Ride day 42: Battambang to Sisophon
11 August 2016
We both woke from a very broken nights sleep. The heat alone was keeping us awake, with only a ceiling fan in the room to cool us down. The flip side of this being that, when the fan was on fast enough to cool us down, the noise was too loud to sleep. Couple this up with very noisy dogs fighting in the middle of the night, and you get just a few hours sleep.
We pack up from our last night in Battambang, and head to a cafe in town for breakfast. Unfortunately right outside the cafe we want to go to is a very loud wedding ceremony, so we opt to return to “The Kitchen” on the waterfront again for breakfast and some chill out / blog writing time.
After a relaxing long breakfast and blog writing session, we eventually hit the road at 12:30 (hottest time of the day again – we’re on a roll). It takes 15 minutes or so to make our way out of Battambang, which stretches further than we’d thought.
Once on the highway 5 heading northwest, the road gets considrably more bumpy than the roads we’ve been used to for the past week. The centre of the roads are relatively flat and decent Tarmac, but the outer edges (where motorbikes invariably have to ride) are heavily buckled and distorted with some large potholes and jagged edges in to the dirt on the side. The traffic however is considerably lighter than any other day so far in Cambodia.
Along the side of the road are some huge warehouses and factories belonging to the various rice growers of the area. A move away from what had appeared to be more subsistence based rice plantations and agriculture of the past few days. The road predominantly follows along the same route as the old colonial railway line on the left had side of the highway. The railway system in Cambodia is mainly defunct these days, but if rumours be true, it could be on the way to being resurrected. Some new looking sleepers and rails piled alongside the disused line may be indicative of this. There are however as we ride it, still fantastic views of the old overgrown railway and bridges all the way up the days ride.
After 30 kilometres or so, the road begins to get slightly more twisty and turny, and with a few small hills thrown in to the mix. There are a few local lorries passing by that have various forms of decoration on them – hand painted and covered in all sorts of odd additions from bright green Michelin man attachments, to full on neon installations. On top of some of these lorries the young men ride them at high speed along the highway. There are a series of stalls scattered through a village selling some sort of incense sticks, and a couple of cars converted to be mini ice cream vans going from house to house.
It’s only a short hop ride today, and we arrive in Sisophon around 2:30. Despite being a good few hundred kilometres from the coast, the town itself is only 15 metres above sea level.After a quick ride round the centre and past the market building (similar architecture to Battambang) we spit a few restaurants but only 2 hotels. After checking online we manage to find a few more hotels, and opt to check in to the Botoum hotel.
After a few hours chilling out in our hotel and finalising the blog catch up, we get ourselves dressed and ride in to town as the sun is setting. We have a restaurant in mind from reading a few reviews, but finding it is a touch tricky. Once we find the Phnom Phuong restaurant on road 2, we park up and have a good laugh with other patrons as one of the waiters tries to set the karaoke system up. The food is absolutely excellent – we had steamed red snapper with chilli and lemon grass, and beef Lok Lak and a few beers. Towards the end of our meal the lovely massive puppy came up to join us and make friends.
On the way home from the restaurant we stopped in to the local supermarket to buy a few beers, snacks and iced coffees for the morning, before returning to the hotel to drink our beers and watch a movie (sadly the movie available was Spider-Man 3….!)
Full days route here: