Siem Reap to Kampung Chaam
Siem Reap is the starting point for the journey to Kampung Chaam that can take as little as a few days and anything longer. Although there are several route, there's at the moment only one route that offers decent road quality. So that is what we are going to follow.
Siem Reap to Kampong Thom, due to heavy rains, at some places
it looked like cycling through huge lakes
For many cyclists, cycling from Siem Reap to Kampong Thom, Kampong Chaam is no longer a real adventure. The good news is that there's no threat anymore of landmines. Some cyclists cycle up to Anlong Veng, Preah Vilhear and from there following the dust/dirt road (depends on the season) to Miu Prey (road 211). I didn't do that simply because I wanted to see Kampong Thom, Kampong Chaam and Kratie before going to Laos. The road from Preah Vihear to Miu Prey and Stung Treng is, as I was told, for the most a dust.dirt track but as there's little traffic, in the dry season good to cycle.
The road out of Siem Reap is easy and flat. It leads through little towns to Stoung, 100km east of Siem Reap. This is the first place where you can find a guesthouse. Apart of the guesthouse there's little to make you feel excited. Should you feel strong enough, you can continue to Kampong Chaam, another 50km. Here you find several hotels and guesthouses. I stayed at the Stung Sen Royal Garden Hotel, the first you will see when cycling in the city (from the north side), with rooms for $20 but you can bargain easily down.
There's a few decent restaurants but it's more fun and cheaper to eat opposite of the hotel at the food stalls. But there's little to keep you busy here.
From here on you do not have to make long days anymore. There will be around every 50km or so a guesthouse. I cycled out of Kampong Thom to Kampong Thror, 50km south on Road 6. There's a guesthouse in this little town.
The town is build at the junction of two roads. The road 6 continues to Skun, another 50 km or so further where you can stay. This might be a good option should you continue to Phnom Penh which is 80km from Skun.
No interest in Phnom Penh?, you can choose road 71, which is a nice and quiet and for the most flat road which leads to Kampong Chaam. Road 71 offers another option. After 28 km you will arrive in Chamkar Leu.
Here is another junction leading you direct eastwards to Stung Trong (road 222/223), at the west bank of the Mekong River. You might find a guesthouse here but I have not checked it. However, if you stayed in Kampong Thror, you will be able to make it to Chlong, another 60km east on the east bank of the river.
The distance from Kampong Thom to Kampong Chaam is 115km. As I said, most is flat except a lazy hillside after Chamkar Leu (some nice roadside restaurants here). After the town the road slowly climbs up to 202 meter altitude in Bos Khnor. After that it's a nice slow descending to road 7, the highway that connects Phnom Penh with Stung Treng.
When I say "highway", it means a two lane road which is slightly busier then road 71. From the junction it's another 12 km to Kampong Chaam.
There are several cheap and decent hotels in Kampong Chaam, most along the riverside.
The town has little to offer to keep you longer then a day busy but I found it fascinating to watch people doing what they were doing, hanging out at the local market and relax at the Mekong riverbank.
There are some temples in town too, but they were not of the magic I have seen anywhere else. So after a day rest, I continued in the direction of Kratie and Stung Treng.
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More about the road from Kampong Chaam to Kratie and Stung Treng
The sleepy town of Kratie at the Mekong river offers not a lot of activities but a boat ride 16 km north of town to see fresh water dolphins is a good way to spend time.
The road goes on to Stung Treng, a nice little town and gateway to Laos