Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island

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Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island
- A Bike-Packing Adventure
At the Mekong Riverside, in front of the Ounalom Temple
Phnom Penh, Cambodia : 18th July 2013
Solo Ride - Monivong Blvd>St.114>St.110>Riverside>Diamond Island>Independence Monument>Monivong Blvd.
Cycling Distance Covered : approx. 15 km.
Time : 11:45 am - 3:00 pm
Time Taken : 3 hrs. 15 mins. (including stops for lunch, photo shoots,& enjoying the Riverside & Diamond Island)

Route Recommendations :
1. For those who come from right-hand drive countries, bear in mind that in Cambodia vehicles are left-hand drive. So do take the extra care to ride on the correct side. When crossing roads, do bear this in mind, as vehicles will be coming in from the "wrong" direction.
2. Even then, many motorist, especially motor cyclists, take the easy way out & will go on the wrong side - do watch out for these especially when at junctions.
3. Check-in your bike as sports equipment and do packed it properly to protect it (... see Bagging The Brompton For Air Travel). Some airlines may require, bicycles to be checked in as over-sized baggage.
4. The five-foot ways along the Riverside is very wide. It's good & safe for cycling, but there will be lots of pedestrians there in the evenings.
4. Points of interests :
- The Riverside of the Mekong.
Diamond Island
Independence Monument.

This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to other pages :
Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh July 2013 (Day 1).


PRELUDE

The previous day my flight-delayed bike had arrived and a happy me had taken a short ride to the National Museum (... see National Museum of Cambodia blog...

... and the Royal Palace (... see more at Royal Palace of Cambodia blog).


THE RIDE (Day 2)

Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island Ride Map (click for Map Link)
The ride route : Monivong Blvd>St.114>St.110>Riverside>Diamond Island>Independence Monument>Monivong Blvd..
After yesterday's evening ride, my legs were itching to cycle again. Fearing that it would rain in the late afternoon, I decided to set off earlier.

I started off from Diamond Hotel at close to noon, and eager to get off the busy lunch traffic, I quickly turned right into Street 114 - a much quieter and definitely shadier road.

Via Street 110, I reached the Riverside. The paved walkways here are very wide, and during the day time there were few pedestrians around. Fantastic! Just ideal for cycling, as on the road the traffic was rather heavy.


Further on, these walkways were paved with colorful tiles in geometric pattern. This riverside road is called Sisowath Quay Street.

At the Royal Warrior's Monument (called Decho Meas Decho Yat).
On the opposite side of the road is the Ounalom Temple.

I couldn't resist it and made a stop to take a photo of my Brompton with the Mekong at the background. The Mekong River is one of the longest river in the world and it crosses many countries before it discharges into the South China Sea in Vietnam. Even here hundreds of kilometers from the sea it is very wide!
"Yes! Me & my bike have been to the Mekong!"

The wide walkways allow for much activities (mainly during the evenings & nighttime). The locals do line dancing here, play with their children, sing songs and even play the Cambodian version of the hop-scotch game as seen in the photo above.
Goofy (that's what I call my bike) seems keen to join in for a game too!

Somewhere mid-way, the Dorngkeur Shrine straddles the full width of the walkway, and I had detour out to the road for a short stretch to continue cycling on the walkway.

Here devotees pray to Buddha and also buy birds to release them to freedom, in a way hoping to gain good karma.

I always like drinking coconut water when cycling, it's so rejuvenating. Here at the riverside, I did the same except the stall here is quite interesting.

Other than selling to thirsty people, like me, to drink; they also sell coconuts decorated with lotus flowers. These are probably for praying at the temples and shrines nearby.

Lotus flower and Betel leaves soaked in water to preserve their freshness.
Like these flowers, the Cambodians are a colorful & peaceful people. Pity that their history has been marred by recent wars and brutality.

Almost at the end of the riverside road is the Krom Ngoy Gardens. Krom Ngoy was a renown poet of the 20th century.

Nearby, a red tuk-tuk cab was taking a rest, with its fore pointing skywards. It's owner was busy gambling nearby at the park.


At Ko Pich Road, heading towards Diamond Island; here the Buddhist Institue with it's golden pagodas is an attractive structure sitting amid the otherwise bland commercial buildings.


Slightly ahead, just after Naga World Hotel/Casino, is the bridge leading to Diamond Island. The bridge itself being guarded by nagas (dragons). The bridge is just a short one, 100 meters, a short ride and we are over at the island.


Diamond Island is rather flat, it is an island formed by reclamation from the Mekong River. Surprisingly, there  were hardly any traffic - I guess the place is more active at night.


The island is fairly new place with not that buildings yet. Presently the main buildings are some exhibition and convention buildings.


But the place seems to be developing at a rapid pace with a fair bit of ongoing construction activities.


And it is a full-fledged new city, with a City Hall of it's own. In Cambodian it is called Koh Pich; Koh for island & Pich for diamond.


New residential development are also popping up - like Elite Town here.

Some other photos at Diamond Island :
Guppy & the Lion - in front of the City Hall Building.


... with the Dragon.


... and with the Teddy Bear. Goofy seems to have an affinity towards animals.


My tour of Diamond Island ended with me leaving via the Rainbow Bridge.


Back on the mainland - an important stop; the Independence Monument.


Back at Monivong Boulevard, election fever was gripping the population.
Enthusiastic supporters here waving flags in support.


Lunch was this pig innards keow teow noodles soup at Orrusey Restaurant (... see more).
Yukky to some but a delicacy to many, including yours truly here!


Back at the Diamond Hotel - all smiles for having cycled in Phnom Penh.
It was a lonely ride and would have been made more enjoyable riding with some friends.

Or Khoon!
(That's Thank You in Cambodian)

This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to other pages :

Related Blogs :

Cambodia : Phnom Penh Museums : December 2012
A surprisingly educational visit to the National Museum of Cambodia.

Home-cooked Style Curries @ Cafe Malaya 
Halal Malay fare, a delicious find in Phnom Penh.


You may also like:





You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cambodia / Pedaling Phnom Penh (Day 2)    | Jump to (Day 1)
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - The Riverside

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cambodia / Pedaling Phnom Penh (Day 1)    | Jump to (Day 2)
                          AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                       
Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - The Riverside
- A Bike-Packing Adventure
Phnom Penh, Cambodia : 17th July 2013
Solo Ride - Monivong Blvd>Supreme Court>Royal Palace>Riverside>Naga World and back.
Cycling Distance Covered : approx. 11 km.
Time : 5:45 pm - 8:30 pm
Time Taken : 2 hrs. 45 mins. (including stops for dinner, photo shoots,& enjoying the Riverside)

Route Recommendations :
1. For those who come from right-hand drive countries, bear in mind that in Cambodia vehicles are left-hand drive. So do take the extra care to ride on the correct side. When crossing roads, do bear this in mind, as vehicles will be coming in from the "wrong" direction.
2. Even then, many motorist, especially motor cyclists, take the easy way out & will go on the wrong side - do watch out for these especially when at junctions.
3. Check-in your bike as sports equipment and do packed it properly to protect it (... see Bagging The Brompton For Air Travel). Some airlines may require, bicycles to be checked in as over-sized baggage.
4. The five-foot ways along the Riverside is very wide. It's good & safe for cycling, but there will be lots of pedestrians there in the evenings.
4. Points of interests :
- The Supreme Court Building.
The Royal Palace.
- Naga Hotel / Casino.
5. The Riverside also have many pubs & bistros. Food & drinks there cost slightly more, but it's a good place to chill off.

This is Part 1 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to the other part :
Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh July 2013 (Day 2).


PRE-RIDE

This is the first time that I will be taking my bicycle overseas, so I have every reason to be anxious that all goes well for me and by Brompton. As usual, there was a hiccup for this AhPek.
I had packed my Brompton in a Ikea Dimpa Bag, well padded with cardboard from old boxes.
Travelling by Air Asia, one has to book Sports Equipment Add-on for bicycles. It costs RM50/- each way.
When checking in bicycles, it is a two step process at the LCCT-KLIA terminal. First baggage check-in counter where they will register the checking in and put on the necessary destination stickers. Then one will have to carry it over to the Oversized Baggage Counter (at the other corner) for the actual physical handing-over to the handlers there.


Phnom Penh viewed from the air.
Arriving at Phnom Penh, I was eager to start riding. this is when the hiccup started - I arrived but my bike did not, it was lost in transit!
There I was with my helmet, jersey & water bottle but without a bike. Quite frustrating actually.


Fortunately, they did not send it elsewhere (like Timbuktu); they just forgot to load it. The airline made arrangements to send it on the following day's flight and I was most glad to receive it. Back at the hotel, I unpacked and unfolded it - all was well with my bike and I am
READY TO RIDE!


THE RIDE (Day 1)

Pedaling Phnom Penh - The Riverside Ride Map (click for Map Link)
The ride route : Monivong Blvd>Supreme Court>Royal Palace>Riverside>Naga World and back.
This will be a debut overseas ride, so it will be a short ride of about 11km. just to stretch my itchy riding legs.


To start off with, I rode over to my friend Suhamie's place - the Cafe Malaya. I was hoping to have dinner there but his place was closed for the fasting month. I was also hoping that he could join me for this ride but then he was just going to break fast.
So, it's a solo ride for me then.


My first stop was the Central Market (in Cambodian, Psar Thmey - which means New Market). This is an interesting place with good eats and also a lot of retails stall selling goods from luggage, clothing to jewelry, etc. (... see Phnom Penh 2012 Day 2). But it closes at 5pm, so it's just an outside view for my bike.


Wending through the narrow branch streets (I was trying to avoid the main roads), I had to keep on reminding myself to ride on the right-hand side of the road. I come from a Commonwealth country, where we drive on the left-hand side.

Getting used to the traffic, I was able to ride safely and maneuver my way to my second destination; the National Museum of Cambodia. This is a great place as it has exhibits that dates from almost a millennium ago (... see National Museum of Cambodia blog).


Wanting to pass by the National University of Arts that is nearby, I took a back way behind the museum to head to the next destination. The shops were already closed, but I would recommend that a stint there as there are shops nearby that sells artwork by the students of the university (... see Cambodian Art blog).
It's a good thing, riding through the minor streets, then I get to see the street life of the city - like this shell-fish peddler and in front of him, a sugar cane seller.


At the Royal Palace.
Note  this is not the main palace building but the assembly hall. The main palace building is much further in (... see more at Royal Palace of Cambodia blog).


Continuing my ride down the Riverside road, I passed by the Himawari Hotel, one of the premier hotels there.


By the time I reached Naga World, a beautiful dusk had set in.


Nagaworld, the only hotel in Phnom Penh with a Casino.


It was getting dark & I was getting hungry. I headed back along the Riverside road, looking for a good chow place. There were many along this street to choose from.


I settled for the aptly named Riverside Bistro, it's quaint entrance guarded by a large Buddha head above.


Din-din was Cambodian Pancake followed by a long cool glass of Angkor Beer.


The beer came first. Angkor Beer is a light lager; cool & refreshing, it was rejuvenating after tiring cycle. And light enough so that I will still be able to cycle straight afterwards *smirks*.


The Cambodian Pancake was something like an omelet with some minced pork with bean sprouts, chopped vegetables, etc. all wrapped inside. Tasted reasonably good, and it came with a healthy amount of local salad to be eaten with the sweet-sour chilli mix provided.


Stomach happily Cambodianly sated, I rode back along the wide pavements of the Riverside. Made a quick stop here as I saw some locals doing a line dance to Psy's Gangnam song.
Seems like our Korean friend have a strong following here too. "Oppan Gangnam Style!"


Mr. Oudom, the operator of Grasshopper Adventures & the AhPek Biker
Getting off the Riverside road, at Street 144, I saw this shop - Grasshopper Adventures.
Hey! I have heard of them before, they organize cycling tours in Cambodia and the neighboring countries.


The above is their cyclo-tour of Cambodia brochure. Do contact them for updates though.
Looks interesting doesn't it, especially the off-the-beaten-track claim. Perhaps, I will join them the next time I am here.

Back at Diamond Hotel, I took this mirrored self portrait along the hotel corridor before popping into my room for sweet dreams of more cycling tomorrow.


Sook Sabai!

This is Part 1 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to the other part :

Related Blogs :


Cambodia : Phnom Penh Museums : December 2012
A surprisingly educational visit to the National Museum of Cambodia.

Home-cooked Style Curries @ Cafe Malaya 
Halal Malay fare, a delicious find in Phnom Penh



You may also like:





You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cambodia / Pedaling Phnom Penh (Day 1)    | Jump to (Day 2)
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)