While in Cambodia, I had a few “firsts.” Make that about 10,000 firsts. But there were a couple that really stood out to me. One of those was learning to ride a quad bike. When you’re traveling alone for the first time and you decide to try something brand new and you’re pretty nervous and wondering if you might make a fool of yourself — well, you can understand why this was a big deal to me. That, and riding through villages outside Siem Reap was phenomenal. It was a side of Cambodia I’d seen little of. Quiet. Fairly untouched by tourism. Life went on as it always had. People fed their livestock and worked in their fields. Women chatted while wandering down dirt paths. Smiling kids heard us drive by and ran outside to wave and say hello. It was a bit magical.
There was a group of people scheduled to ride at the same time as me, but they were experienced riders. And for some reason, they simply wanted to race through the countryside, seeing how fast they could go. The owner of the company thus decided to pair me with my own guide, and I received a private tour. My guide was incredibly sweet and patient. It took a few minutes to really get comfortable on the bike (those things have some power). But then I was simply mesmerized by the landscape and felt the need to stop every few feet to soak it in and take pictures. My guide didn’t mind at all. In fact, I think he preferred it — I could tell he loved his hometown.
If you’re ever in Siem Reap to see the great temples of Angkor, I highly recommend getting out to see the countryside. You can rent a bicycle if you don’t mind the scorching heat and meander down dirt paths of the villages at your own pace. Or you could choose something with a bit of an edge and hop on a quad. Quad Adventure Cambodia is a great company (as evidenced by the many top reviews on TripAdvisor), and I highly recommend it.