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Cycle Touring Routes   >  Cambodia  >  Phnom Penh to Siem Reap  >  Day
Day 1
Chau Doc, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Boat trip up the Mekong River from Vietnam to Cambodia
The Boat to Phnom Penh - The boat ramp to get on the
speedboat to Cambodia is located through the Thuan Loi
Hotel on the riverside at the restaurant.  We walked our
bikes through the hotel lobby to the ramp.

The ramp is down one flight of steep wooden steps, plus a
slanted and wobbly wooden ramp.  
We unloaded our packs at the hotel level and carried the
bicycles down to the dock.  Hotel staff helped with the
panniers even though we had not been guests. Very
gracious.

The speedboat arrived early.  It is a small craft that seems
pretty tight.  It has a hard roof.  The ceiling is low and
covered in life jackets.  There are 13 airplane style
passenger seats that are close together accept for a
narrow walkway that is a bit tight.  
There is a bench in the back that is used to pile the
luggage.  No a/c only windows that manually open.  
The bicycles are tied outside on the back deck against the
railing.
There is no toilet on board.

The boat departed early at 8:19 a.m.  The Sinh Tour
representative on board collected our passports and
departure cards just before arriving at the Vietnamese
border about 1 hour later.  The border area is a couple of
buildings with restroom facilities.  The Sinh Rep handles all
the formalities.  The passengers just sit around in a gazebo
and some Cambodian local vendors walk around selling
pieces of pineapple, peanuts and water.    

After the Vietnamese border, the Sinh Rep returns all our
passports and hands us Cambodia declarations cards and
arrival cards to fill out before the Cambodian border.
The border is just about 2 minutes away by boat.  
The formalities at the Cambodian border are taken care of
by each passenger. There is a table with a Cambodian
official for purchasing visas at about $20.00.
Can only pay with USD.

If you already have your visa you go straight to the
immigration window.  
There are restroom facilities next to the immigration
building.

The entire border crossing takes about 1 hour.  The entire
trip took 4 (approximately) to arrive in Phnom Penh, as
opposed to the slow boat that takes double the time.  
Going through immigration is all a part of the trip and
included in the travel time.  We got our Cambodian visas in
advance in Vientiane, Laos.

The boat docks right in the heart of Phnom Penh, just
across the street from the Riverside Hotel on Sisowath
Quay street.
There is a steep metal ramp at the boat dock to climb up to
the street.
Plenty of tuk-tuk drivers and taxis are around or all hotels
are within walking distance.

The boat trip is relaxing and a unique way to enter a capital
city.

Phnom Penh, is a touristy city with most of its main
attractions and historical buildings are close to the river
such as the Royal Palace, Wats, National Museum and the
Independence Monument.  

The river road has a wide promenade with a lovely view of
the river.  A good variety of elegant restaurants, bakeries
and cafes some with outside seating are across the street
from the river.  There are plenty of hotels, bars, markets,
historical sites, trendy shops with handicrafts, plus several
large, well-stocked supermarkets to keep a deprived
traveler occupied for a period of time.

Some streets are narrow, chaotic and traffic is hectic with
mostly cars, some scooters, tuk-tuks and mini-bikes.  Other
city streets are wide with traffic circles and less traffic.  
Drivers seem a bit apprehensive and unsure of the driver's
etiquette.  Only a few major intersections have traffic lights
and others are in great need traffic lights.

The sidewalks are crowded with vendors and merchandise
from the shops.  There is a lot of poverty in the country.  
There are a high number of children and adults selling and
asking for food and money.

Most goods are quoted in US dollars in shops, restaurants,
hotels, souvenir shops and supermarkets.  The city has
several well-stocked supermarkets that cater to ex-pats
and NGO personnel.  The Paragon and Pencil Supercenter
on P124, behind the Royal Palace, just meters from each
other both carry a selection of Thai, Western and
Cambodian products.  They have prices in US dollars.  
Both are located behind the Royal Palace.  Lucky
supermarket near the market has a food court and also a
well stocked market.

Phnom Penh is a great city to stock up on US dollars if you
are running low.   There are over 20 ATM machines in the
city that dispense US dollars with no surcharge.  The ANZ
Royal Bank has 13 dispensing machine locations,
Cambodian Public Bank, has 5 locations, SBC Bank and
Canadia Bank, 5 locations.  ANZ Royal Bank has a booth
on Sisowath Road just south of Indochine II Hotel.

There is one bike shop on 31 Street 302 that does repairs
and rentals.  Website www.phnompenhbike .com.
For current information on where everything is in Phnom
Penh get a hold of a FREE copy of the ASIALIFE, What's
On Guide to Phnom Penh.  It's a great source of information.

Slept - Indochine Hotel
Location - 251 Sisowath Quay.  Across the river in the
center of the tourist area just steps from the Royal Palace.
Cost - $20.00.  Less expensive rooms have 1 double bed
and no window at about $10.00.
Amenities - Huge window with great river view, large room
with two double beds, en suite bathroom with shower over
toilet.  Hot water, a/c, fridge, fan, TV with several channels
in English.
Breakfast not included.  Great location on the river road in
the center of all the activity.     
Bikes are locked inside the hotel in the back of the lobby
just beneath the stairwell.  Very safe.

Day Trip
The Killing Fields - Bicycle Tour
Entire trip round trip - 15.4 kilometers (9.4 miles)
Easy bike ride on a sealed and flat road.

Take Charles de Gaulle south out of town.  It turns into
Monireth St 217.  
After the bridge it is 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to the fork in
the road at the SOKIMEX gas station.
At the SORIMEX gas station take the left road.  
After 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) you get to the turn off road
toward the Killing Fields.  Go left.  There is no sign.
After the turn off to The Killing Fields the entrance is 500
meters on the left.

The traffic as you pedal out of the city is hectic and busy
until you reach the SORIMEX gas station.  After the gas
station the road is two-lanes with a thin shoulder.  The traffic
is light.  The road is sealed,  
Just before the turn-off toward to Killing Fields the road
becomes rough.  It is sealed but not well maintained, but
fine.


Entrance is $2.00.  Secure parking for bicycles next to the
ticket booth.