Bike Tour Stage 5: Dirt Roads, Temples and ....... Minefields

Cambodia's flag
Asia » Cambodia » North » Preah Vihear
February 6th 2013
Published: February 11th 2013
Edit Blog Post

Cambodian Dust Roads!Cambodian Dust Roads!Cambodian Dust Roads!

Our route across the rural north of Cambodia!
Banlung (Cambodia) to Aranyaprathet (Cambodia-Thai Border): 29th Jan - 6th Feb 2013

Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 3281 km

Mel's Aunty Dawn showed concern (in an email to us) that Mel had resorted to washing her hair with a bar of soap, and Andy had denied her any make-up in place of a spare bike chain. However, despite losing these luxuries, it is still of paramount importance that we look good. It isn't just about the journey, the cycling, the experience... it is also about a flawless complexion and good skin. How is this achieved? We considered Estée Lauder skin treatments... we investigated plastic surgery. We settled on the Cambodian Complexion regime. This regime gives you the full range of spa treatments, without ever getting off the bike, you then arrive in at your destination looking a million dollars. How do you achieve this? Well....

1. Cleanse - This is achieved with the bar of cheap soap (which incidentally we also use for our camping pots, and our socks).

2. Exfoliation - To achieve the skin-renewing benefits of micro-dermabrasion we opted for a sand-blast treatment. This is achieved by periodic traffic passing by producing a dust cloud, which is then whipped into your face with the strong wind. This dramatically resurfaces ones skin to reveal the radiant look you want.

3. The fake tan - Clearly we couldn't be seen with pasty white skin, so opted for the Cambodian fake tan. Application is relatively simple: Apply suncream and then cycle for about 5 minutes on remote dust roads (so you are suitably sweaty in the 30+ degrees sun). The red dust will then cling nicely to your skin, giving an all over orange glow.

4. Tone - Ride out on your bicycle into the intense inland Cambodian sun, with hardly any chance of shade, for about 6-7 hours a day! This should blast your pores into submission.


Cambodia has been an absolute highlight of our trip so far. It has also been a real education - seeing how it is now, and trying to comprehend how it would have been under the Khmer Rouge regime has been difficult to do (people don't really talk about the past), but some signs (e.g. the mine fields that remain) are still very evident. Every trip to Cambodia must include Angkor Wat - this
Rough Ride!Rough Ride!Rough Ride!

Sometimes the roads were so exciting / rough that we had to push.
was breathtaking, albeit drowned in tourists!

Key Stats:

Distance covered in this stage: 706.03 km

Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 3281 Km (This is slightly further than cycling Manchester to Moscow!)

Total Hours in saddle (since 20 Dec): 188 Hours and 11 Minutes (This is 1 Hour and 11 Minutes loinger than it took Wiley Post to complete the first round the world solo flight in 1933!)

Cumulative Mechanicals: Sheared Pannier Rack x1 (Mel), Snapped Bike Chain x3 (Andy), Puncture x2 (Andy), Puncture x 7 (Mel), Snapped Water Bottle Cages x2 (Andy), Pannier bag rail snap x1 (Andy)

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Which Way Is ......?Which Way Is ......?
Which Way Is ......?

Andy getting some roadside directions. Locals only seem to know one village down from where they live and we don't have most villages marked on our maps... Hum!
New Friends!New Friends!
New Friends!

It's always nice to have a chat whilst you are cycling along.

Too much mud + stretched chain from too many hills + very rough roads = chain snapped again.
Roadside LocalsRoadside Locals
Roadside Locals

This part of Cambodian sees very few visitors and we got a lot of friendly attention.
At the End of The Day....At the End of The Day....
At the End of The Day....

Absolutely caked in mud, dust, sweat and suncream from a day on the dust roads.
Looking Good!Looking Good!
Looking Good!

A fake tan gone wrong, using a road-dust, suncream and sweat combination.
"For All Your Delivery Requirements""For All Your Delivery Requirements"
"For All Your Delivery Requirements"

If we got fed up with cycling I'm sure he would squeeze on a couple more bikes and give us a lift.
This Little Piggy Went To MarketThis Little Piggy Went To Market
This Little Piggy Went To Market

.... alongside his two brothers... and still alive!
Competition For The Nieces and NephewsCompetition For The Nieces and Nephews
Competition For The Nieces and Nephews

How many Andys and Mels can you spot?
Angkor Wat - The BayonAngkor Wat - The Bayon
Angkor Wat - The Bayon

We spent some great rest days, during this stage, walking around the temples at Angkor Wat.
Angkor WatAngkor Wat
Angkor Wat

What a Wat it is!
Cocktails O'Clock!Cocktails O'Clock!
Cocktails O'Clock!

When having a rest day it is important to really let your hair down so that when you next get on the bike again, it really hurts for at least a day or two!
The Long and Not Winding RoadThe Long and Not Winding Road
The Long and Not Winding Road

On the road again heading east for Bangkok.

11th February 2013

makes me tired to read your blog!
But what a trip! You will certainly never forget this one! and I have always wanted to go to Cambodia And you are missing a pretty miserable winter here damp and cold I am looking forward to our trip , even if its only two weeks in Atlanta/Belize/Gwatamala from next week I am delighted to here you are coming back to the Bristol area as it is near Bolehyde so hopefully you will come and see us and tell us all about your adventures Much love amanda
11th February 2013
Competition For The Nieces and Nephews

Tessa says there are 21 Andys and Mels, 2 bikes and a frog!
12th February 2013

Sun tans and white teeth!
Some great pics again guys. Love the one of Ankgor Wat. Glad to see you're having some relaxation and cocktails as well. Mel - your new sun tan makes your teeth look ridiculously white! xxxx
12th February 2013

beauty treatments
I do believe that we have the same beauty treatments in Burkina! Must mean its effective ;-)
7th March 2013

I see from facebook that it looks like you are both now home in Ireland! How exciting! Looks like you are also sporting quite a bump! Hope that Simon is enjoying Ireland and is not too cold! Love Andy and Mel x
13th February 2013

Holy Guacamole
OHHHH WOW. THIS IS UNREAL. I can\'t work out whether or not im extremely jealous, or just think that you are both absolutely BONKERS! Your photos and captions really really made me laugh. The fake tan was a HOT look. and i really enjoyed the spot how many andys and mels game. That was much better than preparing for the lesson i havet planned and have to teahc in..errm....3 minutes. When is it that you expect to finish? Mel, i\'ll send you an email with an update from my comparatively dull life very soon. Miss you (quick work update: Ayesha, Lida and Suzanne have all got new jobs and are leaving!!)
20th February 2013

Dirt Roads...etc.
Hi there, You enjoyed those moments. You guys are great cyclists.I read your articles/saw those pictures,just to make me wonder the world out there....unbelievable with so many things to peaceful in rural folks,the simple life that blends with mother's nature and many more days to days happening. Happy cycling....Wishing you all the best....vic (malaysia)

Tot: 0.093s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 16; qc: 64; dbt: 0.0176s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb