Road trip North-East Cambodia

During the hottest weeks in Cambodia we (me and my girlfriend) decided to leave the crowds and the heat of the cities and go on a Road Trip through the North-East of the country.

We first rented a regular 250 cc motorbike but this one turned out to have a really uncomfortable backseat so we decided to switch to a 125cc automatic scooter (!). Not sure if the vehicle could take it… we just went on the road.
Victory Motor rental based in Phnom Penh would rent us this “Brumpy” at $8,- a day.

Before we left I did some research on the internet but a lot turned out to be outdated. Cambodia is changing fast these days. Some use-full information you probably want before you leave:
Forget Lonely Planet for this trip, enter the 21 century: is the best place to get the info you’ll want and need.
And make sure to install the free map app: MapFactor Navigator. It’s a use-full help: Literally all the roads are on there and accessible without internet connection + GPS navigaton!

Here a short summary of our trip:

Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham
Around 2,5 hours: Amazing road. 4 lanes, freshly paved. Some very short parts where there is still some work done but nothing more then paining lines etc. No gravel, all tarmac so: Full Throttle! 🙂 Verdict: 8
(Nice small town. If you have your own wheels stay at 7Makara Hotel. $13,- with a nice swimming pool to wash of the dust)

Kampong Cham – Kratie
Around 3 hours: Good road. Take the short route and don’t follow the buses all the way past Snuol. Verdict: 7
(Beautiful sleepy village. Just on the road to Stung Treng you’ll find friendly River Dolphin Hotel. Cheap and again a pool to wash of the dust).

Kratie – Stung Treng
Around 3 hours: probably the worst part of the whole trip. No put holes but gravel, dust and really rough tarmac. Easy by dirt-bike, not so much by scooter. But still doable at slow speed (NOT IN RAIN!!) Verdict: 6

Stung Treng – Banlung
Around 2 hours: Easy and amazing! Road in mint condition. Flat, straight and deserted, with nice views. Verdict: 8 (make sure to build in a rest day here and be lazy a the beautiful lake. Read, swim, relax here).

Banlung – Sen Monorom
Around 4 hours. Previous “Death Highway”. No more death here but quite some dust. Large parst are tarmac, some parts are gravel. But no putt holes! Verdict: 7
(Nicely topped on a hill try to spend just a few dollars more and stay at Nature Logde. Worth every (extra) dollar!)

Sen Monorom – Kompong Cham
Around 5 hours. The first part is AMAZING. This is why you should do this trip. Top Gear Vietnam eat your heart out! Slowly but steadily descending from the mountain, with huge untouched forest as far as you can see. No hard, sharp turns but everything smooth and easy. After Snuol it gets a little dull and boring compared with the first part. Vedrict: 9

The 125cc worked as a charm! No problems, quite a big mileage and a comfortable ride. And a maximum of 65km/h is defiantly enough to keep the pace AND enjoy the scenery.