Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dirt-Bike Province Trip to Prey Veng

A group of us started talking about heading out to the Provinces outside Phnom Penh, to visit our fellow volunteer who was stationed for his assignment out in Prey Veng, when we had first settled into expat life in Cambodia.

With my housemates, and Rach, the planning started taking shape.  The talk of motorbikes, and dirt bikes for this trip idea, then seemed to eliminate me from the plan because I am shakey on a pushbike, let alone a big heavy bike with a motor!

But then Borin agreed to ride my bike, and take me on the back of it - perfect!  As plans took shape, a weekend was picked, and we set off.  Hiring dirt bikes from PP was pretty easy, and we all packed very light for the journey out and back for a night.

Getting out of the city was such a treat, and travelling on the back of a dirt bike meant that I got such an awesome view of the varying landscapes as we travelled through. From muddy plains, to forested areas, across a river via ferry, and through so many villages and towns.

I was also terrified and concentrated heavily on maintaining my balance and trying to not be a hindrance to Borin as he did the driving.

A couple of times, when we stopped, I fell off. He was so worried, but it was fine. I just wasn't ready to be taking on the full weight of the bike on my own! No harm done.

Borin took us to visit a village where his extended family lived.  I remember when we arrived, Rach and I had a gathering of locals surround us pretty quickly, obviously fascinated with the white girls travelling in this way. At this point, we had also some basic Khmer language under our belts, and so when there was chatter about the 'big foreigners' we knew what they were calling us. As Borin translated back and forth, there was much laughter as he told us what they were saying about us - they were actually amazed that I had such tiny feet, for such a big body! Ha! Just being descriptive, of course, no offence meant. But we certainly found their interest amusing.

Once at our destination, we found a guesthouse and caught up with Luke, and Jane who was also out visiting the university, and then we were all invited to a local wedding!  Such a fun night!

The main features of our trip home the next day were rain and breakdowns.  The bikes had their mechanical troubles on the way out, but this was so much an issue as the rain settled in on our journey home.

So many roadside stops trying to get one bike up and running again. And just as we had one back to running, and we set off again, another seemed to give up. It started off as a funny joke, but got tiresome as the drivers got more tired, and the rain got heavier. We all made it back to PP, safe and sound, and bikes returned, for what was one of the most amazing weekends I had in Cambodia.

This post is part of a series marking 10 years since I travelled to Cambodia to work as a volunteer.


  1. Such tiny feet and a big body! Hah! I love the different cultural norms
    And your memory is so good - 10 years since your trip and you recall the experience so well

    1. Plus they are so forthcoming, literal and honest! Ha!
      Ahhh, this trip was definitely one of the highlights of my time there. The photos help as a prompt, too!

  2. Great post Tash. It must feel so good to get these memories out of your head and down on "paper". I keep meaning to start up my travel stories again but they take so much time and effort.

    1. Yeah, liking having the photos in digital too....just in case anything happened to them - god forbid!
      You must have loads of material to still cover! You'll never be out of blogging material!


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