The Kingdom of Cambodia boasts some of the most spectacular sights on the planet. From massive ancient temple complexes to varied wildlife, dense rainforest and pristine beaches – this country has a huge amount to offer. Having suffered a traumatic recent history, the country has set about reinventing itself and has opened its doors to visitors keen to experience this exotic destination.
The off-road trails here are amongst some of the best and most varied in the world… and the main reason it became our base for our South Asia tours! With a wide variety of terrain we are spoilt for choice – the only difficult bit is choosing which to leave out from the tours. With rocky hill climbs, tight twisty single tracks, river crossings, steep mountains, jungle trails, sandy tracks and much more – even the most experienced of riders will have the time of their lives out here! There are trails to suit most skill levels… Cambodia is the perfect dirt bikers playground.
The Khmer Rouge was a Cambodian communist movement. With the help of their leader, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975, renamed the country ‘the state of Democratic Kampuchea’ and ruled for another 4 years. Cambodia was turned into a giant detention centre and killed a massive number of it’s own people – almost two million innocent citizens died due to lack of access to medication, exhaustion and starvation or from execution. Anyone who opposed the regime, anyone who was well educated, anyone who was a threat in any way at all (even people who wore glasses were considered intellectuals!) was eliminated. The rest of the population was evacuated to the countryside where they were forced to work in the fields. Children were taken away from their families, forced to work and the Khmer Rouge began to ‘re-educate’ them.
A repressive and paranoid party, the Khmer Rouge were finally overthrown when Vietnam invaded and took control of Phnom Penh in 1979, causing the leaders to flee. The leaders of the Khmer Rouge continued to exist until 1999 when they all had either died, been arrested or defected to the Royal Government of Cambodia.
If you’d like to learn more on this subject there is a fantastic book written by a lady who survived the Khmer Rouge: First They Killed My Father.
From the rural villages we pass through with local villagers wooden huts on stilts to the gorgeous sandy beaches of the south – your eyes will struggle to take it all in. On our Cambodia tours you’ll have the chance to visit a volcanic lake, ancient deserted temples, the beautiful Cardamom mountains, or the southern beaches depending on which motorcycle adventure you choose (or all of the above!). There are designated rest days in chosen locations so all riders can spend a full day exploring some of the sights themselves.
The food in Cambodia is amazing. The locals certainly know what they’re doing and can create some fantastic flavours by mixing locally grown ingredients with their delicious spices. Off the beaten track the typical meals available in the day are sticky pork with rice, noodle soups and egg fried rice. For dinner there is a wider range of meals available. There is such a variety of curries, fish dishes and the national dishes of beef Lok Lak and chicken Amok. The food here is fantastic for curry lovers and spice fans although if you fancy a change there is always the option of omelette and pancakes etc. In the more built up cities there are huge varieties of restaurants catering for every type of taste.
The main religion of Cambodia is Buddhism which constitutes roughly 90% of the population and has existed since at least the 5th century AD. Barely will an hour go by when one doesn’t see a brightly dressed in orange monk going about his day.
The people of Cambodia are incredibly friendly and welcoming, especially when we explore deep into the jungle and find ourselves in a remote rural village. Many of the people in these locations have never seen dirt bikes until we came along! The excited children will run out to wave and when we stop for drinks and refreshments the locals couldn’t be more accommodating and interested in getting to know us a bit better. Always happy to help and have a chat, the people here really are what makes Cambodia feel like such a friendly and safe place.
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