THE ANGKOR PLAN:
The first day that I got my bicycle, I cycled from Jasmine Family Hostel on Highway 6 up Sivatha Road (parallel to Charles De Gaul) to the corner of Angkor Wat. I had no ticket, so I was stopped and denied entry. They told me to go back and get my ticket on Charles De Gaul. I cycled back down Sivatha home to my Hostel.
I have an S1 prolapse and a trapped nerve in my back (that affects the right hand side of my right leg and foot – and can send my leg muscles into cramp spasms), so I took things leisurely and made sure not to over-strain myself. The round trip took about 70 minutes (35 minutes each way). Based on this ‘trial run’, I was confident that I could cycle to Angkor Wat and Back again.
There are 3 types of Angkor Pass:
- 1 Day (to be used within 3 elapsed days) US$20
- 3 Day (to be used within 7 elapsed days) US$40
- 7 Day (to be used within 1 month) US$60
They take a photo of your face at the ticketing booth and print it on your Pass. They check your pass regularly within the Angkor borders (so you can’t give your tickets to other people).
If you have a ticket, you are allowed to enter after 5pm on the first day to watch the sunset free of charge. So, the next day I cycled up Charles De Gaul. this time I started from my new Hostel (the Funky Flashpacker).
At my leisurely pace, it took me 25 minutes to get to the ticketing booth. There are different queues depending on which Pass you want to buy. It only took 10 minutes to queue for and get my 3 Day Pass. From there, it was another 15 minutes to the entrance to Angkor Wat. I saw sunset and cycled back again.
I wanted to do a big trip starting north of Angkor Thom in the Angkor Thum area. Having already cycled from town to Angkor Wat and back in the heat of the day (twice), I knew that such a trip would be twice as far and, probably, beyond me.
So, I came up with an alternative plan… I would get a tuk tuk to take me and my bicycle there and cycle back via all of the Temples. I calculated that the cycling distance would be about 20km.
That night I discussed my plan with Bunti (who works behind the bar at Funky Flashpacker). He agreed to take me up there. We agreed a 9am kick off.
The next morning, I was up early. I had my favourite breakfast (hot baguette and 2 fried eggs with black coffee for US$1.50) down at my favourite little cafe. Next door you can get a 1.5L bottle of water for US$0.50 and a large refill for US$0.25. I bought 3L of water to take with me.
Bunti arrived at 8:55am. Not with a Tuk Tuk, but with his motorbike! He wanted me to sit on the back holding my bike up-side down between us. I could see us ripping his seat and I didn’t feel very safe. So, I jumped on the bike next to him, held on to his shoulder with my right hand and steered the bike with my left. Off we went.
We probably averaged 20km / hour and got up to as much as 30km / hour on the open road. To avoid other traffic we did a wide detour east of Angkor entering it high to the north. This was about 25kms and took about 45mins.
By the time that we got to my starting point at Prae Roup, my arm muscles needed a rest – and so did my bottom!
THE ANGKOR TRIP:
I entered my first temple at 9:40am. I will let the photos tell my story…
By the time that I had finished, I had:
- Cycled over 20kms
- Walked over 10kms (around the temples)
- Drank all 3 litres of water (it was over 38 degrees that day)
I reckon that I lost 5 litres of liquid in sweat… By nightfall, I was one stomach flu away from my perfect weight!
I am glad that I did it but you do have to be a bit of a mad englishman in this hot midday sun. The trip was perfectly manageable for anyone that is reasonably fit and enthusiastic enough to take it on.
Otherwise, why not just pay a Tuk Tuk driver to take you around on a Big Tour for US$20… it would be a lot more leisurely.
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