Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adventurous ways to travel Cambodia

In my book, I have a column about cheaply traveling around Cambodia. My preferred mode was riding in the crowded pickup taxis that link most every lonely village in the provinces. It can be tough, but it offers great views and is a cheap adventure for the daring backpacker.

Freelance photographer Dominic Stafford has has gone above and beyond by crossing Banteay Meanchey province by hitching rides on kuyon — single-axle tractors that are little more than powerful motors on a pair of diminutive wheels.

Travelers assemble a flying bed in Pursat province in December 2004.
Photo by Will Koenig.

He also rode a "flying bed" — which is a wooden pallet strapped to a pair of train axles and shares the rails with much larger trains. While it's a useful way to access remote villages, in my experience it's not much fun once the novelty wears off. Many rail lines run through the middle of nowhere, leaving you with no options if you are thirsty or if the contraption breaks down. And the whole time you are acutely aware that a massive locomotive could come hurtling around a blind curve at any moment.

A bicycle may be slower, but at least you can stop whenever you want.

As always, there are many more adventures in my book.

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