We’ve become unaccustomed to relying on other modes of transport. Tuk tuk 30 mins later than booked. Squeezing onto the back to join the 5 other travellers with all their gear we then had to hold onto our bikes hanging off the tailgate. Met Yann, a charming Frenchman now living in Hammersmith, travelling in south-east Asia for a few weeks between jobs. Nice to chat while we waited for our driver, who disappeared after we broke down two mins down the dusty road. He finally turned up with a Jonnie Walker bottle of petrol. No worries being late as the 7:30 am ferry was still piling on passengers at 8.30.
We settled ourselves onto the rather firm bench seats, very happy to have a seat and not to be perched on the rooftop, baking with the baggage. We had been told that the journey 4-5 takes hours, but were prepared for a 5 to 6 hour trip with lots of water, bananas and pastries from breakfast. The engine stops after 4 minutes, someone gets a saw out to chop something off the back off the boat. Repeat. Several times. 5 hours into the trip we pull over to the bank. It didn’t look like a port. Everyone piles off onto a rather sleeker looking vessel. Paul is left to hoik our bikes and panniers onto the new boat while I scurry down below to try and grab a seat.
Very exciting for 10 mins when we accelerate to warp factor 6. Sadly, it didn’t last. Engine stopped and someone tried a hammer this time. Sadly it didn’t work, so a serious engineer was called in. He had a very big hammer. Which almost worked. We pootled down the river ploughing through the weeds for another weary, bone aching 4 hours. Just made it to Phnom Penh before dark. Groan. More fun than a van, but gosh, so close.
Even Hanoi traffic wasn’t this bad. We chose to cycle on the sidewalk avoiding the kids playing football, the aerobics class and the food vendors. A manic cycle to find our hotel. Thank you maps.me and Paul’s ability to cycle and brake one-handed.
Travelling by bike in Cambodia is fun. The fun is about to change as we try and actually cycle around Phnom Penh.