Photo: Rural scenes around Siem Reap.

Quad biking

Getting out into the countryside for scenes of rural life, where ox carts trundle along against a backdrop of vivid green rice fields sprinkled with quaint, quiet villages, is one of the most worthwhile ways to spend your time around Siem Reap and a great reason to add another day in Cambodia into your itinerary. But the sleepy pace of the countryside need not be reflected in your choice of transport to enjoy this idyllic terrain. Quad biking is one of the more adrenaline-inducing modes to go exploring by pounding the country lanes and back roads with petrol power.

Suprise, it's a temple!

Surprise, it’s a temple!

With two quad bike operators in town – Siem Reap Quadbike and Quad Adventure Cambodia – offering similar tour itineraries at similar prices, you can get a quick taste with a 16-kilometre (around one-hour driving time) sunset tour for US$30 for one person on one quad through to a full-day tour. Real quad bike fans can venture further with multi-day itineraries to more remote temples, like Koh Ker.

Dusty and dirty - a great combination for fun, we promise.

Dusty and dirty — a great combination for fun, we promise.

We experienced around 45 kilometres of ATV driving (that’s ‘all terrain vehicles’), taking a little over two hours. Ticking off a colourful contemporary pagoda, skirting around Bakong temple of the Roluos group, racing along dusty dirt roads and being greeted by smiling, waving school kids, this was very much an insight into classic Cambodia. The itinerary, however, also took us to a school/orphanage – and it is worth questioning the impact of tourism such as this (would you be able to just drive into a school or an orphanage back in the West?). Check the details of the route for the different tour lengths to find one that appeals to you — and skip the school/orphanage, please.

Nervy drivers can have their fears dispelled, as all vehicles are automatic with no clutch or gears to handle and incredibly easy to ride; I’d clocked up a total of only 10 hours in a car before trying quad biking and it was a breeze. The session starts with a demonstration and practice time to make sure you are comfortably in control. A driving licence is technically required to drive, though we weren’t asked and exceptions can be made if you’ve got prior experience on quad bikes. Kids can sit on the back, so can enjoy the experience too without driving and it seems teens are allowed to drive providing they get to grips with it in the practice session, which is unlikely to cause any problems as it is surprisingly straightforward. Of course, make sure you have appropriate travel insurance.

Visors, helmets and face masks are provided. In rainy season you are guaranteed to get muddy – with a hose down at the end of the ride!

Quad biking – or delving into the countryside via motorbike, tuk tuk, bike or foot – is an opportunity to see incredibly photogenic scenery and experience contemporary rural culture that will complement, and break up, visits to the historic sites of Angkor. If adventure is your thing, you should also consider Flight of the Gibbon, dirt biking or a moto tour up on Kulen Mountain.

Quad Adventure Cambodia
Near ISSR International School, off Wat Bo Road
T: (017) 784 727

Siem Reap Quad Bike Adventure
Near ISSR International School, off Wat Bo Road

T: (097) 965 1451

Last updated on 2nd October, 2014.

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