Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Riding in Kep

Last weekend, I visited the seaside town of Kep with a few friends. We met on Friday after work at Deum Kor Market to find ourselves a taxi. I was slightly worried about my bike causing problems. But I figured that while in Australia there are often rules that make taking a bike difficult, no such rules seem to exist in Cambodia. And I was right; the driver folded down some seats in the van and we made the bike fit. The ten of us paid $70 for the three and a half, 170km trip South. Road travel doesn't feel all together safe in Cambodia, but we did make it there (and back).

More turns than Alpe d'Huez!
Here I am ruining a perfectly nice view

What Kep lacks in beautiful beaches it more than makes up for with an abundance of seafood and a beautiful national park. Come Saturday morning, this is where I pointed my bike (to the national park, that is). I paid my dollar to get in and was treated to a whole lot of surprises. To start, there were hills, the first I've come across in my time here (almost), despite the "phnom" in the pancake flat "Phnom Penh" meaning "hill" (some kind of joke?).

I also found fire roads, single tracks, earth movers, scared cows, amazing views and some nice nuns who fed me lunch. I'd love to say that the nice nuns feeding me lunch was an amazing experience, but to be honest it was a bit awkward. For starters, like all old ladies everywhere around the world, they gave me way too much food. I wasn't sure how they'd react to me not eating much of it. Fortunately, they weren't angry or forceful when I returned most of it; maybe because they're nuns. We also didn't have much to talk about, or rather, much ability to talk. Beyond "awkunh" (thank you) we didn't get far. On top of that, by the time I was done, they were still well and truly eating. I didn't know if it was rude to leave the table before they were finished, or if I had to ask permission to leave the table (and if so, how to ask?). And then, would they like a small donation? Would it be rude to ask? Would it be rude to assume? In the end, I did ask, and they refused, no offence taken it seemed. Anyway, I complain and I complain, but it was very nice and I enjoyed it despite the awkwardness.

I was keen to get out again on Sunday, but the rain set in on Saturday night and didn't let up for 24 hours.

Here's a little video of my ride. Music by Yann Tiersen; a bit sad at times but nice I think...


  1. Nice ride, I will be going to Kep in the next month, I hope to ride some similar track.

  2. The place looks beautiful! Would love to ride there, I took my wife this 4 years ago too a similar place near Cambodia in Angkor but we hired folding bikes, was a great experience, even though our Folding bike Dahon Jetstream P8, kept breaking.