Cycling around Siem Reap, sounds like the perfect way to spend any day in Cambodia, and while I have yet to visit the country, Milda from Asia Rooms has given me some insight into her experience. While I missed my opportunity to visit Cambodia back in 2011, I plan on making it a priority in the coming year, and with my new-found love of cycling, I know that I’ll be spending much of my time there on a bike exploring the country.
Siem Reap is becoming a popular destination for cyclists who want to explore this fascinating city by bike. Siem Reap is in Northwest Cambodia and has plenty to offer cycling fans. This large city is packed with impressive ruins, historic sites and delicious food. Many backpackers head to Siem Reap every year to see the Angkor ruins and enjoy the tasty street food.
You can get around this busy city in a number of different ways but cycling is probably the most enjoyable. It’s quite easy to get to all the main attractions by bike. One of the appealing features of this area for cyclists is that the ground is fairly flat. You don’t want to be climbing up steep hills in the hot weather.
There are plenty of places to hire bikes in and around Siem Reap. You will find that many of the hotels have bikes to hire, if you are lucky enough they might include it in the cost of the room. You can hire a bike for as little as $2, but some places charge up to $6 a day. It’s worth paying a bit more for a safer bike that comes with a helmet.
The roads can be a little bit treacherous, as many of them are jam packed with lots of different types of traffic. You will have to compete with cars, buses, other bikes, mopeds and tuk tuks, so be prepared for some busy roads. The roads are a little quieter and more relaxed on the outskirts of town. It’s advisable to wear sunglasses as the roads can get very dusty. You can’t always get access to clean water, especially if you are in more remote areas so make sure you pack some bottled water for your ride. If possible, avoid cycling outside of town after dark as the roads become more dangerous at this time.
Some of the best places to cycle around Siem Reap include the Angkor ruins, Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding villages. If you want to see a bit of history then head to the Angkor ruins, a UNESCO world heritage site. You can cycle to all of the main temples as they are all within a reasonable distance. After a relaxing ride you can take the impressive structures in and see some real life Khmer architecture. The most popular ruins to see are Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, but some of the smaller ruins are just as charming.
The Angkor ruins can get very busy and they are usually full of tourists and backpackers. If you prefer to cycle in quieter areas away from all the crowds then head to the surrounding villages. Here you can get to know the real Siem Reap by spending time with the locals, seeing the rice fields and peaceful villages and passing nearby schools. There are bike tour companies that will take you on a guided tour of the local area where you can learn about life in Siem Reap.
The Tonle Sap lake is also a great place to cycle to, and it’s only 12 kilometres outside of town. There is an enjoyable route down to the lake on road 63 or a more challenging off road route along a dirt road.
During your stay in Siem Reap make sure you try some of the fresh and tasty street food, prepared by the local people. It’s a good way to eat if you are on a budget and you get to sample the local dishes. You can get a wide range of different types of food from Khmer and BBQ food to Western and Asian dishes. A delicious street food meal is the perfect way to refuel after a long bike ride. There are also lots of fantastic restaurants if you want to have a sit down meal following a day of cycling.
Milda is the Community Manager @ AsiaRooms. Born in Lithuania (love it!), studied in the UK, travelled around Asia and USA, taught in Africa and now residing in Singapore where, equipped with a strong cup of coffee and surrounded by an amazing team I’m blogging about travels, cultures, events and hotels in Asia. You can follow her on Google+