Sunday, April 02, 2006


I cycled near enough to 900 km through Cambodia - about 635 km cycling between various towns along Highway 6 & 5. Cambodia itself is a very interesting place, and Angkor Wat is indeed up there with the other wonders of the world. The cycling was tougher than I'd anticipated, partly as a result of the heat & humidity (my timing might have been better), and partly because the the route I selected was very much 'same same' - i.e there was not the variation per kilometre that I'd hoped for. (My chum Mr Felix did suggest a more challenging route from Kompong Thom to Siem Reap via Preah Vihar & Anlong Veng & around the Thai border, but who listens to other people's advice ...).

Seeing the sights of Cambodia, meeting Cambodians, mingling with a few expats & investigating some of the nightlife nevertheless made for a memorable month, & I'd certainly recommend it as a place to visit. The Cambodian people are a delight, especially so when seen in the context of what the country went through during the horrors of the Pol Pot regime. Part of its charm is a sort of 'wild west' aspect to it - entrenched corruption, minimal public health services, limited laws & regulations ...

Oh, and a word of warning: Cambodians are the worst launderers in the world! I'm not quite sure why I continued to do this, but I'd hand over some clothing to staff of wherever I was staying, asking if it could be washed (usually in those places where I was feeling lazy, or there were no obvious clothes drying spots in or near my rooom) . Unfailingly, the clothes would be returned in a much worse condition than when handed over, usually sporting smears of washing powder and an impossible amount of crinkles & creases. I think I'd have done a better job if I'd worn them while I'd showered & then thrown them in the bottom of my pack to dry. So, I think there's an untapped market for some enterprising local or expat to develop.