I was traveling with a few friends across Southeast Asia during the wet season and we were getting a bit sick of the rains putting a downer on everything we tried to do and see.
That's when we realized we were going about this all wrong...we had to find something fun to do even in torrential downpours.
Our solution: dirt biking!
We contacted a dirt biking company -- Ride Expeditions -- in Cambodia and discussed doing a tour with them around the entire country.
Initially, they advised against it.
They said there are some regions in the country where the rains flood vast areas and some of the trails will be impossible.
But when they realized we were after a proper adventure and were keen to tackle anything, they were willing to help us.
They planned a 14 day route for us around the entire country. We would start in the capital -- Phnom Penh -- and finish in the coastal town of Sihanoukville.
When we awoke on the first day, the rain was pi**ing down. Not a great start, I have to say.
On the second day, we ventured onto the trails. That's where the chaos started.
The guide had to call in wooden boats to get us across the first river.
At the end the day, camped in a small village in the jungle.
The next day, we had to float the bikes across the next fast flowing river on a huge truck-tire inner tube we'd brought with us. That was crazy.
After two nights of camping in the jungle, we reached a nice town where we stayed in a decent hotel with hot showers. This gave us a much welcome break.
One of the riders was starting to show signs of trench foot. Another had an infected cut. Thankfully we had a medic with us.
And the rest of us were just exhausted.
We may have underestimated the challenge slightly. But we were getting the adventure we wanted and were making the most of the rains.
We rested for two days. We'd only scheduled one day, but decided to extend it to give ourselves a bit more time to recover from our four days of rugged travel.
When we hit the dirt again, we rode on easier roads for a few days. The trails we'd wanted to take were completely flooded and impassable.
But we enjoyed some really nice riding.
We visited beautiful temples and stayed in really cool places. And the weather remained very pleasant -- which was most welcome.
We stopped for another day in Siem Reap. This is a very cool city.
Angkor Wat is a city of ancient temples, which are just on the outskirts of the town and well worth a visit. The town itself is very nice -- loads of decent bars and restaurants.
After visiting Siem Rap, we were all set to cross the Cardamom Mountains. On this part of the trip we faced an incredible amount of mud and more high rivers.
One bike got washed partially down river. We saved it by tying a rope to the handlebars and pulling it to safety.
We experienced another string of exhausting days. But they gave us some of the best riding I've ever come across.
We felt properly knackered when we reached Sihanoukville, but our spirits were higher than ever.
We'd all made it back unscathed and had the best two weeks of all our traveling
Riding a motorbike is by far the best way to see a country. Most of our group had been traveling for almost a year. But each of us felt we'd experienced more than all of that during these past two weeks.
The culture and people in the Cambodian countryside are incredible. Staying in small villages in the middle of the jungle and eating and drinking with the villagers proved to be an amazing experience.
This trip has me completely sold on adventure motorcycling. That's one of the reasons why I've found myself on this website.
For anyone interested in an adventurous motorbike ride, the company we rode with is called Ride Expeditions. You can find them on the Internet at RideExpeditions.com.
A young English couple owns the company. They're now based in Siem Reap. They were based in Sihanoukville when we rode with them.
If you fancy a real adventure on a dirt bike, I would highly recommend Ride Expeditions.
They haven't been around as long as some of the other motorcycle adventure touring companies. Regardless, they're very professional and certainly seem to have everything covered.
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