Somewhere in Asia travel blog

Downtown Choam Ksant in the morning

Downtown Choam Ksant in the morning

Local transport

Three little pigs rummaging through garbage

Make way, cows!

Transporting something long

Communal construction site


Locals on the move

Village somewhere in Kulen district

Distance: 76.3 km

Choam Ksant looked better in the morning. It was very cool and windy outside. Since we barely unpacked the night before, it took us no time at all to be on our way. We headed towards what looked like the town centre, although if you'd blink while moving through it you'd miss it for sure. We sat down for some breakfast at a restaurant full of military folks. They were all having their breakfast too. We quickly learned that the general was going to visit Choam Ksant, and all available rooms in town were booked for the occasion. The coffee was good and that is all that mattered to us at the time.

While having our breakfast we were invited to stay at a local's place for the night. He also studied our map and concluded that it is a mere 56km to Tbeng Meanchey. It didn't take much to talk us out of heading towards Mlu Prey, our original, pre-planned destination, as there was nothing to confirm the existence of a road leading to it.

With thoughts of an easy-breezy day ahead, we proceeded to leave town. Destination: Tbeng Meanchey. We passed a village not too far from town where a large group of locals was working on a house. It was neat to see the entire community pitch in to help one other. As soon as we stopped to watch we were surrounded. Men surrounded Myles, and I stood amidst mostly women and children. They were very curious about our bikes, and wondered where in the world we came from.

From that point on it was nothing but a straight, flat, dirt road with logged forests on either side. The most repetitive scenery we've seen so far on this trip. It was difficult to tell how far we've come as there wasn't a single distinguishing landmark in sight for most of the day, and absolutely no road signs. The view changed once in a while, as a thick cloud of dust from a passing vehicle obscured it. There was nowhere to stop for food. In fact there was no human habitation in sight, consistent with this being one of the most heavily mined areas in all of Cambodia (and, that is saying a lot).

We continued this way until finally there were signs of a small village. We would eat at last. No, wait just because there was a village doesn't mean we would find food. On we went. The next village on the way indeed had a 'restaurant'. As we sat down they pointed to a pot full of a meaty dish of some sort. It was served cold, but we didn't mind. There were pieces of internal organs we couldn't identify, but luckily there was a dog under the table that was more than happy to discreetly relieve us of the more questionable chunks. The broth had some vegetables in it, and we had rice, that was all we could ask for. Than out of nowhere we were invited to stay in the village for the night. We both questioned the offer at first, but it didn't take us long to decide to go with it. We looked at the dirt road, and the light of the setting sun, not knowing how far we had to go. We were to stay in the house of a family with 3 young children. They immediately made room for us on the floor, laying out mats and a few small pillows. We had some really cold showers outside by the well, while everyone was watching and laughing at our miserable technique. Later we set up our mosquito net, and shared a dinner of rice and meat with the family. The conversation was limited, as we didn't speak Khmer and they didn't speak English. The man who invited us to stay spoke some English. He was not from the village, but was visiting from another town. The oldest boy in the house was eager to learn English. He asked us to write out the English alphabet in his notebook, and later proceeded to copy some conversational English from the back of our LP guidebook. One small light bulb lighted the place. We were both in bed shortly thereafter. I wore my northern-lite, a rain jacket, a toque, and gloves to bed and still felt cold. We didn't expect that, and half-wished we didn't leave our sleeping bag back in Bangkok. But, we had a roof over our heads and a bed beneath us.

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