As part of our pre trip bookings, we organised two bike rides in Siem Reap in Cambodia. Well if I am honest, I booked two bike rides and casually mentioned to Ruth that we would do a little biking in Cambodia.

There was enough cloud to make the sunrise interesting.
There was enough cloud to make the sunrise interesting.

The ride around Angkor Archaeological Park was showing early promise. At 5:10am there was no sign of the sun, it was not raining, the temperature was a cool 27c, there were only four of us plus a guide, perfect riding looked to be in store.

We had seen the sunset crowds at Santorini so were well prepared for the sunrise mobs at Angkor Wat. There were a lot of early risers, the Tuk Tuk traffic on the road to the park was heavy but there is plenty of space at Angkor Wat and there are a number of strategic spots where the crowds congregate for their sunrise selfies, so no one spot was unbearably crowded.

The sunrise crowd was not as appreciatve as the sunset crowd at Santorini, no applause. We did give a round of applause when the sun went down that day, we simply pleased to see it go.
The sunrise crowd was not as appreciative as the sunset crowd at Santorini, no applause. We did give a round of applause when the sun went down that day, we were simply pleased to see it go.

We don’t normally bother with guides but in Vietnam and Cambodia we thought it wise, given our predilection to getting lost. It is one thing to get lost in a benign country but entirely more serious matter to get lost in less hospitable terrain. Our guide in Vietnam had helpfully told Ruth that there were lots of big snakes in Cambodia, especially cobra, so she was of the view that it would be far safer to just walk around shops than go anywhere where a snake could be hanging out. Anyway, I am digressing, the guide (Angkor Wat guide) knew all the strategic photo opportunity spots to visit and, the precise moment to be there, to get those great Angkor sunrise shots. He also knew a lot of other things, spoke several languages and seemed to have an endless supply of water so we got to really appreciate his services.

It probably would have been easier to just buy a post card, but we were lucky to strike a reasonably impressive "show".
It probably would have been easier to just buy a post card, but we were lucky to strike a reasonably impressive “show”.

The only problem with a sunrise is that once it has risen, burnt off the few clouds around, it gets hot, very hot.

Som (our guide) said that it was much cooler now as it was nearly winter. We did not think 32c was particularly winter like and our bodies seemed to think that it was necessary for natures cooling system to be turned onto the highest possible setting.The soft sand that we were biking through required a little more effort to propel the bike along.

This ruin was deserted and largely surrounded by a tree choked waterway. Ruth enquired as to whether or not it contained snakes, I suspected that until she heard that it did contain water snakes, she was seriously considering diving in.
This ruin was deserted and largely surrounded by a tree choked waterway. Ruth inquired as to whether or not it contained snakes, I suspected that until she heard that it did contain water snakes, she was seriously considering diving in.

So while we were happy that the day was to be one of our first completely dry days for some time, the results were similar to having been caught in one of those sudden torrential downpours. In fact we probably would have been very thankful for a downpour so that we could fall into and drink the pooling water.

Heavy showers can be warded off with our trusty travel umbrellas which have served us well during our travels. The rain turns many streets into canals and it gets messy under foot for quite some time. We have struck this in both Phnom Penh (top) and Siem Reap (bottom). However, when the sun comes out the umbrellas are lttle use in thwarting the moisture that results from the sauna like conditions. Whether biking or walking it is just one of those things you have to get used to.
Heavy showers can be warded off with our trusty travel umbrellas which have served us well during our travels. The rain turns many streets into canals and it gets messy under foot for quite some time. We have struck this in both Phnom Penh (top) and Siem Reap (bottom). However, when the sun comes out the umbrellas are little use in thwarting the moisture that results from the sauna like conditions. Whether biking or walking it is just one of those things you have to get used to.
Ruth powering through the jungle on one of the sandy tracks we traversed.
Ruth powering through the jungle on one of the sandy tracks we traversed.

Our goal of getting an overview of the layout and scale of the site was met and we noted the areas we would return to later.We also spent a lot of the time in areas where there were no other visitors, in fact we felt like explorers riding through the narrow jungle trails.

Cliff asking Som to tell Ruth that we were not lost and there are no Tigers left in this part of Cambodia.
Cliff asking Som to tell Ruth that we were not lost and there are no Tigers left in this part of Cambodia.

Fortunately, the ride was not too far, we did get to dismount and look through some of the sites and although we had plenty of breaks, we struggled to get enough water intake to counter the rate of water loss. Ruth started to get a bit dehydrated. She always tells me; that because she is short she has to work twice as hard as anyone else.

Getting the bikes across the bridge was daunting, especially for Ruth. I turned to see her close to heading over the side on the challenging bit of getting you bike up onto the bridge.
Getting the bikes across the bridge was daunting, especially for Ruth. I turned to see her close to heading over the side while traversing he challenging bit of getting her bike up onto the bridge.

We enjoyed breakfast in a jungle setting and lunch was later provided in more normal restaurant. There was some barely intelligible lunchtime conversations attempted between gulping down any cold drink in sight. Would we do it again, most probably, whether walking or biking it is going to get hot and, on the bike we were able to see far more than we would have on foot. Ruth did not get to the “I am never getting on a bike again stage” although she has been asking some challenging questions about our planned countryside ride on Sunday. I am using the winter argument rather unconvincingly and trying to be very vague about the distance. I am not sure that this approach is working very well.

Ruth trying to reduce her temperature at the end of the ride
Ruth trying to reduce her temperature at the end of the ride

We got back to our hotel around 3pm. Ruth finished with a triple S (swim, shower and sleep).

Probably what our house will look like when weget back. Ta Prohm has been left as it was found.
Probably what our house will look like when we get back. Ta Prohm has been left as it was found.
Warning: don't take your food in a plastic bag, the monkeys know what it is, we saw two people lose their breakfast or lunch as a monkey would undertake a hit and run manoeuvre and they knew exactly how toget into the goodies, you unwrap them.
Warning: don’t take your food in a plastic bag, the monkeys know what it is, we saw two people lose their breakfast or lunch as a monkey would undertake a hit and run manoeuvre and they knew exactly how to get into the goodies, by expertly unwrapping them.
Ruth snapped this shot of the local artist getting ready for a days work at Angkor Wat
Ruth snapped this shot of some local performers getting ready for a days work at Angkor Wat

 

4 comments

  1. What a fantastic trip you are having. Can’t believe you are still travelling. Have you lost weight with all the cycling and the heat? Great photos and text thanks for keeping us in touch. C & J x

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    1. Hi Carol and John
      It has been a fabulous adventure but is nearing the end, we head to Singapore and then Australia for Ruth’s sons wedding Saturday week, we have a little further adventure planned after the wedding before returning home on 5 December. The clothes are a lot looser, I have lost about 8kg, had plenty to lose, Ruth has lost about 4kg. Our concern is that the weight will “find us” when we stop. The exercise has been a big factor but so has our changed eating habits, we find we are eating a lot less. I would probably have lost more but a cold beer is so nice in the heat. Fortunately, wine has been off the menu due to lack of availability and cost when it is available.

      Thanks for reading the posts.

      Cheers
      Cliff & Ruth

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  2. yes, I thought you were both looking fitter, nothing like exercise, but wow you’re better than me, such adventurers . Mark getting married!! yay grandchildren next xxx thanks for writing these blogs we love them xx

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