Tuesday, January 17, 2012



We did not see much of Kampong Thom since the guest house we stayed in was located at the periphery of the town. We did walked out after dinner, looking for Japanese slippers to buy but the shops closed pretty early. Dinner was instant Nasi Beriani, heated by immersing in boiling water. It was wishful thinking on our part to expect the Beriani to taste like the famed Beriani Batu Pahat. But it was the first solid food for the day.

We would recommend this Guest House Ponleu Thmey we stayed in. For US$10 a night, it was good value for money - clean room, air-conditioning, hot water and of-course Wi-Fi, including free internet. One of the counter staff was very happy to have English speaking guests, a way to improve his English.  

Before departure

We had Campbell soup for breakfast, too light a breakfast for cycling activities. We planned to stop along the way for some hot drinks and hopefully a heavier meal. Again, wishful thinking to expect Halal food. Perhaps a decent coffee shop. Again wishful thinking. 

This day's ride would bring us to Kampong Kdei (pronounced "Kedai") and I would not be surprised the meaning is similar to ours. As we cycled northwards towards Siem Reap, I noticed the weather got more chilly. We had to don on our rain jackets to keep warm, at least for the first 20 kms before we generated enough body heat to make wearing the non-gore tex jackets uncomfortable.

When we saw a market by the roadside, we stopped to look for a coffee shop. There was none but we had friendly tourist personnel eager to have a picture taken with us. They were sure proud of their uniforms and why shouldn't they? 

Friendly Tourist Police personnels

A stop at a roadside market

As usual, in the early morning, most activities and the noisiest activities were at the schools we passed by. There were no school buses to ferry the children to school. Out of necessity and financial constraints, bicycles were the major mode of transport.

Bicycles, bicycles and bicycles

We came across a lake, and got a young boy to capture us for a pose together. Since it was still early, there were no visitors yet. Two eating stalls were just about to open for business. This lakeside rest area reminded me of such numerous spots found scattered along the south Thailand coasts on both sides of the Isthmus of Kra. 

The atmosphere was rather serene and quiet. There was a gentle breeze coming from the lake. The breeze and the hammock lying motionless in the empty huts were a perfect combination for a great siesta. If we were only 10kms from our today's destination, we would have readily occupy these hammocks. But we were only at the beginning of today's ride. We moved on.

Lakeside R and R

We found a rather busy coffee shop at a village where there was another market. We decided to have another round of Campbell soup here. But getting the hot water from the owner was a little bit trying until one customer, who probably understood a little bit of English told the owner what we wanted. In the midst of the crowd, there was a man whose screw was a little loose. He was talking loudly, pretending he was on a phone. We were a little concern that he might approach us and asked for our phones. We were obviously not part of the usual crowd. But he stayed away though his eyes momentarily were trained at us.

We progressed on and arrived at STUONG, a comparatively big town and stopped at a decent looking Restaurant. Again we were not expecting to eat what they sell, but we could have a decent place to have our Tom Yam lunch and a rest away from the afternoon sun. We did that and before we left town, we stopped at a market to buy fruits.

Late afternoon, we stopped at a goring pisang stall. Surprisingly, this lady spoke pretty good English. Looking at the size of the fried bananas, one would expect that the bananas were from the "elephant" variety. Not actually. The bananas, split half were first pressed flat, hence the extended size. Tak dapat makan ayam penyet, pisang goring penyet jadi lah!

Goreng Pisang Cambodian style

In a travel blog I read doing my research, I read about an ancient bridge in Kampong Kdei which was a tourist attraction. We arrived Kampong Kdei and headed for this bridge.  There was no other tourists when we arrived, and in the evening light we got a boy to capture us besides the bridge.

The bridge was an ancient engineering wonder as it was constructed from blocks of stones placed layers upon layers forming the bridge.

An extract from Wikipedia has this information about the bridge : Spean Praptos on the road from Angkor to Phnom Chisor[1]Cambodia, used to be the longest corbeled stone-arch bridge in the world, with more than twenty narrow arches spanning 285 ft (87m). The bridge was built in the 12th century during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.[2] It is one of the few Khmer empire era bridges to have survived to the modern day"

Historical Bridge @ Kampong Kdei

A shot borrowed from a website http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Cambodia/West/Siem_Reab/Kampong_Kdei/photo1106679.htm

There was nothing more to explore in Kampong Kdei, a one road town. True to its name, the Kampong is a row of shophouses, and so we went looking for a guest house. We found one and decided not to explore beyond our first find. We settled down for the night here.

US$8 twin-sharing, warm water, air-conditioning and NO wi-fi. Could not have everything.


Distance : 88.6km
Average Speed : 16.1 kph


Al-Manar said...

I was so fed up coming over again and again seeing nothing new. So I stopped coming assuming you 'are lost in action' How pleased I am to see your new posting of a beautiful country which I have never been to. The pictures of old ruins are truly beautiful.

I think it is time to start sorting out the past postings for book. I mean it.

ARZ said...

Salam Pak Cik,

Thank you all the same despite your diminishing confidence. I am so glad you had a "last" try and found something.

Indeed I had no excuse. I even had someone who used to read my blog to call up to find out whether I was still around, if you know what I mean.

I do have several outstanding write-ups, including the China trip which had remained in abeyance.

I truly appreciate your last statement. Thank you for your confidence.