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Quick Report: Stung Treng - Thalaborivat - Tbeng Meanchey - Koh Ker - Siem Reap

by David Shamash

We started at 3 in the afternoon taking the ferry across the Mekong from Stung Treng to Thala (together with a whole load of girls from the Stung Treng training project) to wander around the village of Thalaborivat (well worth the trip if staying in ST – ferry every hour or so and makes a great day out – there is a nunnery who are very welcoming). We had been invited to sleep (on the floor) in a house belonging to the family of one of the girls. They cooked us a great meal.

In the morning (after washing at the pump in the yard watched by a dozen giggling girls) our 2 motodops arrived and we left at about 0645. It was mostly single track – just bikeable but most people (there were not a lot) on foot. Sometimes we went for an hour not seeing a soul – not even a shack. Lots of interesting birds. Took about 9 hours to Tbeng Meanchey (universally known as Preah Vihear) – a great trip but exhausting as the track was either muddy or dusty all the way. Unbalanced once and I and my motodop ended up in the bushes and I bruised a rib. Essentially no direct road part of the way and got lost a bit. Also no food on the way so take what you need. 

Spent the night at TBM (a dump) – visited the silk project there (that’s our special interest) and they most helpfully found us 2 new motodops to carry on to Siem Reap via Koh Ker. That road has all been upgraded and is passable even by taxi. Stopped for an hour at Koh Ker (entry fee $10) then on the “toll” road to Siem Reap – no-one wanted any tolls despite lots of barriers. We probably looked 100% Cambodian by then! That road was all red dust and rather boring – unfortunately for the last 2 hours it poured with rain and that made a great mix with the red dust so we ended up looking as if made up for the circus. Total trip about 7 hours plus the hour at KK.

Anyway, it can be done, but only when dry – the first day would have been impossible a couple of weeks earlier.

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