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Cooky’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 22 Jan 2006

Location: Koh Chang Island, Thailand

MapQuite a while then since my last instalment! I am now relaxing on the lovely island of Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand before I head back home to China.

To recap on that wonderful last leg in Cambodia (NO PUN):

Jan 15th : Sihanoukville - Sre Ambel = 100km

Found a shortcut outta S'ville very early in the morning, got over the hills and outta town and then rerode the road (sounds odd!) back to the town of Veal Rinh. Here I hooked up with the main P.P. - S'ville highway and its the best road I saw in Cambodia so I flew along to the Sre Ambel turn-off.

Sre Ambel had become one of those mysterious places that captures the imagination. It was a smugglers port but doesn't seem to be very important these days. the road instantly turns to dust off the highway but it's not too hard to S.A.

Went for walk at 7:30 but everything was completely closed-down so no chance of food. 4 boiled eggs for dinner.

Jan 16th : Sre Ambel - Ta Tai (4th river) = 120km (not easy)

This was the biggest ride of the trip and not easy. Hot, hilly and dusty I was slightly worried that there would be nowhere to stay in this part of the country. It was a fear not unfounded.

The total distance to Koh Kong was not as great as I'd thought. From S.A. just 144km! But not an easy ride. No shade and no good surface. I crashed pretty early in the day as a went downhill over a sandbank. Not really hurt but a few scratches that began to sting in the afternoon heat.

Also ran over a slithering snake in the morning (first time!). It was a great ride and more challenging than other days in the country so i was happy. Reached the 3rd river after about 90km and had had enough really but found there wasnowhere to stay in the small town. tried to find locals to take me in but no luck.

I met a German, Peter, travelling from his home in S'ville to his other home in Bangkok and he told me of a German guy at the next river who had a room I could stay in. Wasn't too clear and the distance to the next river was at least 30km over some more mountains so I wasn't sure I could make it before night but I had little option but to try.

So took off again and just as darkness started to fall hit the descent to the river after a tough ride. The river was bathed in moonlight as I reached the ferry and asked for "German Hans". Locals told me to cross the river so I did. (4 ferries in one day is another record!) Jesus would've had fun!

Off the ferry on the other side and found the little place easily. Peter had told Hans I might arrive and Peter had decided to stay too. We spent the evening chatting on the bank of this beautiful river. I slept in the floating hut after a swim in the river to dust off being warned about crocodiles rather belatedly. A great day ended and I wasn't eaten.

Jan 17th : Ta Tai - Koh Kong - Ban Mai Rut (THAILAND ) = 55km

the morning ride was steep over the largest of the mountains on this dirt road but adter that it was okay. The road improved as I hit Koh Kong. I decided not to stay and just headed straight for the border. A long bridge and a viscious headwind and then... Thailand. No poblem!

Back on the fine roads and the fine food.

Jan 18th : Ban Mai Rut - Trat - Koh Chang Island = 108km

Pleasant enough riding but not particularly interesting. After Cambo Thailand is pretty dull and modern. reached Trat and was a little surprised by how small it is. So, uncharmed by the town, I elected to make for the ferry and the island of Koh Chang. And that's where you'll find me to this day!

Note : cycling in Cambodia is wonderful and made me recall Myanmar. there is so much life roadside and so many smiles that encourage you. I LOVED IT!!