Pailin to Koh Kong via Pramoy and Cardamoms

If you ever need to cut out some distance going between Pailin and Koh Kong, this is the way to go, unless you go into Thailand. If you go the major route via Battambang and Phnom Penh it is 630 kilometers. The route across Cardamom Mountains is 260 kilometers. You will probably not save any time on the other hand.

All you need to ride your bike into Cambodia is your passport, a passport photo and the bike's green book. You have to own the bike or bring an authorization from the owner. VISA on arrival is available.

Download POIs and tracks for GPS (.gpx) or Google Earth (.kmz)
The numbers written in superscript in the text are references to these files. The Google Earth file shows where all the pictures were taken.

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All roads and POIs mentioned in this text are updated to OpenStreetMap

March 25th 2013 Monday

Drove towards Ban Pakkhad border crossing and came across this fancy new road that bypasses a part of 3087.

It seems to bypass an area that will be flooded once this dam is ready.

Out on 317 I stopped at this little restaurant01 for some water. I did not catch the name.

It sports a pretty good view.

Drove around a bit to fill in some blanks on OSM and then I crossed the border02 at Ban Pakkhad without any major hassle. Checked in at the Bamboo03 in Pailin. Rooms starting at $8. I went for a bungalow for $15 with A/C, TV, fridge, hot shower. You have WiFi in the restaurant area.

March 26th 2013 Tuesday

Continued on 57 towards Battambang.

Turned right on this small but paved road04.

At this bridge the pavement ends.

Dirt beyond the bridge.

Time to fuel up05.

A quick look at this road going west.

A quick look at this road going south.

About 4 kilometers to a river without, to my knowledge, any proper bridge.

When the road sort of ends before the river I turned left and got on this track. I have seen some sort of bridge on Google earth this way.

The short track leads to this bridge06. It is not more than one meter wide. Crossing it made me a bit nervous as it had seen better days.

On the other side was this road.

A quick look at this road going south.

I got to a village with a gas station07, the last before Pramoy. Then a T-crossing where I turned left first to a road heading east that was being built/fixed. I wonder where it goes.

U-turned and headed west through the village.

After the village the road turns south. It is being built with new bridges.

The road ended at a track going east-west. I turned left to the east.

Then the mud holes started to appear.

Crap, the mud got me. The bike is stuck and is held up by the mud. Had to tilt it down and drag it out sideways. A guy on a scooter stopped and helped me. I was surprised to see a fair share of scooter traffic on this trail.

Another track from the last road merges here.

At this mud hole I got a little smarter. I waited for a local guy to see what path he would take.

Then I came to a small settlement and stopped for water. The locals told me it was "Preo Pee" village08. The GPS gets some attention.

Behold, it is a road from here, not big but a road.

I also noted I busted my radiator fluid reservoir when pulling the bike out of the mud earlier.

A good section.

This road has it's share of holes but allover it is not bad.

A burst of rain. I put my camera in my top box. I ended up soaked.

Here it has cleared up again.

Here09 I T-boned the main road from Pursat to Pramoy. It is a good dirt road and takes me the last few kilometers to Pramoy.

I was soaked and had no high expectations of accommodation so I checked in at the first place I found. It was Metpheap Guesthouse10. $5 for a room with en-suite crapper, bucket shower, fan, electric outlet and a mosquito net. The GPS gets some more attention.

After changing clothes I went out to have a look around and pretty much the first thing I see is this guesthouse11. A palace compared to my place. I also noted a couple of gas stations12+13.

I continued west to see how far the road would go.

Very dense jungle here.

Here I turned around and headed back to Pramoy but the road kept going, maybe all the way to Thailand.

Here was a peak14 at 939 meters.

Some phone company had found it too.

Back in Pramoy I had some grub at a local place15.

March 27th 2013 Wednesday

Had a quick look at the street going north. It had two more guesthouses on it. Veal Veng guesthouse16 in some sort of old west style.

And this un-named one17.

Pramoy's roundabout.

Then headed south crossing this river.

Some bridges had seen better days.

I make a right18 and got out on a brand new road. I take it to see where it goes.

It goes north-west and then north-east back to the road I came in on and then curves away again.

After another loop the new road meets the old again at some kind of settlement19.

I drove back the same way.

I pass the point where I entered this new road and continued south.

It crosses this river.

It joins20 the old road and heads east.

It takes me to a small village named 'Oh Saom' on OSM. It has four guesthouses21+22+23+24 and could be a good stop.

I continue east a little bit.

The road soon turns into a track and I turn around.

It is pretty out here.

Downtown Oh Saom.

I take the road south out of town.

Burnt jungle. It looks like hell.

But here it is super nice.

More hell.

I get to some sort of electrical station. A road goes west from here25 and one south. Both looks the same.

I take the one going west.

I get to a dam construction so I take it as this is the newer road.

Then the road heads south. It is in poor condition.

Another dam construction.

The road improves south of the last construction site.

Another dam.

I turned left onto a road to yet another dam.

Then continued south. The road got worse again, like a big washboard.

I passed the entrance to the old road26 but turned back to have a look.

Back out on the main road going south again.

As you approach Koh Kong you ride on a ridge and get some good views.

Asphalt. I have not seen that since yesterday morning. What a nice sight.

Headed east on 48.

Checked out a new dirt road going south off of 48.

It seemed to end at a temple.

Back to 48 and continued on to Tatai. Tatai bridge.

Local shop overlooking the bridge.

Continued on 48.

Checked out an other new dirt road going south off of 48.

It came to a stop at a bridge construction that was not passable.

Checked in at this guesthouse27. $6 for fan, electric outlet and mosquito net.

70s style?

View from An Daung Toeuk Bridge.

March 28th 2013 Thursday

Went looking for Chi Phat village to have a quick look. I heard about Chi Phat from RideAsia forum. Turned left28 about 2 kilometers after An Daung Toeuk Bridge onto this little dirt road. Had to make a few turns but Chi Phat was sign posted from here.

Got to this bike ferry29 which took me across the river to Chi Phat which is on the other river bank. If you continue a little bit passed the bike ferry there is a car ferry too30.

When you land on the other side you go right and pass some shops and come out at the car ferry landing.

Downtown Chi Phat. There were many guesthouses in this village. I marked about 8 but there were some more.

Tourist information Center31. I asked for the burial site mentioned on RideAsia forum but they had never heard of it they said.

Drove the only road out of town for a random look.

Got to this water crossing and turned around.

Noted a sign for a waterfall32 and turned in on a small track leading to it. Very dry.

This area seemed like it is worth to spend a night here some day. Went back to the ferry.

Out on the main road again I had a look at these bungalows, Boeung Meas Guesthouse and Restaurant33. Was qouted $10. Could be a good stop maybe.

Checked out this road going to yet some other Chinese dam project. Brand new dirt.

This is the main road34 going to Pramoy from Pursat. On this end it was paved. Wonder how far the pavement goes.

Started to feel a bit sick. Maybe dehydrated. Drove to Battambang and ended up staying in Royal Hotel35 for two days. The hotel was $15 for an A/C room with fridge, ceiling fan, TV, hot shower and WiFi. This hotel is opposite Wood House Restaurant36 which has good food for competitive prices. They also had a roof top restaurant but it was not much more than some tables and chairs.

March 31th 2013 Sunday

I felt good again so I took aim for home with a de-tour to Phnom Ek37. I drove towards Sisonpon on 5 and then turned right towards Phnom Ek37. I expected a big hill but there was none so I passed it and turned back. This is the small road back to Battambang following a small river, may be it is the better way to get here.

Found it and was greeted by this big Buddha.

Buddhas under the big Buddha.

Phnom Ek37, not very impressive if you have seen any of the bigger sites. You mind as well save the $3 entrance fee.

Took another dirt road straight west out to 5.

The new bypass.

Some sort of small water park38.

Pailin provincial border.

Pailin Ruby Guesthouse39, I have not noted this before.

Had some food at the Bamboo03 and then I drove home.