Click here for part2: from Kampot to Phnom Penh
For part3: from Phnom Penh to Lao border, through Kampong Cham, Kreatie and Stung Treng, here.
At the bottom of the article is the map of the whole Cambodian tour, click on the track to get the elevation profile.
For general hints and tricks to keep your budget extremely low when traveling Cambodia, here's another article.
Thailand Cambodia border (Koh Khong) to Batum Sokor - 108km
An easy 15km after the border you will cross the long bridge that will lead you to the nice town of Koh Khong (not to be confused with the island). It's a pleasant riverside city with plenty of guest houses and restaurants, including some western style ones. The atmosphere is more lively than in Thailand, the places are open until later (not very late) and Cambodians seem to enjoy their life more. There's a beach nearby and a mangrove forest that make for nice but not unmissable day trips.
Botum Sokor itself, if this is really the name of the village, has a couple of guesthouses for around 6USD, nothing fancy but with WiFi (at least the one we went in), a market and nothing more. Eateries are few and bad, we try one but not trusting the hygiene we chose to have some instant noodles there, nevertheless the lady boils some water from a rusty tank collecting rain dropping from a roof that's probably made of asbestos, we eat them anyway and we survive.
Botum Sokor to Kampot - 147km
Srae Ambel is indeed a nice town, set on a small hill overlooking the Sre Ambel river. Two guesthouses are in the center of the village, atop the hill, and few more a little bit further out of town. There's an interesting Buddhist temple, the usual market, the usual fried rice and noodle soup.
Even though road stays flat the traffic gets pretty heavy, with lots of trucks in a row to share the narrow road with. There are about 45km like this, maybe the worst road we cycled in Cambodia. Moreover the infamous oil palm plantations begin to line the road, nothing compared to Borneo but still annoying, cutting of the view of the cool limestone mountains of Bokor National Park on our left. One nice surprise we found here is a clear stream where is possible to bath and even swim, indeed many locals do it, this is pretty rare in Cambodia, where most of the rivers are muddy. This are the GPS coordinates:
N 10°56'48.2" E 103°47'42.1"
And indeed the road splits here, the Highway 4 leading south-west to busy Sihanoukville, the new resort town of Cambodia. As you may guess we skip that and head East instead, along the National Highway 3, to Kampot.
The traffic lightens noticeably, finally on the left the Bokor cliffs emerge in their majesty. Although the road runs along the coast, there are very few spots from where the sea is rarely visible, along this 58km of flat road there are basically no places to get drinks or food.
But Kampot is not that far and there will be all the western comfort you would like there.
facebook, twitter, instagram and youtube
If you have more information, please feel free to contribute in the comments!