Countryside Motorbike Tour In Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia is a country rich with culture and historic terrain begging for explorers to leave the tourist centers and venture out into the countryside. Aside from visiting the famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, we knew we wanted to go off the beaten path to see what life is like for most Cambodians in the countryside. With Tinggly, a company that facilitates giving the gift of travel, we took a motorbike tour through remote neighborhoods down dirt roads and got to meet the locals.
If you’ve ever been stuck with a traveler on your gift list with no idea what to give them, Tinggly is the answer. Experiences are said to bring much more happiness than things, and what better present for someone who carries all their belongings along with them in a suitcase. Basically, Tinggly offers a global collection of unique cultural experiences and adventure activities. You can purchase a voucher that the recipient can then redeem for one of more than 100 experiences. There is no rush for the recipient as they have two years to redeem their experience. No more t-shirts in the wrong size or boring keychains; you can now give someone the choice between rafting below Victoria Falls or taking a cooking class in Rio de Janeiro.
Tinggly gave us the gift of the experience of a Motorbike tour through the Cambodian countryside. Unlike typical ATV or off road tours, this was a private trip so we didn’t have to worry about anyone being too slow or getting too tired and holding the group back. Since there were just three of us, we could pass through neighborhoods without disturbing everyday activities. It is illegal to personally rent a motorbike without a Cambodian driver’s license (although you will see some tourists who find a way around that), so this guided tour is a perfect way to see the country by bike legally.
We were picked up on the day of our tour by the owner and our guide for the day, on two medium sized Honda Dream motorbikes. We chatted about what they had planned for us and then we drove off to the main office to go over our route. Eric had plenty of prior experience from our time renting a motorbike in Chiang Mai, but Evanne had only tried a few times and was a little nervous. We practiced for just a few minutes and the light, semi-automatic bikes were easy to handle and incredibly simple to drive. After that boost of confidence, we were off!
We started on a quiet highway and turned onto a dirt road that took us through rustic villages. We stopped at a few places to see women weaving bamboo baskets and to try some palm juice hanging from a tree in an old 2 liter Coke bottle. Our English-speaking Cambodian guide was happy to explain the way of life and traditions to us as we passed a wedding, men fishing in ponds, water buffalo and groups of children riding bikes home from school.
One of our favorite stops was the Chau Srei Vibol temple where we were the only people picking our way through the ruins. Parts of the temple still stands and we walked through cool stone hallways and climbed over giant piles of stone rubble. The temple, set away from any main road and far from any tourist centers, is quiet, surrounded by trees and a welcome contrast to the temples of the Angkor Historic Park crawling with tourists taking selfies in heels.
While there was no need to be worried about the difficulty of the day, we did have one small spill. Evanne slowed down to avoid a large rock on a raised dirt road, but ended up hitting it anyway and fell in what would have been a pretty amusing cartoonish slow-motion fall if anyone had seen. Sadly she was the last in line and had to enjoy the sudden extreme offroading alone. Luckily she walked away with nothing more than a scraped knee and a bruised shin. Moral of the story: focus on the road ahead like you do when driving a car. Looking down at an obstacle will only increase the likelihood of impact!
The tour lasted all day with stops for lunch and a nice nap in hammocks by a stream. There was a good mix of riding, stopping to see sights and meet locals, and relaxing.
We had a great time on our experience in Cambodia and would love to give the same to someone as a gift. There are so many amazing activities to choose from on Tinggly, you are sure to find an adventure or activity fit for any traveler. And Eric’s birthday is October 25… just saying.