Here are a few insights from my bike riding experience that may help you ease into the swing of things. Be warned though, these are just my opinions and personal insights- you’ll have to figure it all out for yourself once you start biking! Be careful and pay attention to what is happening around you.
Three Tips to Biking in Siem Reap
Tip One – don’t stop the bicycle in the middle of traffic
Try not to stop while you’re biking Siem Reap! My western sensibilities had me halting like a deer in the headlights, which just about got me run over EVERY time I did it. At home, while biking, I’d usually stop, assess and then go when things a
re safe. In Siem Reap, people biking rarely stop unless at a red light. Keep going with the flow- observe the people ahead of you and follow their lead. Take it easy, and keep breathing! If you DO have to STOP, pull well OFF the road (onto a sidewalk for example) first.
Tip Two – Making a left turn on a bicycle
When turning left – people cut across traffic and take the left turn from the left side of the road. Just be careful of oncoming traffic taking a tight right turn on a blind corner. Seriously, you may never get to where you want to go if you don’t do this. Unless there is a large vehicle you can tailgate also making a left turn, you’ll have to find a gap and make your move. Remember – people rarely stop, so if you are stopped in the middle of an intersection on a bicycle waiting to turn left, you’ll end up like Wil E Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon.
Tip Three – Look both directions while biking Siem Reap
I bet about half the time I do, there is a bicycle, moped or tuktuk coming down the road the ‘wrong’ way. Be careful and double check every time! I was flattened by a moped in China when I didn’t do this – you’ve been warned!
Biking Siem Reap is a rewarding and exciting experience. You can even bike out to visit Angkor Wat – it can be hot and dusty though, so be prepared for lots of time in the sun and possibly rain.
Most hotels, including the Baby Elephant, offer guests bicycles to rent from the White Bicycle organization. It’s $2US and the money goes to charity. These are basic, one speed bicycles and are good enough to get around town on.
If you want a fancier ride, including multi-speed or mountain bikes, you can find lots of places around town. The nearest one is just around the corner down Psa Kroum Road– they also rent helmets for $1US a day.