Cambodia’s Best Motorbike Routes | Your Complete Guide
Cambodia has some fantastic scenery, and motorbiking has become significant in the last few years. I met a Swedish guy in Phnom Penh near Central market in an old Cambodian cafe, and he’s traveled all over Cambodia by motorbike, and the pictures looked surreal. Since then, I’ve always said I want to travel this country someday correctly by motorbike, and the routes I’m about to show you will too.
We’ve all rented a moped in the past and traveled around Koh Phangan or Koh Samui. But have you rented a big motorbike and gone on long distances, which is a big difference? If you’re planning on renting a bike, you need to be comfortable riding with a few years of experience. A lot of the terrain isn’t level, and dust is flying everywhere, so you need to be prepared. If you feel you lack some experience, go with a travel company that will cover your insurance and guides you all the way.
Keep reading to find out the best routes in Cambodia and the best way to travel in this rugged country.
Do You Need a License to Ride?
It is legal to ride a 125CC motorbike without a license but on the other hand, make sure you check with your travel insurance company. A lot of the insurance companies will require a license from your home country. Should be wary of this!
If you get a bigger motorbike, you need to make a copy of your license and hand it to the Department of Work in transport in Phnom Penh for a one-year approval. If you don’t have a license, it’s not the end of the world. You can do a test here: a theory test (English) and a basic practical.
If you don’t have a license and get caught by the police, you probably will just be bribed which isn’t so bad, but they also can take the bike off you, so be warned.
When you arrive in Cambodia, you get offered a visa upon arrival, which is $30. If you’ve imported your motorbike, you’ll also get a tip which lasts 30 days, all so. Your TIP will also inform you which border you must depart from, so make sure you plan carefully before completing the journey.
It is possible to extend your TIP in the capital Phnom Phen for an additional 30 days, which will cost you zero, but the Visa will cost $30.
Always wear a helmet
Just because the locals aren’t wearing helmets doesn’t mean you copy. Cambodia can be dangerous on the roads, plus the police are now clamping down on people not wearing helmets. Another factor is the roads are dusty, so you need a visor to cover your eyes, and the terrain can be bouncy and all over the place.
If you go on long journeys, make sure you get individual bikes and don’t share because too much weight can make it harder to steer and balance, causing potential issues. Also, make sure you have your documents handy just in case the police pull you over.
Having traveled outside Phnom Penh gone to a few tourist destinations, I can say the traffic in Cambodia is fast and furious with tiny lanes, cars going too fast, and a lot of negligence on the road. You can imagine being on a motorbike is extremely dangerous with not much protection if you have an accident, so always be careful and take your time.
You will also find many livestock running all over the roads and wild animals, especially when you get towards the villages. Again dust will be a factor in your visibility, so get some goggles or a visor. In Thailand, the roads aren’t too bad, but in Cambodia their awful for the most part, so be careful
Cambodia’s Motorbike Itineraries
The best motorbike tracks are two routes that take around two weeks to complete starting in the capital.
Sabrina TrevisanThe Eastern Loop: 1490 km
The first journey takes you along the rivers right up to the jungles it starts as jungles PHNOM PENH – KAMPONG CHAM – SEN MONOROM – BANLUNG – PREAH RUMKEL – SIEM REAP – KAMPONG THOM – PHNOM PENH.
The Second Journey (Southeren Route) 1200 km
PHNOM PENH – KAMPOT – SIHANOUKVILLE – BETTAMBANG – SIEM REAP – PHNOM PENH
Scams To Look Out For
The police will always look at tourists as meal tickets, and while 125CC motorbikes don’t require a license, the police may use that against you anyway. What the police are trying to do is make you uncomfortable, so you pay the bribe at the end of this, you pay $5
If you do get pulled over, stay calm, get the keys, and put them somewhere in your pocket so the police don’t take your bike. After some time, the police will fade away and won’t even bother you. You need to keep a good poker face and stay relaxed. If you have an international driving light, flip that out and show them even though it doesn’t qualify, it may just sway them off.
Also, roadside repair shops will try to scam you for more money, but you have some more prominent companies that would be above board and repair your bike with branded products.
Motorbike insurance and healthcare
A critical part of your trip has to be insurance for your motorbike and health with the potentially dangerous situation you may find yourself in. If you’re getting motorbike insurance, make sure you look at the add ons and hidden costs that may occur. You need to think about whether you have an expensive camera or laptop with you to get them insured.
The medical side of insurance is important too, but you must remember that you don’t have great hospitals in Cambodia. Royal Phnom Penh is probably the best out of a bad bunch. Compared to Thailand, the difference is night and day if you need any minor medical assistance, pop to Thailand don’t stay in Cambodia.