

I was very pleased with the bike considering I am 75kg, my girlfriend 50kg, and the bag maybe 20kg. Fuel economy, speed and responsiveness were not much different than I driving solo.

We were racing dusk to the town of Tbeang Meanchey where I had planned on taking a room and making the run to Preah Vihear the next day. Tbeang Meanchey is the capital of Preah Vihear province and, confusingly, many people also call it Preah Vihear - so you often need to qualify whether you mean the Temple, Town or the province,

The road was becoming hilly in places, and we could see mountains appearing on the horizon. There was a corresponding drop in temperature with the sight of the mountains in the distance.

I was driving on the wrong side of the road at this point - because they had begun laying concrete and fresh tarmac on the other side - but sections began and ended abruptly with either a drop of maybe 10in into a trough of sand or tree branches or stones put there to "warn" you of impending danger.

Also the stonechips were fresh, like same day fresh, and I felt safer on sand/gravel/hardpack than floating around on medium sized stonechips.

I was ATG - but my girlfriend was in jeans, a hoodie, a helmet and stilettos (she only wore the stilettos after I point blank refused to take her unless she changed from fluffy flip flops)

We got into Tbeang Meanchey with no real incidents - just a few swerve moments where football sized rocks had found their way into my path.

The last few k's into the twon and even one of the main streets was like a damn morocross track. They were running graders up and down the earthen road constantly.

We checked into the first hotel we saw. It was called Heng Heng. Owned by some rich and fat army type who had plastered pictures of himself over every wall in the place.

There was a lot of prized hardwood everywhere one looked & I wondered how much of it came from "legitimate" logging operations.

Still a shower and a comfy bed were what the lady needed after having the pack on
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 02:47 AM   #10
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
After each of us showered twice (that red dust really sticks), we decided that dinner should be our next move and changed into casual wear and headed back down to the bike.

Tbeanh Meanchey, like many provincial Cambodian towns is small - but sprawls quite a bi. We drove about ten minutes in each direction from the hotel, just to try and get a feel for the place.

We ate dinner at a restaurant/karaoke place where the girls may have been for hire as they gave me a lot of attention and my girlfriend got many rather resentful looks. Still, she was the one who thought we should eat there

I had a few cold bottles of Angkor beer and afterward we went to the towns funfair. At a Cambodian fun-fair there is typically a wall of balloons that one can throw darts at in order to win a prize.

I don't know how these places stay in business because we usually clean them out and , about 30 minutes later, we leave with a teddy bear, teabags, tin mugs, trinkets and lots of cheap candy.

I point out to Sreioun that she will have to carry all this extra crap in the backpack but she just shrugs and gives me a kiss.

We finished the evening at a plastic chair food stand near the hotel. I drank some beer and she had fruit juices.

Early night in a quiet town: Bed at 10.30pm to be fresh for our trip to Preah Vihear the next morning.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 04:14 AM   #11
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
We awoke late the next day and it was nearly 11AM before we got on the road. I rarely get to bed before 5am when I work, so I don't like mornings.

They were repeatedly grading truckloads of topsoil into the main drag once again, so we had a little dirt riding before getting out of town even!

I was quite surprised (and a bit disappointed) to find fresh, fresh blacktop about a kilometre out of town. It was too fresh really, I could feel the bike floating on the gravel a little, but we made good time for the first 60k or so.












In this photo you can see the tree branches on the road to warn me of a big hole.





Then the tarmac ended
Have customers to water now, more to come later. . .
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 05:49 AM   #12
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
So we took a break.



Mrs Jacl. Note the stilettos




When we got back on the road the mountains became closer.



The road was mix of freshly graded and hard-packed dirt for the next 50k or so before turning back to new pavement as we neared Preah Vihear.

We passed military barrack after military barrack. This province has the largest amount of soldiers of any cambodian province. I would go so far as to say there are more soldiers stationed there than regular people living there.



We made a brief stop for some fuel at a roadside stand and then we arrived at the base of the mountain the temple is situated upon. The road up was incredibly steep and for half of the climb was soft sand - as they are in the process of making it wide enough to bring coaches up there.

I was standing on the pegs and leaning out over the bars to keep the front wheel on the ground. It was quite a climb:)

When we got up we were greeted by many, many soldiers and my girlfriend began handing out cartons of cigarettes to the soldiers. Two of them seemed to appoint themselves as our guides and we began to climb the rest of the way to the temple.



The entrance from the Thai side.







Me with my military escort:

__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 06:05 AM   #13
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
Lots of soldiers hanging around. . .



Note the foxhole on the right. They are convinced the Thai's will attack soon. They were right too. . .





Old road to the temple complex. . .



Looks a little precarious.





















Point at a camera at an Asian girl and nine times from ten this is the pose you get . .





More to come. . .
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 07:24 AM   #14
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671




























That road way down there is the one we drove here on:



The Cliff edge:



When the Khmer Rouge fell, Thai soldiers forced thousands of Cambodians who had been living in refugee camps over the border to this cliff edge at gunpoint.

Those who did not jump off were shot by the Thai's. Those who survived the fall/climb down had to walk through ten kilometres of heavily mined scrub. Many died.
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2011, 07:52 AM   #15
Jacl-Kampuchea OP
Booze Merchant
 
Jacl-Kampuchea's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: I see Drunk People.
Oddometer: 671
In this shot you can see the road up the cliff as it begins. You can't appreciate how steep it is from the shot, but it gives an idea.









Our man in the military. He's a pretty good man. His name is Soret(iirc).



Yours truly:











Girly looks tired. Probably from carrying my pack. This was the only day in the 14 months together that I saw heat affect her more than me. Probably it's the warm jacket - but while I love dark skin, the Khmers see it was a sign of lack of wealth. Crazy isn't it? In the west we generally want to be tanned but in the east they want to be pale. Hence winter clothing in 30+c.































Another foxhole. Watching those Thai's.



Back to the lonely AX. There had been a KTM and two Baja 250's keeping it company when we arrived.




We said our goodbyes to the soldiers. I hope none of the ones who showed us around were among the dead in the clashes that happened a few weeks later.

You can't really see it here but this was just so steep a descent. At least 45 degrees.



More to come. . .
__________________
CambodiaYeah!
Jacl-Kampuchea is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 10:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014