Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island

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Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island
- A Bike-Packing Adventure
At the Mekong Riverside, in front of the Ounalom Temple
Phnom Penh, Cambodia : 18th July 2013
Solo Ride - Monivong Blvd>St.114>St.110>Riverside>Diamond Island>Independence Monument>Monivong Blvd.
Cycling Distance Covered : approx. 15 km.
Time : 11:45 am - 3:00 pm
Time Taken : 3 hrs. 15 mins. (including stops for lunch, photo shoots,& enjoying the Riverside & Diamond Island)

Route Recommendations :
1. For those who come from right-hand drive countries, bear in mind that in Cambodia vehicles are left-hand drive. So do take the extra care to ride on the correct side. When crossing roads, do bear this in mind, as vehicles will be coming in from the "wrong" direction.
2. Even then, many motorist, especially motor cyclists, take the easy way out & will go on the wrong side - do watch out for these especially when at junctions.
3. Check-in your bike as sports equipment and do packed it properly to protect it (... see Bagging The Brompton For Air Travel). Some airlines may require, bicycles to be checked in as over-sized baggage.
4. The five-foot ways along the Riverside is very wide. It's good & safe for cycling, but there will be lots of pedestrians there in the evenings.
4. Points of interests :
- The Riverside of the Mekong.
Diamond Island
Independence Monument.

This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to other pages :
Cambodia : Pedaling Phnom Penh July 2013 (Day 1).


The previous day my flight-delayed bike had arrived and a happy me had taken a short ride to the National Museum (... see National Museum of Cambodia blog...

... and the Royal Palace (... see more at Royal Palace of Cambodia blog).

THE RIDE (Day 2)

Pedaling Phnom Penh - Diamond Island Ride Map (click for Map Link)
The ride route : Monivong Blvd>St.114>St.110>Riverside>Diamond Island>Independence Monument>Monivong Blvd..
After yesterday's evening ride, my legs were itching to cycle again. Fearing that it would rain in the late afternoon, I decided to set off earlier.

I started off from Diamond Hotel at close to noon, and eager to get off the busy lunch traffic, I quickly turned right into Street 114 - a much quieter and definitely shadier road.

Via Street 110, I reached the Riverside. The paved walkways here are very wide, and during the day time there were few pedestrians around. Fantastic! Just ideal for cycling, as on the road the traffic was rather heavy.

Further on, these walkways were paved with colorful tiles in geometric pattern. This riverside road is called Sisowath Quay Street.

At the Royal Warrior's Monument (called Decho Meas Decho Yat).
On the opposite side of the road is the Ounalom Temple.

I couldn't resist it and made a stop to take a photo of my Brompton with the Mekong at the background. The Mekong River is one of the longest river in the world and it crosses many countries before it discharges into the South China Sea in Vietnam. Even here hundreds of kilometers from the sea it is very wide!
"Yes! Me & my bike have been to the Mekong!"

The wide walkways allow for much activities (mainly during the evenings & nighttime). The locals do line dancing here, play with their children, sing songs and even play the Cambodian version of the hop-scotch game as seen in the photo above.
Goofy (that's what I call my bike) seems keen to join in for a game too!

Somewhere mid-way, the Dorngkeur Shrine straddles the full width of the walkway, and I had detour out to the road for a short stretch to continue cycling on the walkway.

Here devotees pray to Buddha and also buy birds to release them to freedom, in a way hoping to gain good karma.

I always like drinking coconut water when cycling, it's so rejuvenating. Here at the riverside, I did the same except the stall here is quite interesting.

Other than selling to thirsty people, like me, to drink; they also sell coconuts decorated with lotus flowers. These are probably for praying at the temples and shrines nearby.

Lotus flower and Betel leaves soaked in water to preserve their freshness.
Like these flowers, the Cambodians are a colorful & peaceful people. Pity that their history has been marred by recent wars and brutality.

Almost at the end of the riverside road is the Krom Ngoy Gardens. Krom Ngoy was a renown poet of the 20th century.

Nearby, a red tuk-tuk cab was taking a rest, with its fore pointing skywards. It's owner was busy gambling nearby at the park.

At Ko Pich Road, heading towards Diamond Island; here the Buddhist Institue with it's golden pagodas is an attractive structure sitting amid the otherwise bland commercial buildings.

Slightly ahead, just after Naga World Hotel/Casino, is the bridge leading to Diamond Island. The bridge itself being guarded by nagas (dragons). The bridge is just a short one, 100 meters, a short ride and we are over at the island.

Diamond Island is rather flat, it is an island formed by reclamation from the Mekong River. Surprisingly, there  were hardly any traffic - I guess the place is more active at night.

The island is fairly new place with not that buildings yet. Presently the main buildings are some exhibition and convention buildings.

But the place seems to be developing at a rapid pace with a fair bit of ongoing construction activities.

And it is a full-fledged new city, with a City Hall of it's own. In Cambodian it is called Koh Pich; Koh for island & Pich for diamond.

New residential development are also popping up - like Elite Town here.

Some other photos at Diamond Island :
Guppy & the Lion - in front of the City Hall Building.

... with the Dragon.

... and with the Teddy Bear. Goofy seems to have an affinity towards animals.

My tour of Diamond Island ended with me leaving via the Rainbow Bridge.

Back on the mainland - an important stop; the Independence Monument.

Back at Monivong Boulevard, election fever was gripping the population.
Enthusiastic supporters here waving flags in support.

Lunch was this pig innards keow teow noodles soup at Orrusey Restaurant (... see more).
Yukky to some but a delicacy to many, including yours truly here!

Back at the Diamond Hotel - all smiles for having cycled in Phnom Penh.
It was a lonely ride and would have been made more enjoyable riding with some friends.

Or Khoon!
(That's Thank You in Cambodian)

This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog, click on following to go to other pages :

Related Blogs :

Cambodia : Phnom Penh Museums : December 2012
A surprisingly educational visit to the National Museum of Cambodia.

Home-cooked Style Curries @ Cafe Malaya 
Halal Malay fare, a delicious find in Phnom Penh.

You may also like:

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  1. indeed what a coincident, was there from 14th -18 july.

    1. Good.
      Were you cycling there too?
      Oops.... by the way, it would be good to know who you are?