June 26, 2013

Adventure charity biking tour_Cambodia with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

On June, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA held successfully “Windermere Adventure Challenge - Cambodia 2013” tour_ An adventure challenge in the name of charity by biking. This is their story about first day in 9 days trip, cycling Siem Riep & Angkor temples

Day 1 - Siem Reap & the Temples of Angkor
Team Itinerary Overview
- Arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Temples - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon, Terrace of the Elephants)
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdey
- Cycling distance: Approx 40km

Before starting

Something old, something new, something borrowed… and a hell of a lot of orange!
For some, the challenge component kicked in as we landed in Siem Reap with the benefit of very little sleep and then hopped straight on the bikes.
So we could tell the bikes apart, challengers were encouraged to ‘bring a bit of bling’ and they responded with a colourful array that went well beyond the normal bells and whistles.
Cath Zulian attached a row of bright yellow flowers to her bike bag, forgetting that she then had to lug the colourful array around while walking through the temples.
Graeme Moore attached a boxing kangaroo to the front of his bike, Cath Sharpe a crocodile head horn, Suellen Conway bright orange plaited hair extensions (appropriate for a hairdresser) and Krista Tomlinson had a pair of fluffy dice swinging from the handlebars. Geoff Bainbridge was more nondescript, with a cue ball tube cover doing the trick.

Our guide
We were introduced to our guides. Bobby, the owner of Active Travel, Cheak, Benrut and John Wayne – who quickly earned the nickname of Duke. 
Short Man explained that many of the friends are actually smaller than he is! A photo was quickly arranged of Short man and our own “Shorty” Brookes.
Bron explained as we came in on the bus that Siem Reap was Cambodia’s second largest city with a population of one million (second to Phnom Pehn’s four million) on the back of the tourist trade around the nearby Angkor Wat temple complex.

Bike around Siem Riep

There are very few high rise buildings  because no-one is allowed to build above the height of the temples as a mark of respect.
That respect became obvious when our tour of the temples began. At one stage Short Man made a passionate plea to take in the surroundings, because the scriptures on the walls were the documents of the country’s history.
“The many people who built these temples did not get to see them, and you are,” he said.
Angkor Wat means ‘city that is a temple’. It covers almost 500 acres and had one million Khmers within its boundaries in the 12th century. Its man-made moat provides a complex irrigation system that at one stage provided for two rice harvests
It is estimated that 166,000 candles have burned in a single ceremony.

The first stop was at the main Angkor Wat temple, then the Bayon temple of faces, where many of the group tried to pose kissing one of the stone figures, and lastly the spectacular Angkor Thom, made famous more recently when Angelina Jolie ran around it as Lara Croft in the film Tomb Raider.
Shorty Brookes and Cath Sharpe took the opportunity to go into a healing room, where you back up to a wall and beat your chest three times. The thumping noise echos and apparently cleans the soul at the same time.
The ride from the temples back into Siem Reap was spectacular. At one stage we wound single file through a bush track and then found ourselves immersed in busy Asian city traffic, where the only rule is that chaos rules.

 Highlights of the first day in Cambodia:
Suellen Conway
The last temple, with the trees all intertwined. I loved the fact that they are restoring it, that’s a lot better than seeing rubble.
Geoff Bainbridge
The afternoon was just great. The weather was beautiful and the temples got better as we went on. Everything became a bit surreal and easy. The ride home to Siem Reap was entertaining and the first beer when we arrived wasn’t bad either.
Samantha Smith
It was a real thrill riding through al those motorbikes and cars on the way back to Siem Reap, They just don’t know where they are going. The fact that we got there without being run over is a miracle.
Gaylene Howe
Finding my make-up bag, which I thought I had left at home, in my suitcase when we arrived. I had already spent $75 restocking at Singapore Airport though!

Windermere is one of the largest and oldest independent community service organisations in Melbourne. And ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA(ATA) is adventure travel agency operate with Windermere. ATA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar TRUST adventure and RESPONSIBLE tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling.

You can find ATA via http://www.activetravel.asia/ or Fanpage Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Active.Travel

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