The amazing thing about Cambodia is the lack of rules and regulations. To drive a motorbike in north america of course, you need to get a special motorcycle license. Not so in cambodia. You just show your passport as collateral, slap down four buckaroos and off you go. It's actually quite refreshing – adventurous experiences right at your fingertips! We couldn't resist the thought of a $4 motorbiking adventure, so we set off with a few friends for rural Cambodia. Our ultimate destination was Phnom Udong – a small hill north of Phnom Penh that has been considered a holy site for centuries – several kings have even been coronated here.
But of course the best part of the day was the motorbiking itself. Just us, the wind and the wide open highway – well, kind of the wide open highway. We did have to share it with a few random cows, big trucks, and motorbikes carting all sorts of things from one small town to the next. En route to Phnom Udong, we passed through quintessential rural Cambodia – stilted homes over flooded paddy; cows munching on enormous hay stacks; naked kids running around by the road; roadside snack stalls and gas stations (old pop bottles filled with gasoline and diesel sold at a roadside stand).
We climbed over 100 steps to get to the top, dodging begging children and adults. This is a good place to beg, as Cambodians on a pilgrimage to the stupas will be generous hoping for good favour in life. We prefer not giving money to encourage begging as job but we did change our minds when we saw the one legged man with the one legged monkey. The monkey was also taught to beg and although he just threw money away upon reception, it was worth the entertainment value.
After enjoying the constant breeze at the top of the hill, and the great views from the ridge, we stopped for lunch at a town that's infamous for its lounging picnic area. Imagine a bed frame with no mattress and you're getting close to what families have set up in this area. They've added weaved mats and throw pillows and hammocks for a truly relaxing dining experience.
We tried to order a rice dish with chicken in our very limited Khmer and ended up getting a whole roasted bird with a side of veggies, pig blood chunks, and liver. Ok something got lost in translation. When we thought we had carved all the meat off the roasted chicken, we were going to throw it away when some kids took it and showed us that we had actually only eaten about half the meat.