Breathe in rivers, history and beaches on this Southeast Asian cycling dream.
Cambodia is the smallest country on the Indochinese Peninsula, yet it holds one of its most treasured sites. The temples of Angkor are vast, profoundly authentic, and only rivaled by the temples of Bagan in Myanmar in their influence. One common misconception is that the Angkor temples are limited to the one complex we see adorning brochures and travel website banner ads, when in true reality they sprawl out into the jungles north of Siem Reap by the dozens. The most notable of these are Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Visiting the temples is often done in combination with a larger trip for those traveling to, or from, Thailand, as Siem Reap has only recently become a destination city. Despite being a tourist boom-town, Siem Reap still retains its small town charm and is a surprisingly pleasant place to explore. Siem Reap is the jump off point for the Angkor temples, and is where most tour operators and bike rental agencies reside. Keep in mind a rental bike can be a family's entire livelihood so be prepared to leave a passport, or heavy cash deposit for the safe return of their bike. The trip to Angkor Wat is only a few kilometers and the cycling is relatively safe. Once at the temples you can lock your bike up and explore on foot.
Time is of the essence when visiting the temples at Angkor as you can quickly find yourself lost in swaths of tourists for hours on end, dashing your hopes of seeing multiple temple sites in a day. Most tour operators will provide a decent itinerary that will help you spend your time wisely, as the main temples alone would take multiple days to explore. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, and to the north, Angkor Thom was the largest capital city in the Khmer world at its time. Like most things in the world, they are best explored by bike.