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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Siem Reap Bike Routes: Cycling in Siem Reap

Cycling in Siem Reap is great.

Most hotels have bikes to rent (about $2 a day is standard), and to purchase a bike costs starting at about $30.  Combined with the flat terrain and the relatively light, bicycle-conscious traffic, cycling can be a great way to venture into the countryside and not be at the mercy of your tuk-tuk driver.

We've put together a bike routes in and around Siem Reap, Cambodia for most fitness levels--you can do the whole loop or cut it short at anytime and still not have to backtrack.  We've also not included anything inside the Apsara Authority which requires Angkor admissions.  We will share a Temple Bike Route at another time, but just for those of you venturing out be aware it is 10 kilometers from the Old Market to Angkor Wat.  Doing a temple circuit on a bike if for the fit only.

Sometimes a bike is the best
way to get out of town

Siem Reap Bike Trail

This beautiful bike route dodges most of the city traffic and takes your through the heart of Khmer country, through paddy fields and on all paved roads.  You'll be delighted by the countryside scenes of children swimming in ponds or the waves of farmer's from their trucks or fields.  Traffic is very light except the last leg on Highway Six. but it has a wide shoulder for bikes and after the halfway point were it intersects Airport Road there is an empty service lane.  It is perfect for a cool down.

Be sure to check the skies.
In rainy reason, it is best to bring an
umbrella and freezer bag for your
camera, phone, or anything that
can't get wet.
Starting from the Old market, Cross the bridge over the river (heading east).  There is immediately a roundabout--continue going straight, away from the river.  You will stay on this--High School Road--until it intersects a wide paved road and then you will turn right.  On the other side of this intersection, High School Road is only paved for a few meters and becomes a dirt road, so if you come to a dirt road you know you should have made a right a few meters before.

You will continue straight on this stretch for quite a while, and it goes through some lovely, lovely countryside.  You will cross an bridge and then immediately a paved intersection.  For those of you with less endurance, you can make a right here and will arrive back at the Old Market by following this river road--Highway 63.  This is the Quarter Country Route and is 9.7 km long.  That is about 6 miles for you Americans.

Siem Reap Quarter Country Bike Route

View Larger Map

For those of you with more endurance and an adventurous spirit, go straight over the bridge and enjoy more countryside scene.  Any right you make will bring you back to Siem Reap, and this road ends by intersecting Highway 6 (again, turn left to head back towards town), so you can cut the trip in about half if you find yourself too tired.  Otherwise, continue on!

You'll pass two noticeable intersections--both have pavement for a least the first few meters.  Then you will come to a pave three-way intersection in which the road noticeably splits (there is a fourth, unpaved lane here so technically it is a four way intersection).  If you veer left as indicated on the map you will be on the Siem Reap Bypass Road, a paved country road that is a great ride through the country and continues straight until it intersects National Road 6.  From here, turn right and pedal your way back into town. This route is 26.7 km.  That is just under 17 miles.

Siem Reap Full Country Bike Route

Remember if you are planning on cycling:

  • Headgear is always recommended
  • Don't ride after dark outside of town
  • Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from dust thrown up by other traffic--very important in the dry season especially
  • Wear sunscreen--you will burn or have a very apparent farmer's tan
  • Take a bottle of water with you--because this is a countryside ride you may not be able to buy water when you want it
  • Smile at people--it means a lot, and it will make your bike ride much more fun
  • You can find more cycling tips at UK Berkeley's Foundations of Wellness


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