Image © R. / Creative Commons
The roads leading from Siem Reap to the nearby temples and towns seem tailor-made for bike journeys. Level and mostly shaded by trees, these numerous trails lead you off the tourist-beaten path and into the heart of the real Cambodia: the rice fields, villages, and monasteries where the Khmer people live, work and play. You might even find a temple or two found in no tourist guidebook!
From the town centre, the main temple ruins – Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm – can be easily reached by bike, as are other smaller temples within park limits. On a bike, you have greater range, which you can use to avoid the crush and plan your own sightseeing tour of the Angkor temples.
Further from Siem Reap, you can pedal 12 kilometres to the village of Chong Khneas on the edge of the famous Tonle Sap lake, the country’s largest inland body of water. The route to the lake is scenic, if a bit rough – however, you can find a number of off-the-beaten-path temples along the way, including Wat Althea and the structures of Phnom Krom.
You don’t have to bring your own bike to Siem Reap to take on the adventures listed above – most hotels and hostels in Siem Reap provide bicycles for their guests’ use. Downtown, you’ll find a good number of bike rental shops, including some that rent hardy mountain bikes that are better suited to the rough trails away from town.
Elsewhere on the web: The Cambodia Tourism official site provides a guide to Siem Reap.