Down to lower parts of Siem Reap Angkor, globally known as the unique ancient temples land in South East Asia, Phnom Kraom [Mountain Kraom] is one of the most attractive tourist sites you should never miss after many other main touristic frequently visited spots in this holy region. Surrounded by wide ranges of glamorous stunning landscapes of vast green rice fields in monsoon season and huge view of nearby villages with hundreds of stilt houses seen from the hilltop, the mountain is located about 12 kilometre southwest of Siem Reap town which is approximately 40 minutes to get there by bicycle and roughly 5 kilometres up from prosperous Tonle Sap Lake.
Complete with an Angkorian sandstone temple built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman on the hill summit, the area behind the temple may affords not only the vista of Tonle Sap lake but also tranquil point from which to view sun set at twilight of the day which is neither very crowded by tourists nor inhabitants and is actually the right place for right sightseers seeking for private quiet and romantic golden hour. Since there are more than one way to get up there, visitants may reach the top parts of precious hill by stairway or vehicles on concrete trail that has been constructed to welcome not just walkers but even drivers and one whose bicycle is his beloved.
By the reason that Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor, the region has enormous potential for economic development particularly from hospitality industry. With growing numbers of tourists coming from around the world visiting the glorious temple park, more and more accommodation sites, shops, restaurants, etc. are being built to meet the need of such a foremost sector. Beside services mentioned above, companies providing diverse outdoor activities are also in the process of increasing dramatically.
Under the direction of authority calling for people to help preserve the environment throughout Angkor National Park sheltered in lush canopies remains eco-friendly, both tourists and Siem Reap insiders progressively tend to use more bicycle moving around the park. Unlike some other parts of Cambodia, obviously, bicycle is on its pathway to be promoted and fashionable in here.
Meanwhile, there live an enthusiastic cyclist tour guide of Butterfly Tours from Battambang living and working in a former sacred city, Borith always reiterates that I am in love with bike. After years of guiding the tours with experiences and passion to reveal the hidden glamour of such a treasured Kingdom to the world using bicycle to navigate the way, a strong young Cambodian university student has spent most of his times routing out virgin and non-touristic destination to draw out new tour itineraries.
Having had a dream to have his own bike when he was younger, Borith consequently bought his first beloved when he was at high school after nearly one year of hardly saving from scavenging junk for sell on weekends. Years later, being introduced to job opportunity with Butterfly Tours, eventually, a former junk collector became a senior tour guide in the company.
On behalf of a key person, a 21 year old cyclist always keeps doing somethings new and creative aiming to improve both his profession and teamwork. Even though his daily work is associated with bike, his leisure activity is also with bike. Thanks to internet, he learns more about this and randomly downhill mountain biking became one of his favourites. Therefore, Phnom Kraom is considered to be a workable location with this type of fun hobby for him and buddy on spare time as it’s quite close to town accessible with pedal.
Years living with bike leading to getting known by many other cyclists, he found that cycling is mainly an aerobic activity that’s beneficial to both people and environment. With this in mind, a young bicycle lover keeps telling himself that he will do something remarkable with it. Born with spirit of challenger, the young man always train himself to be ready for any competition. In late 2016, he took part in Siem Reap Championship Bike Race with more than 200 racers. As the result, he gained number 8.
As one of hundreds cyclists that’s always ready for the race, Borith has chosen Phnom Kraom as the best place to train himself with bicycle. For the most part of his free time in the evening, he rides up to summit of the hill and enjoys downhill happily with friends.
Considering cycling is a beautiful sport, every year authority works in close cooperation with relevant partners to arrange bike racing in Siem Reap with more and more participants and sponsors taking part in this event overwhelmingly. In an effort of the government and the ministry of tourism to turn the temple capital to remain eco-friendly, this is a good sign proving that the two wheels with pedal now is on its pathway to glory in this holy land.