Hello there travelers!
Before I start, I need to say that the title of this review is not an exaggeration. It truly was a memorable experience, and it wouldn't have been as spectacular if it weren't for our guides and how the tour was conducted.
My partner and I had done the usual thing when a tourist goes to Siem Reap, we saw Angkor Wat and were amazed by the scale, and impeccable skills of an ancient civilization. We wanted to go more in depth into the culture, and figured that seeing the local villages would be a great way to do so.
We contacted Sabai Adventures, and agreed that the "Forgotten Treasures" moto tour was the best option for us. We wanted a full day of adventure, and we certainly do not regret it.
The next day we met up with Norman and So Chi. They came to pick us up from our hotel and took us to a quiet location to practice our moto riding. Both were extremely friendly and patient! I was a little worried about driving a moto by myself (as I have never ridden anything of the sort!) but Norman assured me that it's easy, and to not worry about changing gears so much. (Pretty much stayed in third gear the whole time!) This advice went a long way, as my mind would have been too occupied to take in the beautiful scenery.
Once we were all sure that my partner and I were confident, we set off on our eight hour ride!
We went in the wet season, which has a lot of plus sides! The rice fields were an amazing near neon green, the ride was nice and cool, and there were lots of children playing/fishing in natural pools. The terrain was sometimes a challenge, especially since I was a newbie rider, but this only added to my sense of accomplishment! Plus, the guides always checked behind to see if we were okay, especially through the wet dirt roads. They also stressed to us that if we ever needed help, a break, or a photo...! that we could stop at any time. Example, So Chi had to help me out of the mud (no hesitation on his part! not afraid to get dirty), he also rode me up a steep rocky incline as I wasn't confident to do it myself. The guides do not judge, and we all had a good laugh at my "newbie clumsiness".
Midway through the trip we arrived at the Beng Mealae temple, which was absolutely STUNNING. It truly looked forgotten, especially since it is not as touristy as the beautiful Angkor Wat. Norman accompanied us, and we also got a temple guide (who was not pushy). Our guide led us through the nooks and crannies of this temple (off the footpath). So we crawled and climbed through the mossy ancient rocks, while the guide pointed out great photo opportunities. We tipped him a modest amount, as we felt he made sure we were safe, and he was enthusiastic.
I have one thing to say to travelers who are going in the green season... They don't call it the green season for nothing... EVERYTHING is BRIGHT green! The rice fields, the grass, the trees, the temples...! This is why I will not forget this experience, everything looked so crisp and fresh, and the air soothed the soul. I wouldn't have my trip any other way, there were challenging times, but there were also very easy times when I could just ride, look around and wave to the wide eyed children and curious locals. (A local lady laughed at me for dipping the bike in a decent puddle and getting my feet wet!) It was incredible seeing country life, and giving way to herds of working cattle and water buffalo.
We made stops along the way for water, snacks, and lunch. We met a couple of locals who spoke no English, but So Chi was happy to translate for us.
Two pieces of advice, if you're going on a big trip like us, bring 1L of water (minimum) especially in the hotter months. Secondly, if you're lady, try to be modest in your attire. Wear knee length pants and a t-shirt, or a blouse over a singlet. The locals seem to be sensitive about exposed skin (especially white skin).
I've made a lot of effort in writing this review, because I believe Sabai Adventures are doing a great thing in giving tourists something that is priceless. That is to see into the kind nature, but equally, the resilience and utmost strength of the Khmer people.
Peace, and safe travels my friends.
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