Cross Country on Two Wheels-Roadtrip Across Cambodia

On the last few trips it’s become a sort of unintentional tradition to rent a motorbike and take a road trip (you can check out our one in the Philippines and Thailand). So it was a no brainer to do the same and make a roadtrip across Cambodia. We love it because not only it is a cheaper method of transportation versus taxis or tuk tuks since it’s less than $10 a day for a rental, but I feel like we are also able to see parts of the country that would have whizzed by the bus window.

Road Trip Across Cambodia
 In total we rode over 900 km (that’s 560 miles for you USers), or the width of Cambodia and almost back again and I have the bruises on my butt to prove it. We went through cities and back country roads where the farmers were steering their ox through the rice paddies. We drove through the blazing heat, dusty roads and pouring down rain. We met farmers, school children, business owners and our guardian angel; a stranger who drove slowly in front of us with their hazards on so we could see the road through the downpour of rain. But no matter where we traveled, we were always met with smiling faces and inquisitive looks. Even though it was a long ride, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Here are some little tid bits from our 13+ hours on the open road:

Our first pit stop was to get gas at a small family owned service station. The girls in the top picture were selling mango and salt (an interesting combination for sure) while the boys helped their father with the station. The man sitting below had worked for ten years at a hotel in Phnom Penh in order to buy this gas station. And you’ll notice that on the gas pump they have a handle they have to crank in order to get the gas from the barrel, up into the glass container, then through the house and into the vehicle.
Gas Station Cambodia
Some of the other gorgeous views along the way.
Cambodian Countryside
Cambodian Rice Fields
This is another one of our many pit stops where we found children swimming through lily pads and collecting lotus pods to sell and eat.
Cambodian Children

Motor Bike Cambodia

We often had ‘road blocks’. Luckily this was only one cow but there were times when we had to sit and wait for a group of them to get up and move out of the way before we could keep going.

cambodian cow

On one of our last stops we went by an area where all of the houses and buildings were up on stilts. Certain areas can actually flood so much during rainy season that the water actually reaches the bottom of these buildings.

House on Stilts in Cambodia

Along the same route we found a hammock restaurant on stilts and decided to take a break and enjoy the view. Plus, who can say no to hammocks and a cold drink?
Hammock Restaurant in Cambodia

I just couldn’t resist putting some pictures of cows in Cambodia because they may just be my new favorite animal.
Cambodian Cow
cambodian cow

On our way back from Siem Reap to Phnom Pehn, we left at 4:30 in the morning (definitely not my idea) in order to beat some of the city traffic and also the scorching heat that sets in late morning. Thankfully the views made it well worth it.

Sunset in Cambodia
bike ride across cambodia

Even though the trip was a blast and I would recommend it to anyone traveling to Southeast Asia, there are some things that made it a whole lot easier on us, and some things that we wish we would have known:

-It goes without saying that you need a lot of cushion. On the way back I was tempted to go try and find those butt inserts to make the ride a little better. Instead we folded some of our clothes in bags and sat on those instead.
-Cover up! Even though it may not feel hot when you’re riding and you can feel the wind, you’re getting a lot more sun that you think you are.
-Have a water proof option. We rode during the rainy season and thankfully only got caught in the rain once. We covered all of our bags in trash bags to protect them from getting wet.
-Get an international license. We’ve never been asked to show ours in the countries that we have rented but it doesn’t hurt to have this extra precaution.
-We bought kramas (traditional Cambodian scarves) before we hit the road. A lot of the roads we went on weren’t paved so there was a lot of dirt and dust that we would have been breathing in if we didn’t have these scarves. Anytime we stopped, we got funny looks because of how dirty our faces were in the areas the scarf didn’t cover.

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  • Lucy Duldulao

    I miss my province. -Lucy of Travel Guru.

  • http://www.searchingforsubstance.wordpress.com/ searchingforsubstance

    love the sunrise photo!! and i’m so glad you found a hammock restaurant… i visited so many with my relatives in cambodia but always wondered where the foreigners were… i thought only if only tourists knew about these places, they’d really enjoy it too! i love pics of cambodian countryside.. thanks for sharing!

    • http://lostintravelsblog.com/ Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      It was one of my favorite parts! It’s such a relaxing place, more cities in the states need to adopt that idea!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08264296538572159182 Shio Waline

    I loved reading about your trip!! You are quite blessed to be able to have so many experiences like this while being so young!! I think I am gonna start living vicariously through you 😉 My bum would totally be bruised having to go through that too!! And loved those pics you took, some are just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!! xoxo!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01568095711517362117 Vivienne Z

    The second last photo. It’s GORGEOUS! I literally (literally!!) sat staring at it for a full couple of minutes. It’s mesmerizing! Waking up early was definitely well worth it!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06261848661648319106 Mimi Tran

    Southeast Asia.. definitely a place that I need to travel as well. It is always a new and unforgettable adventure to make a roadtrip accross a country you don’t know at all. Especially in poorer countries.

    I was in Marrakech (Morocco) with my boyfriend two weeks ago for 7 days. It was great. Of course, we had to get used to cultural differences first, but then it was simply awesome. We loved the culture over there, although especially in the West the media often depicts such a bad picture about the Orient.

    I like your blog a lot. It’s very interesting to read about different cultures. I’m getting wanderlust.

    World of Plastic

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08300509693671365389 Sam M

    I’m so excited to be back and read all of these posts. Don’t you just love kromas and how they have a million uses? I literally have one hanging on the headboard of my bed, and on my husband’s dresser right at this moment. We use them all the time! Oh this post just makes me homesick. Don’t you love the cows? I remember thinking they were like 2D when we first got there because all their bones stick out. We’d ride by on our bikes and reach out to touch them as we go by.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03222437193341574739 Kayleigh thewayiwanderlust

    Loving the sunset pictures. That view totally makes up for having to wake up that early.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01840314026818615727 Asia Reynolds

    absolutely stunning.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05891388366651804749 Maria

    Great photos!
    I also have a travel blog, visit!

    Maria – http://wanderlust-mac.blogspot.pt/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09546422221367269342 Melanie Fontaine

    This is such a great way to discover a country! :) I’m sure you must have had a magnificent experience (let’s ignore the bruises 😉 )!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08216777008834808521 Jamie Walker

    that sunrise- definitely worth the trip!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06058056977783867772 Sara Louise

    What an amazing way to explore a place! It’s so fun and adventurous :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10307690967846683371 Andrea

    You guys are so brave! We rented motorbikes in Thailand and Vietnam, but each time we did it in a not very busy city, and we never rode them far. Did you guys have to go through busy traffic? I can’t imagine riding a motorbike through Phnom Pehn, I was nervous enough in the tuk tuk!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00370544928717266784 kristyn

    Wow, what an awesome experience! Motorbiking sounds like a lot of fun :) You got to see such a variety of landscape, towns and people along the way–and that photo taken in motion is really cool, makes me dizzy haha! Love the purple sky in the early morning, how gorgeous :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12050447967374041694 Rachel

    You’ve had so many wonderful adventures this year! Love these photos.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10888956203263380230 Susannah

    What a great idea! I’m going to have to remember this next time the hubby and I travel overseas!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05820007078755677537 Marisha Bailey

    This is a brilliant idea to rent the bike instead! When I travel I really want to submerse myself as much as possible, and this is a perfect way to do it!

    http://marishabailey.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05167617612746837239 Kate Hall

    Not only is this a great advice post but it’s completely inspired me to make sure I do this when I hit Asia. What a great way to see everywhere, I must admit I’d be a little nervous but then I’m sure I’d get used to it the more we did it!

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring me :)

    Kate -fattofitgeek.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12090735810562146009 M and L

    Yeah, the cows would be my favorite too :)
    LOVE the pictures!!!

    xoxo!
    -L

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09543581308363689982 Chantal

    Gosh I wish we could travel like that! Somehow I’m thinking riding a motorbike with a toddler won’t go over so well 😉

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15763610152270873383 Raine

    Wow! Beautiful pictures, beautiful trip.. I might write about this next on my blog.. Check it out please!! http://reisdromen.blogspot.nl/ (you can translate to English)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05694341743491033406 A and B

    I love that you motorcycled cambodia! Isn’t that place gorgeous! were the other drivers crazy though!?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03734694540206484285 Helene in Between

    wow! you are so adventurous! this looks amazing and thrilling!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07137521489634737953 Polly Heath

    Damn, you all are really hardcore. I doubt I could sit through 900 km in a car, much less a motorbike!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10278068738190185891 Susanne V.

    Sounds and looks totally cool to travel by motorbike through a country. I never actually thought about it, but seeing and reading this makes me very curious as to how it would be to actually do it myself. Thank you

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12306408315951596734 ana

    Wow, Chelsea! That looks like it was an amazing trip! Always love seeing your photos from all your guys’ adventures!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03481775343584575260 Casey Martin

    These photos are making me look so forward to our trip to Cambodia! Gorgeous!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00399800946479419129 Sara Rose

    This is amazing! I absolutely LOVE the pictures!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06720694596549999667 Caroline

    What an awesome tradition! I think those off-the-beaten-path experiences and gorgeous views are worth the sore butts :) Will definitely keep this in mind for my next adventure!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06024167314179598251 Anwesha PeanutsOnTheRoad

    Stunning pictures and I love you cute you two look together :)
    You have a new subscriber.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08178401162208967646 Sarah Shumate

    Incredible!! I want to do this!! And those morning views – totally worth being up at 4:30 for!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07672672046096104876 Melyssa @ The Nectar Collective

    This was such an interesting read! Like I said in my e-mail to you, I’ve always been intrigued by motorbikes in SE Asia, but they totally freak me out, especially with all the traffic! I took the drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap once and I was in a shuttle bus, but even then I remember we juuuust barely would scrape past cars and even then it seemed scary haha. But I remember the houses on stilts and cows and so many other things about your pictures resonate with what I experienced. That drive was one of my favorite parts about my own Cambodia trip, so if I ever get the balls I will have to do it on a motorbike because this post is so convincing! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16481697260547021010 Something Infinitely Interesting

    seriously looks like an amazing trip!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13723134528141043837 Mar @ t.o. and fro

    Looks like an adventure! Beautiful photos.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14182775626836970347 Manish Singh

    Your blog is nice for Hotels and Resort relative services. This is a brilliant post .I like this site.
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    Club Group of Hotel, Mountain Club India, Alpine Club India

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08304479805049145430 Dee

    Gorgeous photographs. It really is fun to ride on motorbikes! I miss the days when I could.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18442338647526035976 Rahul Mane

    Pretty cool and gorgeous photographs of your visit.
    Mysore Hotel

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18442338647526035976 Rahul Mane

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07177081269343759076 Treasure Tromp

    this is so incredible!! Chelsea, I love how adventurous you two are. I’ve honestly kind of scared of two-wheeled forms of transportation other than my basic bike :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16120542967747536887 Elizabeth Than

    Awww! How sweet of the stranger with the hazards on! These kind of friendly encounters are definitely bonus to the trip.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09215252781676585946 Erica

    Biking around a country has always been my husband’s dream, and when I walked away from the laptop with this page open, I came back to find him reading it… he’s hooked for sure. We’re hoping one day to do something like this :) Thanks for sharing the most beautiful photos!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16762990554546214626 LuluG

    What amazing pics and such a great way to see it all!

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11630940800322159103 Laura Cristina

    These pictures are GORGEOUS! That pink sunset just has me drooling!! haha Oh and renting a motorbike is definitely an awesome idea to explore everything better and at your own pace! <3

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07238434752028472905 Jenna

    So so cool that you guys rented a motorbike… I can’t think of a better way to see cambodia :) If I ever get to visit again I think I’ll go for that option.

    I was also obsessed with the cows in Cambodia… they’re soooo sweet!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11952024785307333996 Lindsey Marie

    I have to say, you and your husband really travel right. And I mean this in the most un-jealous way, but seeing how “you do” the spots that I have gone to too makes me kick myself with jealousy. You really make an area that has become so “travel friendly” how it should be; more local and culturally accurate to where you are. I love that you traveled that far by bike. I think my favorite day in Cambodia was the day we went two hours into the country on bike and saw all the beautiful rice terraces,from the looks of it you got that and so much more. Well well done. Beautiful entry!!!

    abroadsworld.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15187139806941283170 Robyn

    You ard brave!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14646849194518117289 Ech and Will

    Wow that sounds like such an amazing experience! I’m dying over your pictures!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02277056535139881326 Z

    this is the coolest thing!!! I love this idea and it seems like an awesome way to explore a country. amazing early morning photos too…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01246255931160856214 Katie Cook

    This is AMAZING!!! Wow..we are leaving to Cambodia tomorrow, and I’m so excited. LOVED your pictures!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15156637177304194821 Alex Fahey

    So beautiful. Some of those pictures reminded me of Hawaii. Did you guys get your international license in Korea or back in the states? Great post as always!