General Notes for Cycling in Cambodia
Exchange rate 4,000 riel = $1.00
US Dollars are used interchangeably with the riel.
Goods and services are quoted and charged in
There are no riel coins.
ATM's dispense US dollars instead of riel. No
Tip! If you are running low on your US dollar
stash, withdraw from an ATM. It is the cheapest
way to get a hold of dollars.
Old US dollar bills are accepted in Cambodia.
Other countries and in embassies, they do not
accept US dollar bills unless the bill is the new
version and crispy.
Roads in Cambodia that we pedaled down were
all sealed. Some parts of a ride may include
patch spots, pot-holes, melted asphalt, packed
gravel but for the most part the roads are sealed.
(Variations in the road are included in each days
Shoulders exist and the condition varies.
Variations are noted in each days riding notes
Traffic on the roads varies from light to moderate
to hectic. (The variation is noted on the trip notes
for a particular ride.)
On the national hwys the drivers tend to pass
more aggressively and they would head right for
us and pop us off the road into the gravel.
When the shoulder is non-existent or in poor
riding condition it is acceptable to use the road.
Drivers are accustomed to dodging scooters,
cattle carts and local cyclists.
Tip! - We've noticed that Cambodian drivers,
cyclists and motorbikes don't really have a rhythm
in there driving style. In city traffic they are
reluctant, hesitant drivers. Their hesitancy in
making a move forward, and their start and stop
jerking motions make for a chaotic and
challenging ride. We found that Cambodian
drivers lack the flow of movement we found in
other Southeast Asian countries.
Best time to cycle - The cool season from
December - March. Which is really not very cool
but it is better than the hot, humid, muggy, rainy
summer season that begins in April.
Maps and Resources - We used the NELLES
Map Edition 2006. It covers Cambodia, Vietnam
and Loa. It also includes parts of Thailand where
the country hugs the border.
The dimensions are 1:1,500,000. The roads are
well marked and the kilometers accurate.
City maps for the major cities are also included
on the map such as Hanoi and Saigon, Vietnam,
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia and
Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Laos.
For guidebooks we used Lonely Planet
Cambodia and FootPrint Cambodia. The Lonely
Planet was a much better choice for information.
Why? Because is has more accommodations, it
lists more obscure cities/towns and overall
general information seemed more to our liking.
But it could just be taste.
For current information on Cambodia get a hold
of the FREE visitor's guides/booklets on a stand
at the nicer hotels and restaurants. The guides
are kept current and made for each major city,
such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and
Sihanoukville. The guides have excelletn
information about the roads, border crossings,
city highlights, accommodations, places to eat for
the entire country.
The best of the guides is the ASIALIFE, What's
On Guide to Phnom Penh.
Mini-vans transports passengers and cargo piled
on the roof of their vehicles.
Women balance things on their heads, such as
Many street kids in major cities selling and
begging for food or money.
Men wear checkered sarongs outside the major
Women wear a checked cloth around their heads
Psar markets are in all major cities and towns.
The hours are short. Early morning there is a lot
of activity. Slows down around the mid-day from
1-4 p.m. and picks up again until sundown.
Drinking water, beverages, food and snacks are
available on every route listed in Cambodia.
Stomach problems in Cambodia - None.
Washed all vegetables and fruit. Cooked our
own food for the most part and avoided street
Pumped our own water from the guesthouses
when not cycling. Bought bottled water (the
cheapest) when cycling from the road side