Somewhere in Asia travel blog

Tis the season to be jolly....

A cushy ride

A tree tunnel

Sre Noi

Sre Noi lunch stop - giving our bikes a break

Shy but curious


Distance: 135.2km

For almost a decade, Pol Pot and his posse called Anlong Veng home. Today, it attracts few visitors as it's somewhat out of the way, and not on the way to something more interesting - that is unless you are a Khmer Rouge history buff. Our view of the town itself was somewhat obscured by the timely veil of darkness that greeted us on arrival. Like many other towns in Cambodia, the dusty streets were scantly lit. The odd fluorescent bulb gave us a glimpse of some random food stalls, pigs rummaging through garbage on the street, and silhouettes of locals reclining back on their scooters while observing the two, newest arrivals in town. With some difficulty we managed to get directions towards one of the two guesthouses in town. A man wearing nothing but a towel outside of the first one greeted us. He was rather pushy and insisted that we spend the night. We insisted on looking around some more. It wasn't until we found ourselves under the bright fluorescent lights of our room that we discovered we were literally covered with orange dirt/dust. We were both sporting Frida Khalo uni-brows, and everything from our panniers to our bikes was orange. After some cold showers, we realized there was no dinner to be had as all restaurants closed early.

So, how about getting there? Well, we started heading out of Siem Reap early in the morning. We passed countless kids riding their bikes to school, and folks on their way to work. While riding through Angkor Park we watched food stalls being set up, and food markets coming back to life. Many people were ferrying massive loads of firewood, coconuts and bananas on their single-speeds. Guards outside some of the temples were already settling into their daily 'sleeping on the job' routine. It was still a little too early for tourists, and too early for breakfast. We stopped for some eats at the junction towards the Banteay Sray Temple. We got rice, pork, sweet coffee and some very loud soap opera for entertainment. Everyone was fixated on the TV screen, barely noticing our presence. We passed the Phnom Kulen National Park HQs on the way, stopping to inquire about distances, but got very little in terms of useful information. The five 'park rangers' we encountered were busy playing cards, and displayed little knowledge and even less interest in the park itself. Across the way, we got a view of some massive sandstone(?) boulders, offering possibilities for some 'explosive' landings. We made steady progress before stopping for some lunch in Sre Noi. It is the quintessential Cambodian town, reminiscent of the Wild West. There was dust, garbage, wind and not much happening when we arrived. We found the only place to eat in town, and had some lunch while observing the eerie scene outside. With another 70km of dusty road between Anlong Veng and us we didn't overstay our welcome. When we entered what looked like a forest reserve, evident by diverse species of large trees on either side of the road we were accompanied by 5 school children riding 3 bikes. They stayed with us for a good half hour before one by one they turned off the road into their respective homes. It was the nicest riding of the day.

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