This morning is an early start to begin today's adventures by private transfer (approx. 30 minutes) to our cycling start point. We hop on the bikes for a short ride, crossing the river by local ferry boat, and then ride through the villages on an island in the Mekong River. The island is famous for silk weaving, agriculture and aquaculture. Stop to see locals at work in the village and enjoy cycling on quiet roads through orchards and rice paddies (depends on season). On your return, we take a scenic route along the Mekong River and have a great opportunity for local interaction as we cycle past many fishing villages and then take a ferry across the river to our finish point and transfer back to Phnom Penh.
In the afternoon we take a tour by private vehicle to Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek to learn the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. The former school of Tuol Sleng served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it's estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Choeung Ek Memorial is home to stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. Stay: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel or similar.
After breakfast, we bid farewell to Phnom Penh and transfer to Prev Phnov bridge, where the bikes will be ready for us to start our ride towards Udong Mountain. Upon arrival, there will be the opportunity to visit the Udong Mountain site (by foot) to admire the views of the surrounding region. We then continue our cycle; stopping at Kampong Luong silver smith village, riding along the Tonle sap river to Longvek before stopping for lunch and then our transfer to Kampong Chhnang. We pass through some lovely countryside today and as we go, the villages become more remote and simpler. We spend some of the ride on dirt roads today.
You will finish today's ride with a transfer of approximately 1 hour to our hotel. Depending on the journey time we may be able to head out on an optional afternoon walk to explore the city of Kampong Chhnang. The town of Kampong Chhnang is set on the Tonle Sap River and has a busy port and market area. Set back from the port is a quieter area with a pretty park and former colonial buildings. In many towns you will see carts loaded with terracotta pottery, (charcoal burners, pots and other items), on their long journey from their home village at Kompong Chhnang (clay pot port) to take their goods door to door. Families might be on the road for a month or more until they have sold all the items and can make their way home. Stay: Sovannaphum Hotel or similar.
On our last ride, we cycle outside the main Angkor complex to the outlying temple of Banteay Srei, 35km from Siem Reap town. Our route takes us past paddy fields, and through pretty villages. Banteay Srei was built in the 10th Century and contains some of the finest examples of Khmer sculpture. Although much smaller than the later temples, here all of the buildings are covered in exquisite carvings. In the afternoon we transfer by vehicle back to Siem Reap and can stop and visit a few of the less visited Angkor temples on the way. Siem Reap town is pleasant to wander around; the market has plenty of interest and excellent shopping if you wish to visit it again and there is a vibrant nightlife scene.
This afternoon there may also be time to visit the Tonle Sap Lake, which is a branch of the Mekong River. This optional trip includes a boat ride to see the floating fishing villages. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner together at a special local restaurant overlooking the river where there is a passion to restore Cambodian cuisine to its former glory and put Cambodia back on the map as a culinary destination. Stay: Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar.