A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Vietnamexpress

Road to Battambang

First long ride on new motorcycle..

Morning can not come soon enough, my excitement is hard to contain with anticipation of getting on my new motorcycle for first long ride.. 7am alarms sounds along with busy street below room.. Sounds of the hustle of the big city Phnom Penh and all it brings with early mornings.. I make short work of packing and getting downstairs for a quick breakfast and checkout.. At second sight I really like the look of this bike, has the horse power but is also a little lower to the ground than the traditional 250cc dirt bike. All loaded and go pro is mounted on helmet, I say my goodbyes and I am off.. Needless to say I am a little nervous about ride and how bike will hold up and chance of getting lost.. But I guess that's what an adventure is supposed to be like? Start off through the city where traffic is quite busy, a true test of skills early in the morning (loved it) after half hour I am out off city bike is riding great, road conditions change from dirt to gravel to pavement again and again. Total kilometres from Phnom Penh is 293.8 km estimated time 2 hrs 40 mins, I do it in 2 hrs and 15 mins, when road allowed it I would open bike up ( top speed 115km ) really a nice ride and always waves from locals as I pass through small towns along way..

Posted by Vietnamexpress 18:30 Comments (0)

Phnom Phen

Shopping for motorcycle..

Morning of Feb 2nd after 8 amazing days at Colunms hotel in Kampot Cambodia with Jim and my new friends Howard and Elizabeth from Oxford and the Colunms manager/owner Thavy I say goodbye for now.. Bus arrives at 8:30 am for Jim and myself and we are off to Phnom Penh, the bus ride normal takes around 3 hours to get to bus station in Phnom Penh but not today... We are 51/2 kilometres from there when driver decides to pull over for fuel which takes 20 mins, now back on road only to sit in traffic for another hour and a half do to construction ( that's right 1 /12 hrs for 5 kilometres) maybe the bus driver knew about construction and filled up for that... Arrive at bus station @ 1:30 in the afternoon and are greeted by Jims TukTuk driver Mr. Chae who takes us to are hotel the Silver River, after shower and a few hours of rest we hit the town for some drinks and dinner. A local place just up the street from hotel is where we end up for Kalmar food and wine, after dinner we decide to check out some local watering holes, one in perticular is the "Walk about" this place is filled with local "working girls".. After a couple of beers we are joined by three of these girls looking for company, there English is not the greatest so telling them that we are not interested they ask for drinks which we buy.. Don't want to be rude..lol after numerous beers/drinks we decide it is time to call it a night...

Day two we are off to Chris's place in Phnom Penh (the owner of Colunms hotel) to look at 125cc motorcycle,after ariiving and taking bike for ride I find that the bike needs some service and after renting 250cc motorcycle in Kampot this bike is to small.. The gentlemen showing us the bike says he knows of place where they have 250cc motorcycle for sale.. We exchange numbers and we are of to city to look for a Go Pro camera for my helmet, after a short sheacrh will locate camera shop with owner that is very knowledgeable and has good english. Twenty minutes later we are off with my new Go Pro 4 black with extra battery and 32 g memory card and mount.. Good price compared to Canada, saved around a hundred dollars I think..shorty after leaving shop we are contacted by gentle with motorcycle and we are off to take a look, end up taking two Honda 250 cc out for a test ride and decide on the Honda Ax-1 250 and after short negotiation we settle on price and now we are off to get photos for ownership and licensing. With a few hours to kill until documents are ready so we drop Jim back at hotel and I am off to Russian market for some shopping and site seeing.. The Russian market is quite large and a little confusing, but I make my way back after exploring for an hour or so.. Back with Mr Chae and off to licensing place.. Thanks goodness for Mr.Chae, would not been able to do everything in one day ( licence photo and registration with plates) all in the course of 5 hrs... Ride bike back to hotel in rush hour with Mr. Chae on back giving me directions as we go.. What a rush driving in rush hour here ( not for the novice driver).. Back to hotel just in time to shower and meet the gang from Kampot for reunion tour ford inner at the Titanic restaurant ( nothing to do with actual movie or ship).. After a great dinner and company we say are good nights until next year hopefully..

Stay tuned, off to Battambang tomorrow on new motorcycle..

Posted by Vietnamexpress 21:22 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Kampot Cambodia

Bokor Mountain

Day seven in Kampot, after 5 days exploring with Jim decided to go it alone today.. Destination Bokor Mountain about 15 km from downtown Kampot (home base) the Columns.. After reaching the gates of Bokor Mountain and paying $2000 Reil ( $4:40 US ) I am off headed up the mountain. This road provides an excellent ride up the mountain with lots of tight turns and a chance to open the 250cc up a little, it reminds me a little of some of the roads traveled during my motorcycle tour of Vietnam with less traffic and no buses traveling two a breast trying to get to the next stop before the other.. After traveling twenty kilometres up the mountain I reach the giant Buda, really quite impressive ( see pictures ) with amazing views of country side. A brief stop to take in the views and take some pictures and I am off back down mountain only to find out back at hotel that there is another 7 kilometres I could have gone to take in some waterfall views and a casino where they serve lunch from a small restaurant with great views... Looks like I will head back up tomorrow now that I am starting to feel more comfortable with the area and road traffic.. Until then!

Posted by Vietnamexpress 21:25 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

Kampot Adventures

A sleepy little town

Second day after early breakfast at the Columns hotel my motorcycle is delivered that I will ride for the next 5 to 7 days.. Honda X-R 250.. Not in bad shape, and it is nice to have some more horsepower than the 125 cc. Anytime I can get the front tire off the ground it's a good days ride! First stop is for petro, three US dollars to fill her up and that last about 300 km if I'm not riding hard. We drive around through small villages on what appears to red clay roads ( reminds me of coffee fields in Vietnam) then into large open areas where what looks like dry rice fields but are salt fields where salt is brought from China sea and spread out over field and soaked with water than dried and collected and stored in salt barns until ready to be sold. Are days ride ends around midday with a cold drink followed by a cool shower to wash away the dust from road. Tonight is a special occasion, it' s the hotel managers birthday and I have been invited to join in on the celebrations at the Kep sailing club. We are joined by Thavy's mother and a very nice couple from Oxford Howard and Elizabeth along with myself and Jim. Drinks followed by some great conversation and laughter seem to go hand in hand with this group.. Drinker is served followed by more drinks and laughter as I watch a young brother and sister trying to play a game of pool at the club, I offer some pointers that are received well.. After dinner the birthday girl wants to try her hand at pool for the first time, put a rake in her hand and see is deadly.. Lol..

The following days are filled by more great rides along the country side and to Kep market along with coconut mountain and then off to Tek Chhou for some RR on covered hamicks with great river views. Each day is followed by great dinner at local restaurants that include Wunder bar and Riki tiki Tay..

This is a place that I now hold close to my heart and will return for years to come...

Posted by Vietnamexpress 00:27 Comments (0)

Cambodia

HCMC to Kampot

My travels continue, up early this morning off to bus station to catch bus to Kampot to meet up with Jim Donnelly for some adventures in Cambodia. After boarding bus I am told that bus does not go to Kampot but to Phoem Penh where I will have change buses to Kampot... I guess this was lost in translations when I booked the ticket. Well it is what it is and off we go.. Bus ride is about 6 hrs to Phoem Penh with a couple of stops that include picking up some supplies ( not really sure what they were) are luggage is stored at back off bus well "supplies" are stored in luggage compartment. Are second stop is at Cambodia boarder where passports are handed to employee of bus company with $40 US dollars to secure travel visa for one month in Cambodia. The process takes about twenty minutes then we have to go through security and back on the bus.. Pretty simple process and not very time consuming at all, back on the bus and off again.. Three hours in we stop for lunch at small restaurant on the side of road, I realize I don't have any Cambodia currency so bus employee calls local next thing I know I am on back off scooter headed up the road to ATM. This fifteen minute trip cost one US dollar.. Lunch did not leave a good first impression for Cambodia food but this was a verified truck stop at best.. Finally Phoem Penh, after getting my luggage and making my way into bus station I am told they do not have any buses to Kampot WTF! A local Tuk Tuk driver overhears my conversation and replies he know were I can catch a bus to Kampot.. So we load up and head down towards US ambassey were I am told by bus company I have missed the last bus for the day to Kampot but for fifty US dollars I can take a cab to Kampot.. At this point it could have been 500 US dollars and I would have said yes... Ten minutes later a black Ford Explorer shows up and we are off to Kampot which took 3 hours off some a little scary driving by taxi driver.. 8 pm arrive at the Columns hotel where I am greeted by very nice staff of hotel who ask if I am Jim's friend and he is at local restaurant waiting for me.. After checking in and freshening up I am taking on back of scooter by hotel employee to Vinos restaurant where Jim and Thavy ( hotel manager) and a very nice couple from Oxford Howard and Elizabeth are dinning. Wine is poured food is served and laughter and good conversation takes us late into the night... Very nice ending to a long travel day!

Goodnight.

Posted by Vietnamexpress 01:05 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Night on the town in Saigon

Hard Rock Cafe/ Mekong Delta

Looks like it's eighties rock night at the Hard Rock Cafe... Crowd is really into it.. To funny.. After spending the day in the backpackers district taking on the sites and some great street food (Vietamamize sandwich) my all time fav.. It's time for some drnks and live music, it amazes me the number of old gentleman with young escort dates that you see in and around the city. Hey too each is own! Met a nice couple from the Ukraine at HRC and enjoyed some drinks together then joined them in backpacker area of district one for even more drinks.. We met up with there friends and drank with a couple of Canadians from BC..not feeling so well today for trip up Mekong Delta..

Mekong Delta Tour:
Early morning pick up at hotel and off to pier to meet fellow travelers and off we go on speed boat tour... First stop half hour up Delta at local farmers house (Mr. Rat),born the year of the rat.. Very interesting gentlemen who raises chickens and Python snakes, we were introduced to the first snake that was one year old and almost 2 metres long @ 40 kilos.. You could still see morning breakfast had not been fully digested yet, then time for the big mama.. 4 1/2 metres long and 160 kilos.. Very big, then can now longer lift this snakes out off cage for show, probablytio a good thing would swallow Mr.Rat whole if it was hunger!
Back on the boat, off to second stop up river at local market and church. Along the way plenty of rice fields and sugar cane where we watched workers who come from Camboia pick and carry sugar cane on shoulders from the fields to boat for market. Prior to loading they step on scale for wait of each bundle to be recorded for payment at end of day.. Very hard work! Arrived at market late morning and off boat to walk around streets where you saw everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to raw meat ( pork and beef) being cut up for sale.. Very strong smells coming from this area (. Some good some not so good). Arrive at beautiful church at end of street, where we are greeted by some type of monk who tells are guide that service is about to begin and we only have a few minutes to walk through for pictures and a some information about this church but not before we remove are hats and shoes to show respect to church.
Back on the boat for another hour to to local framers house for lunch, as we arrive we are greeted by farmer Mr. Six the youngest of six in his family. Very interesting how one gets there name on the Mekong Delta, we are seated outside under bamboo tiki style huts where the first course is clams in a ginger broth.. Very good! Then we sample the rice wine and toast our host Mr. Six, very strong that leaves a burning feeling in your throat. Course number two is steamed rice and bbq chicken with stir fired pork and garlic beans.. We are then treat to a special treat deep fried fish served whole between bamboo skewers that not looked good but tasted great.. We thank are host at back on the boat downt the Mekong Delta to HCMC where bus awaits use for trip back to hotel..

All in all very good trip!

Posted by Vietnamexpress 23:43 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

HCMC

Food tour

After hotel GM Yega recommended and booked food tour (Siagon after dark) for me I was picked up by Kei (my driver for the night) @ 5:45pm last night and taken to the Vespa Boom Club in district one. At the club I meet fellow travelers in my group, five of us in are group but there was a total of 45 people taking the tour that night. We shared stories of past and future travel over a couple of beers waiting for tour to start. First stop 20 mins away through the busy streets of HCMC to district 4 for fresh seafood ( salted crab, mussels in a very good ginger broth and clams and fried frog legs) oh yah more Siagon beer... On the road again off to district 3, this in a back alley that only locals would know about where we were served frog legs again ( love them) seafood pancakes with shrimp and bean sprouts and pork and basil inside, very good and we made are own lettuce wraps with pork bean sprout dipped in a peanut sauce and more Siagon beer! On the road again to district 1 to a small back alley place where you walked through a maze of rooms to go up a very narrow stair case to arrive at a tiny room that held maybe 60 people. Here we were served ice cream and tea of coffee or beer or wine ( I went with the coconut ice cream) while locals sang while being accompanied by a panino and violin.. Just a short stop, good call guide!
Our last stop they saved the best for last, a hidden away ( everything was really.. Lol) rock bar with live music, place was very crowded after finding a place to stand you had your choose of cocktails or beer... Make it a rum and Coke please.. First number by the band was back in black AC/DC, crowd loved it the off to the Eagles Stones and even a little Neil Diamond.. Second act was a lady singer with great pipes.. Lol played a lot of current songs, really good. Well back to the hotel and that's the Saogon After Dark Tour... Two thumbs up!

I say my goodbyes to the Villa Song Siagon today, headed to district one to the Aligon Central Hotel & Spa for the next 6 days for some shopping and site seeing and maybe a scooter rental before heading to Camboia..

Posted by Vietnamexpress 18:06 Comments (0)

HCMC

First night @ Villa Song Saigon

After 14 nights and 15 days my motorcycle tour is over... Words nor pictures can discribe the sites and good times that I shared with are guide Johnny and my to fellow Canadians from Calgary Wayne and Al who joined my tour. These memories I will hold on tight to and share with friends and family with back home, from the great laugh of are guide Johnny to Al's great on liners or Wayne's happy tour jokes.. Now I find myself at Villa Song Saigon just outside district 1 in HCMC with views of the river and hotel pool from my balconies for some R and R for a couple of days... Last night i was invited to the annual staff party at hotel, Vietnamese BBQ with wine and beer and nice glass of scotch from the hotel GM Yega who seems very nice. After talking with him and his wife about my travels such far he has recomended a food tour on the back of scooters through the streets of HCMC tonight... Until then.

Posted by Vietnamexpress 16:08 Comments (0)

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