The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/156409836
The chat: Today was wonderfully, blissfully cool. For Cambodia. We even had rain and grey clouds ; both of which were welcomed with open arms, as were the trucks full of monks banging drums in time to our (slowing) cadence – all these things in their own way helped to make the 105km hilly slog back to Cambodia slightly less arduous.
Given that we’re just getting started with our tour, 105km was the furthest we’ve cycled in one day, and the midday heat of 40 degrees acts as a powerful incentive to get the bulk of the riding over before then. Another 5 30 start was needed as we knew that we had to also cross the notoriously dodgy border at Hat Lek between Thailand and Cambodia – renowned for a somewhat fluid charging policy by the border police for visas, and a relentless stream of touts. Last time we crossed this border, it took at least an hour, and involved some serious negotiating/pleading in our best Khmer. This time, with the benefit of a laden tandem on which was painted “Yeurn Srolang Kampuchia”*, we breezed through both Thai and Cambodia’s borders in about 5 minutes with waves of laughter following behind us at the crazy barangs **on a kong veng ***.
We finally crawled into Koh Kong at 2pm, tired, hot and hungry. We hadn’t heard great reviews about the place, with the most common word being used to describe the town being “a dump”, so we were pleasantly surprised to find a (admittedly slightly seedy) frontier town-by-the-sea. After restorative beers,wine, thai food, pizzas and ice creams (not all in the same meal) we were even more convinced.
* We love Battambang – thanks to Soporn and Soviet (and sorry about the dreadful spelling)
** Khmer for white people
*** long bike (there is no word in Khmer for tandem)