Cycling options in Cambodia
“Be pretty fit. Some of the cycles were long and in hot and humid conditions. I would also suggest getting to Bangkok at least a day before the group to get over the jet lag. I really enjoyed the experience. Getting to see three countries off the beaten track was an experience and we were all the time active on the holiday”
– Tom McConalogue on an Indochina cycling holiday
Cambodia is probably not an entry-level destination for a cycling holiday, but given the generally flat terrain and that most itineraries offer a relaxed pace padded with rest days, neither is it especially challenging. It’s the landscape, the culture and history that will take your breath away here, not the exertion. Most of the time you will be travelling through peaceful rural areas, where heavy traffic means a truculent water buffalo blocking the road, but cycling in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is a very different experience of course. The sheer level of traffic, and the ‘organised chaos’ that ensues, make it necessary to board the support vehicle and wait for quieter roads before getting back in the saddle.
Our Cambodia cycling Holidays
Whether you’re spritzing up red dust or coasting through wetlands, an adventurous cycling itinerary will see you arrive at every accommodation ready for a shower, but it shouldn’t leave you too exhausted in the evenings. A typical route might see you tackling narrow backroads, crossing wetlands and facing the occasional (optional) mountain such as Bokor – a 40km uphill climb. You might cover 500km over 12 days, jumping into boats or vans when the terrain demands it, and soothing your muscles in the evenings with a traditional massage.
On a more moderate route, you can expect to be in the saddle for around three to four hours most days, averaging around 30km. Some longer days will be involved when you might travel up to 90km, but these are rarely consecutive. There will likely be some off-roading involved too, always fun, and some bumpy sections in isolated areas. These are far from demanding itineraries, perfectly suited to the casual cyclist, and can be as short as a week, though you’ll definitely want to stay longer.
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Opt for an easy tour if you like to see and do plenty, but can live without the burning thighs, thanks anyway. You’ll be maintaining a steady pace throughout, with plenty of rest days and others where you’ll be out of the saddle by lunchtime. These itineraries have an intense focus on culture – you won’t be riding every day but you will always be out and about, whether that’s kayaking on the river, wandering a floating market on foot, or sightseeing in Siem Reap by private van.
SE Asia cycling tours
SE Asia cycling tours
Thailand and Vietnam are ideal for combining with Cambodia to create an overland cycling holiday in Indochina. As part of a small group tour, you can explore the similarities and contrasts between each – in their landscapes, architecture, cuisine and religious heritage. You’ll also benefit from the ease of navigating borders and cultures with the help of local guides.
Family cycling holidays
Family cycling holidays
Cambodia is a fantastic country for active families, with unchallenging, shortened daily rides available on specialist small group tours, accompanied by an experienced tour leader. Kids will love the smiling welcome they get everywhere, and the opportunity to play hide-and-seek around mysterious temples buried in the jungle. They’ll also have the opportunity to soak up a culture very different from their own, and to learn about recent history that is simultaneously shocking and uplifting.
More about Cambodia cycling
Cycling holidays in Cambodia operate all year-round. The country has a wet and a dry season, and each has advantages and disadvantages for the cyclist.
Take only photos, leave only tyre tracks is the over-arching ethos of our guide to Cambodia cycling holidays.
Outside the major cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, daily life in Cambodia goes on much as it has done for generations.
Our tips for cycling Angkor Wat will show you around the world’s largest temple complex, a vast archaeological park sprawling over some 1690sq km.
A Cambodia cycling holiday can seamlessly be extended into an Indochina overland cycling tour, letting you easily cross borders into Thailand and Vietnam.
Cambodia is an exotic, illuminating and above all very welcoming destination for a cycling trip, and that goes double when the kids come along for the ride.
We’ve put together some solid-gold Cambodia cycling holiday advice from those that have already been, there, done that and bought the krama.