SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
An off-road bike ride with Lub d hostel
In the brief two weeks I spent travelling around Cambodia with my friend Saskia, we sought to immerse ourselves in Cambodian culture— from roaming ancient temples to paying our respects to the victims of Prison 21. Whilst both unforgettable experiences, our favourite experience in the country was the evening we spent riding through the outskirts of Siem Reap.
Feeling a little overwhelmed from the crowds of tourists at Angkor Wat and the bustle of the town, we sought a more low key activity. It was perfect when we spotted a poster for an evening bike ride through Siem Reap for only $5. With 15 or so other tourists we paired with our bikes and begun our adventure. I won’t lie, I was initially apprehensive given that we were riding on the main roads. You won’t find any cycle lanes in Cambodia! With caution, we safely passed lorries and motorcyclists—and they had no issue making their presence known. In no time at all we were off the roads and on dirt tracks. The paths were lined with thick palm trees, cows grazed on fields and Cambodian songs played loudly in the distance. Weaving and winding our way along the river and eventually through a small village, we waved back at locals and laughed with the children playing outside. It was fascinating seeing how different their lives were from mine. How they built their homes and attended to daily tasks with a fraction of the resources available to me, but with just as much efficiency and care.
After around 45 minutes of cycling we reached our end destination, a wooden shack surrounded by crops and streams. The road was almost deserted bar a few geese scattered around. At the shack we were given a drink and led down a path to watch the sunset. Sipping on a cool Coke and basking in the departing sun was peaceful and afforded us a much needed break. We relaxed in hammocks for a while and then ventured out to explore the area. It was there that we found two puppies bustling down the dirt track. It was hard not to fall in love and we spent the rest of our time playing chase and getting in lots of cuddles.
As we cycled back to the hostel darkness approached and we were greeted back into the city by the buzz of locals setting up their market stalls. We were sweaty and tired but so happy to have seen a different side of Cambodia.