Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum


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Lao-Cambodia border crossing - Cambodia Quick Facts - Jan 09

Prices in Aussie/US Dollars

Thursday 22nd Phnom Penh.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Road Conditions: Overnight Accom: (US$18.00) $28.00 Standard, Good

Remain Phnom Penh – Sightseeing and awaiting Vietnamese Visa. We were to get our visa today, however, was told it was not yet ready. We have now been told we will get it on Friday at 4 pm.... At this time we are without our passports – Also we have been unable to determine “why” the delay... Can only wait until tomorrow and see what develops? Of course we are both concerned about “scams” and the upcoming New Year. If we do not get the passports back Friday, the Embassy is closed for “who knows how long”... It is, at the least, very “frustrating”.

The day after we get our visa we commence cycling towards Vietnam. We would have liked to cross the border before “TET” - the Vietnamese new year. We do not know how the “New Year” will affect our accommodation options on our journey – we can only hope a room(s) will be available....

In Phnom Penh, Bicycle Rickshaws are all over the place....

Bicycle rickshaws are very common here and their “persistance” can be a little annoying when seeking a fare. You are asked every few metres, when “out and about”, if you want either a “Tuk Tuk”, Motorcycle Taxi or Rickshaw. It becomes so overwhelming that one tends to ignore their pleas. Many tourists become less than polite, we have adopted a “no eye contact” and “ignore them” approach. Some get infuriated at being ignored, but, do accept a NO.

Changing money can also be frustrating.....

In this picture , these two guys are changing money... Those behind them are pleading for part of the exchange.. They tap your body, and are VERY persistant... Few are able to change money at the street booths, without this type of harassment. Of course there are always two sides..... With the crushing poverty, it is hard to blame them, attempting to get a small windfall. Catchya Later...

Friday 23rd Phnom Penh.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Road Conditions: Overnight Accom: (US$18.00) $28.00 Standard, Good

Morning: Awaiting Visa for Vietnam...

4.00 pm – we got our passports back and a visa for Vietnam. We leave for Vietnam in the morning :-) Of course it will take us a few days to get there... Catchya Later.....

Saturday 24th Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung
65.45 k's Average Speed 12.80 kph Cycling time 5 Hr(s) 6 Min. Max speed. 23 kph Max temp 31°C
Flat Road Conditions: Horrendous to excellent Overnight Accom: (US$6.00) $9.50 Standard, Poor/fair

First 20 k's were what nightmares are made of, an absolutely horrendous experience. There are six lanes showing on this sign, people have set up food stalls and W.H.Y in two of them, there is barely ONE functional lane for traffic traveling both ways...

After almost exactly 20 kilometres of nightmarish roads, we were on, arguably, the best section of road in Cambodia. It had a wide shoulder, with two Motorbike/Cycle paths down each side... apart from the debris that covered sections, it was great cycling...

We saw no guesthouse's/hotels until we reached the Mekong River. We crossed the river by a “free” ferry and found only one guesthouse in the town opposite. It fitted our bikes, had a fan, cold water shower, no windows or extractor fan, but, was reasonably clean. Even had clean sheets and pillow cases.

The town itself is incredibly dirty, naked children wandering around, covered in dust, they reminded me of “zombies”. After we showered and changed – a task all by itself – The road grime and dust that mixes with sweat, is simply unbelievable... We searched the town for food, a reasonably large town, however, the shocking level of hygiene made it impossible. We found some “baguettes” wrapped in plastic (and covered in dust), we bought five for an Aussie dollar. Went back to our room and filled them with “tinned fish” - dinner! The rice, noodles, etc.. that we saw, was clearly contaminated with dust and grime and simply un-edible.

The treatment of Animals continues to deeply disturb us, we cannot take pictures of all the atrocities (and there are many) as they happen too fast. This truck was carrying LIVE chickens hung upside down and it was crammed with Pigs on the bottom. At least the Pigs were not upside down, as is often the case...

Some Chickens simply do not survive this torture, however, they are still sold as food. We know because we have asked.....

Catchya Later.........

Sunday 25th Neak Loeung to Svay Rieng.
64.85 k's Average Speed 12.10 kph Cycling time 5 Hr(s) 21 Min. Max speed. 17 kph Max temp 29°C
Flat, Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (US$6.00) $9.50 Standard, Very Good, Clean, (cold Shower)

Today is “New Years Eve” and we do not know what to expect. Will there be accommodation available? Will the shops, restaurants be open?... We will find out soon.. We saw one guesthouse after about 35 k's of cycling – it was closed... So we continued on, knowing there was many towns along the way – no guesthouses that we could find in any of them.

Our ride today was on fairly good roads, not quite as good as the previous 40 k's or so but very much better than much we have cycled... We even found a spotlessly clean restaurant,

Sadly the only choice of food was packet noodles, they added a couple of eggs and some “clean” veggies, plus a drip filter coffee – all for less than three Aussie dollars.

After a further 30 k's we came upon a very large town and asked the locals. One local hopped on his motorbike and escorted us to the guesthouse.... It is one of the best value we have had anywhere in Cambodia and apart from cold showers it is at least a two star hotel. Whilst out searching for food - to no avail, we came across a young lady, whose brother lives in Sydney. She spoke reasonable English and warned us about trying to cross the border tomorrow, pointing out the hotels may be full at this time of year.

BTW, we could not take a picture of the three of us, despite the many willing photographers :-), as a picture of three people is “bad luck” here.

We purchased fresh veggies from them and fruit. Lee prepared the veggies (raw) in our room. The hotel sold – guess what – those bloody awful, packet noodles!!! Stumped, we bought those and added the boiling noodles to our freshly prepared veggies... Lee had found some hot, cooked, “Corn on the Cob” and we scraped of the kernels and added them too... It made a nice change to get a bit of fresh food... After the advice we got, we will probably stay here for “New Years Day” and cross into Vietnam on Tuesday................ Catchya Later...

Monday 26th Svay Rieng.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Flat Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (US$6.00) $9.50 Standard, Very Good, Clean, (cold Shower)



All the advice we have had is that Chinese New Year will create problems for us finding accommodation, food, etc.. Particularly in Vietnam, Cambodia of course has their New Year in April. The logistics of two billion people, or almost a third of all humans on the planet celebrating, visiting family, etc.. etc.. must be absolutely staggering.

We used our day off to wash the grime from our clothing and our bikes. We have been changing our clothes much more often and have few clean items left. The bikes of course will be just as grimy after a few metres of cycling!

The town we are in, is cleaner by far than the last town, partly because it is traditional to clean everything before New Year. It would be fantastic if one could harness this clean-up “tradition” more often each year.

We walked the streets looking for a meal, eventually finding a restaurant that looked fairly clean. We were in luck, as a Cambodian man was visiting his family for New Year, his home is now America. He had a good command of English and helped us explain to the staff, that we were “vegetarians”. They produced three dishes that were quite good, plus rice and tea.

It has been hard for us to find rice here in Cambodia, compared with noodles that is. Bread in the form of baguettes, are in abundance, however, they are “over handled” and often dirty. Sliced bread(s), although not as common, is far safer, as it is “bagged” at source.

Some Cambodians were “fishing” the river, they had dragged a large quantity of mud and debris from the river bottom and were sorting the small fish and snails from within.....

The snails are in the yellow colander on the left bottom of picture, whist the fish are in the bucket. The mud is combined with lots of garbage, which is a sad reflection on the state of the river. I hate to think of the E-Coli count in both the fish and snails...

This pic, shows the rubbish intertwined with the rivers vegetation, the whole shoreline is similarly polluted. Plastics of course take years, perhaps hundreds of years to completely break down, meaning there is a long term problem already in existence. It will get worse, as the money god will always win and plastics will continue to be produced, promoted, sold and used.

Today the town seemed almost deserted, despite schools, and banks open, after all it is not a Cambodian holiday. Many of the shops are Chinese or Vietnamese and they are off celebrating :-)... It was nice to be able to cross roads with a minimum of fuss :-).

Anyway we will decide tonight if we move on, the “New Year” is celebrated over three days.... We “really” do not want to stay here three days, but, we do not want to be without accommodation either... So we will get the best advice possible and decide tonight...

Catchya Later...

Tuesday 27th Svay Rieng.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Flat Road Conditions: Fair Overnight Accom: (US$6.00) $9.50 Standard, Very Good, Clean, (cold Shower)

All advice was, we will NOT find a hotel across the border. This is so frustrating, there is nothing for us here. We have charged all batteries (AAA & AA), phone etc... washed all our gear and generally chilled out, Fortunately we have “cable” TV, there are about 5 or 6 English channels, HBO, StarMovies, CNN and a couple more, so we can get news and movies to pass the time. We are going to cycle to the border tomorrow and take a chance on there being a hotel in the border town.

We went back to the restaurant we ate at yesterday and tried to get another vegetarian meal. They decided we need to eat meat today, so included it with one of our dishes. We had them box the dish and fed it to the hotels dogs...

There is always an upside, especially if you are a dog :-)

An odd phenomena in Asia – outside Singapore and to some extent Malaysia - is not getting what you ask for, it is so prevalent that it definitely needs further study. Catchya Later....

Wednesday 28th Svay Rieng to VIETNAM.
52.42 k's Average Speed 13.64 kph Cycling time 3 Hr(s) 51 Min. Max speed. 19 kph Max temp 34°C
Flat Road Conditions: Good Overnight Accom: (US$8.00) $12.50 Standard, Very Good, Very Clean.

We started fairly early for the 42 k ride to the border and arrived around lunch time. On the Cambodian side it is a strip of posh casino's and equally posh hotels. We decided not to stay in Bavet and headed straight for the border....

This Casino is spotless........ Manicured grounds and acres of flowers... the picture certainly does not do it justice..

BUT, right next door it is a typical rubbish infested wasteland...........

It must be off-putting for the patrons to witness this?

We will deal with the border crossing on THIS page.........

On to Vietnam – Catchya Later.........

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