Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cycling in Angkor, Cambodia - Yes, it is also a family-friendly activity!

If you're traveling in Cambodia solo, as a couple or with friends, you will easily rent bikes and explore the area at your own pace. If you're traveling as family, you will stumble upon a major obstacle: shops rent only bikes for adults and there are no child's seats. What to do with the kids, then?

In Savannaketh, Laos, we came up with creativity: 2 kids on the back of 1 bicycle and the baby in the backpack (read my post "cycling in Savannaketh"). A fun idea, and perfect for an easy half-day city tour.   We could not seriously consider exploring the vast area of Angkor and its many temples using this trick.

My 6-years old jumped with joy when she saw a kid's mountain bike in the Camouflage Adventure shop. We had accidentally passed by the shop and were drawn into it when we spotted small bicycles and children's seats. We immediately booked for the next day, 25USD for 2 brand new mountain bikes with added seats and for one kid's bike. 

A few hours and one puncture later, we were off to Angkor, along the busy road that leads to the ancient temples. One stop at the checkpoint, in order to purchase the entrance pass. Rainy season is low season: we don't need to queue. We continue towards Angkor Wat and, as soon as we can, we turn right to cycle on less-driven roads. We stop to see a few less-visited temples, we don't have a plan, just stop and visit when we feel like it. Our route now follows a path alongside a temple wall, then brings us back to major sites in Angkor Thom. After quiet tracks, we're back on the main roads. It's a hectic crowd of tuk-tuks, busy like ants, carrying their load of tourists. We want to get away, turn right in a path.

We leave the site of Angkor, we now cycle between rice fields. Luckily, we have a GPS and a compass with our smartphone. We head back towards Siem Reap. 35 km, a mix of roads and tracks, it's been a great ride!


Practical infos:
- you can't enter temple areas with your bike. Leave it at the temple's "gate". Always secure it with a lock.
- the site of Angkor is huge, if you like to explore more or feel uncomfortable with an unguided tour, Camouflage also offers guided rides. Why not try it?
- visit the website of Camouflage Adventure for more details: http://www.camouflagecambodia.com/html/?p_lang=en