Paleriders – Cambodia November 2017 Charity Ride
Gday Mr Owen, happy 2018, hope it’s a great one for you! Quick note to say thank you for the great trip back in November. We were sorting photos last night and just marvelling at all the awesome experiences from our all-too-brief trip. Where did the time go?!?! Although itinerary was similar to our previous trip five or so years ago (except it was backwards) we saw so much more. It’s just a great way to properly see the country and its people. The pick of our photos are up in the share folder please use as you see fit. Highlights for us, walking through the jungle with the elephants, the Nature Lodge..that outdoor bathroom.. oh, and the hammock and cows, Preah Vihear Temple, seeing real people and the smiling kids (dancing grandads), the food, the rum night, the sights and smells (not all though). In particular, the kids – visiting the schools and orphanage was an absolute highlight! Really puts things in perspective, a simple gift of a toothbrush bringing such huge smiles and appreciation was overwhelming. If we did that here at home, kids would want to smack us in the face! Absolutely love to see how happy people are there having so much less than we have here, yet so many of us here are miserable. So refreshing. We had an awesome bunch of like-minded ‘every people’ to travel with and even with the numbers it was great to be able to travel at your own pace and really take a good look around. Next time I think we would be more inclined to back off some more and cruise through the small villages and beautiful landscapes. The company, the people, the scenery, the food, the cheap beers – loved every minute. Cambodia didn’t disappoint..again! Beautiful people, beautiful country, just makes you want to keep coming back! Bonus was having everything so well organised along the way and a wonderful support crew. Congrats to you and the team & we look forward to doing it again one day – so much more to see and do.
Cheers and many thanks – Akun
Beanz and the Grogmonster (aka Karina and Greg)
Townsville, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2017 Charity Ride
I was recently invited to join Owen on his charity ride throughout Cambodia with the purpose of raising money for The Jesus School; to assist in providing much needed running costs to educate children who would not have the opportunity in normal circumstances. I had previously joined this ride in 2014, I enjoyed the ride then but doing it the second time is even better due to a little knowledge of some of the areas and with another plus; I got to enter other areas outside the itinerary, (some people called it lost I like to think of it as exploring). The food was exceptional; both local and western, fresh, full of flavor, which was enjoyed by all. The accommodation was second to none with large rooms, air conditioning and hot showers only costing $25-30 per day. I also enjoyed a couple of beers at only 50 cents, the more you drink the more you save. The route Owen organized was a good mix of coastal beaches to countryside over the 2500 km travelled in 16 days. For those who joined this tour and any future adventurers, that Owen, Sreyda and the support crew do this run at no profit for the simple reason all money donated from the riders goes directly to the school, no admin fees, no skimming off the top, if $1.00 is donated then it goes directly to the children and their school (give yourself a pat on the back Mr Owen, well done mate). I’d also like to mention that the riders of this tour were a great mix of Australians, English, New Zealanders, which always lead to a bit of banter over dinner, thank you to “ every people” for making my trip a memorable one.
Mackay, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2017 Charity Ride
Paleriders November 2017 tour of Cambodia
I met Owen on a 2016 motorcycle tour of Western Africa & followed his 2016 tour of Cambodia via Facebook. It looked like an exciting tour with the addition of making some money for the Jesus School in Phnom Penh.
So early 2017 I booked for the next tour, an excellent decision. I had a great adventure & it’s left me wanting more.
Owen put so much effort into the tour, it was unreal, which led to a great success. You get to see so much of the country, visiting so many different places, which you would never do off your own bat.
The accommodation was a lot better than I expected, with clean comfortable beds in a safe environment. Some of the premises were astounding.
We had no shortage of very good food & drink, all at reasonable prices, with a choice of western or local food to suit all tastes.
If you like to travel, motorcycles, meeting people & helping some very deserving people check out the Paleriders adventures, you won’t regret it.
Thanks again Owen & Sreyda, not forgetting my fellow riders who were so much fun & to Vien & Rath for looking after the support vehicle and all the bags! Oh & Mr Darryl as back up driver.
Graeme – the Englishman actually from England!!
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2016 Charity Ride
Testimonial for Paleriders – Cambodia: Anyone looking for a tour that will blow your mind not your budget this is the one. It showcases the best of Cambodia, it’s chaotic yet charismatic, I guarantee you will hit sensory overload! You will struggle to know where to look, is it at the indescribably beautiful scenery or the dusty mad chaos of the small country village? Every second corner seems to be hiding some variation of the dogs, goats, cows, chickens that wander about the place at will. There’s the roads with their patchwork of potholes and cheapskate repairs, wild mountainous landscapes with an abundance of natural attractions, thunderous waterfalls and pristine crater lakes, at the same time you are being given a big serve of roads twistier than a stick of liquorice! 2500 km, 16 days of riding thru 20 of the 25 Provinces that comprise Cambodia.
It’s a truly memorable journey, a phantasmic experience. With scenery straight out of a National Geographic doco. Awesome!!!!! I left with nothing but admiration and affection for the Cambodian people. Despite a beautiful backdrop, life is no picnic for the average Cambodian, it remains one of the poorest countries in Asia (read cheap for visitors); it’s a tough gig for much of the population, the readies you spend while having the trip of a lifetime helps local people and leaves you intoxicated by their infectious optimism.
By donating to the Jesus School in Phnom Penh you are giving underprivileged kids a leg up in life. Owen along with his wife Sreyda are terrific hosts, donating their time and energy tirelessly to this not for profit venture. Owen may know the roads less travelled but Sreyda knows where all the best culinary delights can be found. If South East Asia is on your to do list I highly recommend the Paleriders tour; it will both inspire and confound, and simply by making the trip you are making a difference.
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2015 Charity Ride
Here’s my testimonial from last November’s trip.
“In November 2015, I was fortunate to experience not just a motorbike tour around Cambodia with Paleriders Cambodia, but an opportunity to engage with the people of Cambodia, while providing some hope for children in need at the Jesus School in Phnom Penh.
Owen’s relaxed no stress persona, extensive knowledge and understanding of Cambodia, teamed with Sreyda’s engaging personality with locals, offered a fresh travelling experience with a difference.
Thank you Owen and Sreyda for showing me your Cambodia, and the opportunity to join the charity ride, helping the Jesus School in Phnom Penh.”
Paleriders – Cambodia February 2016 Ride
Just a brief thank you to Owen, Sreyda and all their extended family in Cambodia for what turned out to be one of my most memorable holidays ever.
I made an initial enquiry about a trip on 4th January and arrived in Cambodia on 10th February. Owen had organised everything – visa, licence, etc in an extremely short timeframe and extremely professionally. The itinerary was all mapped out, excellent support facilities, and the opportunity to visit remote areas, fantastic scenery, beautiful temples etc. This was my first ever motorbike adventure tour and the chance to experience the thrill of riding, the beautiful scenery, and the intimacy of hearing, tasting and smelling the surroundings, made this one of my most memorable holidays ever. Even the foetus egg with some lime and chilli for breakfast was superb.
The stand out memories were spending a night on a small sandy island in the middle of the Mekong and, for very different reasons, visiting the land mine museum where I understood for the first time how truly horrifying land mines have been for the people of Cambodia.
I shared my experience with several friends who had visited Cambodia on multiple occasions over the last few years. They were blown away at what I had experienced during this short trip and have promised to make their next trip by motorbike with Owen. In summary I highly recommend this trip with Paleriders.
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2015 Ride
Hi All. In November 2015 I did a motorcycle tour in Cambodia with Owen Holcombe from Paleriders.
It was a last minute decision and I really was not prepared.
It had been on my bucket list since I heard about the tour, but I just never got around to doing it.
In my opinion, it’s a life changer and one of those must do things to do before you die or while you’re still physically able to do it.
The itinerary is all mapped out with interesting activities to do each day.
I just followed Owen each day to see what wonders he had to show us.
Beautiful Temples, fantastic views and amazing scenery, from the mighty Mekong River to waterfalls, lakes and farmland.
Met interesting people, travellers and locals.
Experienced different food and culture, I mean real people, grass roots culture not just mass touristy fake culture.
The roads can be a little dangerous, so you do need to take care, but don’t let that put you off, as you can ride at your own pace that you feel safe and comfortable with.
Most days we only did up to 3 hours at a time, between rests or lunch or sites.
For me it has changed my life and I have already been inspired to go on and do other adventures.
Also the tour is done at cost by Paleriders and a donation of $50 USD from each participant (per day), goes to the Jesus School, which I think is a great cause and gives these underprivileged children a 10 times better chance in this life.
What I would bring:
Your own helmet.
Gloves that fit your hands (Shelter your hands from the sun and protect your hands).
A long sleeve jacket or shirt to protect you from the sun.
Limit the clothes to two pairs of jeans, two riding shirts, two casual shirts, two shorts, (swimmers), one set of thongs (flipflops), one pair of riding shoes or work boots. Select clothes that will dry faster if hand washed, in your hotel room.
Cheap set of throw over saddle bags ( so you have room to buy some souvenirs); you can buy online for as little as $70AUD.
Good expandable backpack or duffle bag; waterproof if possible.
Waterproof sachet for your passport and import items.
Good camera is a must waterproof if possible.
Bring anything remotely personal such as medication etc.
I hope to see you there,
Jomtien Beach, Thailand
Paleriders – Cambodia June 2015 Tour
Ben and Bianca Price toured with Sreyda and I in June 2015. They bought my last two Daelim 100 motorbikes, did a 7 day tour from Phnom Penh, up the Mekong to the Laos border, across to Siem Reap and finished at our home in Kampong Thom. They then continued onto Sihanoukville, Kampot and Kep on their own. We met up again a couple of weeks later in Phnom Penh and they generously donated the bikes to NACOPCA Orphanage. I was there the other day and was pleased to see the bikes still in daily use. Check out the two parts of Bianca’s blog post below:
Ben & Bianca Price
Geelong, VIC Australia
Testimonial for Paleriders – Cambodia
By Joe Nel
By Iain & Naomi Milner
Howdy Owen, we’re home safely. Thanks you to you and Sreyda for a fantastic tour around Cambodia. I know it was a logistical nightmare for you to plan. Three different bike types, plus a mixture of non-riders, road riders and keen off roaders. The tour was excellent value for money, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If time and funds permit, we’d love to do another tour with you sometime. All the best for 2015!
Iain & Naomi Milner
Adelaide, SA, Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia December 2014 Tour
By Wayne & Kay Shepherd
To our new special friends Owen and Sreyda – you have blessed us way beyond what we deserve. Thank you for your patience and kindness for our whole group. Kay and I have enjoyed this trip immensely – we love this country. You have shown us sights we never thought we’d see. You have also allowed us into your lives – that has been such a privilege for us. Thanks to all of your team. I hope we will ride together another day.
God bless and heartfelt thanks.
Wayne and Kay Shepherd
Adelaide, SA, Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2014 Tour
By Mick Robertson
Ririn and I would like to thank Owen, Da and the support crew Vien, Sokhorn & Sakhom, for a wonderful holiday.
The tour was excellent value for money, and we enjoyed every day. Owen planned and customised the tour to suit the dates and our available time. Our itinerary covered the big ticket must see attractions, plus many more that regular tours would not feature.
Paleriders is the only way to experience a country such as Cambodia. Riding along side local villagers, watching the sights and scenery pass at a speed where you can take it all in, not just a fleeting glimpse from a high speed tour bus. We could even smell the food cooking in the road side stalls. Food featured highly on the tour. A few new and exotic tastes, such as fried spiders (like crunchy fried custard) and sugar palm juice (like drinking nectar from an ashtray). We ate in everything from tourist restaurants, to village stalls and cooked our own lunch on the side of the road.
Accommodation was a good mix of local style hotels to keep the cost down and a few very comfortable ones, spaced along the route to rest our aging bones.
The bikes were classic. Sorry we broke one in half, but the fact that we were able to patch it up on the side of the road and complete the day’s ride, is testament to how practical they are.
Much of our tour involved the Mekong. This river is an image I have seen many times since I was a child, in books and on television. It was gratifying to see that much of it is still unspoiled and as I hoped it would be. The boat trips to the Khone Phapheng Falls and down the river to Stung Treng were a good contrast to the dirt roads and rural scenery. Massive sunsets over the pools at Kratie, swimming off the river beaches and dolphin spotting.
Temples also feature highly in a tour of Cambodia. Owen took us to a variety of sites from the ancient to new. The leisurely pace of the tour allowed us to view the sites at a pace that suited us.
Visiting Kar Chuoy Dai Orphanage and meeting the children was a confirmation that the tour was benefiting the lives of some young Cambodians.
Owen has a good sense for what people expect to see and Da has a strong mothering instinct.
And, a special thanks to Linda for her part in making the holiday unforgettable.
I will be back to do another tour, and help you rebuild the suspension bridge at the orphanage.
Mick Robertson (Wallabadah, NSW, Australia)
Ririn Kusumawati (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2014 Tour
By Linda Sharpe
WOW…..what an adventure!!!
Travelling through Cambodia with Paleriders is guaranteed to leave an imprint on your soul! Owen shares the raw, often untouched parts of Cambodia with the help of his enthusiastic Khmer wife Da. At any given moment, this trip offers the opportunity to safely and completely submerse oneself into the life of a Khmer local, or access the creature comforts us westerners are more familiar with….it is truly where East meets West!
Owen has the biggest heart, which I believe grows larger every day! His tours are so successful due to his passion to serve and support the locals at every opportunity.
Being lucky enough to participate in this tour with Owen, Da, Mick & Ririn, Anne (and of course the wonderful support crew Vien, Sokhorn & Sakhom) really was a NUMBER 1 experience!!!
Thank you Owen, for the trip of a lifetime!
Townsville, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2014 Tour
By Anne Robertson
To Owen & Sreyda in appreciation for a wonderful trip with Paleriders.
Recently I arrived home to Wallabadah, NSW Australia, after a great trip through Cambodia. Owen & his entertaining Cambodian wife Da looked after us from day one. Their attention to detail from meals to destination was second to none. From Phnom Penh to Seam Reap we saw and partook of village life as well as travelling the mighty Mekong to view magnificent sunsets, roaring waterfalls and ancient temples. Food & accommodation was very good. I am a 79 year old very fit lady,but I “sensibly” chose to travel in 4wd comfort. My son rode with the “bikers”. An eye opening & memorable trip – NUMBER 1.
Thank you both.
Wallabadah, NSW, Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2013 Tour
By John Boyd
Owen how are you? The trip was very enjoyable. The plus points were the people we met and the charitable donations made to the needy, I admire your dedication to helping people less fortunate. The only negatives were the old bikes, I think you need something more robust with more power. We were ripping the guts out of them to try and keep up, also you should have a contingency plan if a bike fails as Evan’s did. As far as I’m concerned you have just to fine tune it to be a good business. In the morning at breakfast you should show us on the map where we are going, I know we had an itinerary but would have liked to have known about roads etc and sights to look out for. I feel as if I’m nitpicking but these are my only negatives. I wish you every success in the future, it was a pleasure meeting you, Sreyda and the rest of the boys. Keep in touch.
Company Director, Waterside Motors Ltd
Note from Paleriders – Cambodia. We’ve taken on board John’s recommendations for improvement and on future tours will ensure that we discuss the route each day before departure. With regard to the bikes, we chose to run with the Daelim bikes because they are what most Cambodians ride in rural areas, they are very robust, easy to ride and parts are readily available. As the tour leader, I’ll ensure that we maintain a slower pace in future. There really is no need to rush on a Paleriders tour, the stages are kept short so there’s plenty of time to stop, take photos, meet the locals. If a bike fails on the trip we will make every effort to repair or replace the bike, in Evan’s case he wasn’t feeling well and was happy to travel in the car for the last couple of days so the bike was put in the van to be repaired later.
Paleriders – Cambodia November 2013 Tour
By Darryl Smyth
Hi my name is Darryl Smyth and with the permission of Paleriders and staff I would like to share my recent adventures on this tour. On a short scenic bus ride to collect our bikes we drove out of the organised mayhem of Phnom Penh though the natural beauty for which Cambodia is known. On introduction to your bike you soon realize that like me you haven’t been an avid bikie! That afternoon we took a short ride to an orphanage where some of the cost of the tour is put into produce for the children. Where as little as shampoo, toothpaste, and fresh water means so much.
On the first couple of days we rode north following the majestic Mekong River system, crossing it several times by barge. You will take in the vastness of the countryside and the simple living of the locals, riding through villages (uncongested), waving and smiling at the children as they cheer you on. Some of the roads are dirt and potholed after the wet which only enhances the adventure of the tour (which is what it is all about). Accommodation on the ride north is situated on the mighty Mekong River which is the life blood of Asia, weaving its way through several countries.
After a western style breakfast and heading north-west up towards the Laos/Thailand border area, it is only a short, scenic ride normally finishing early afternoon to where Owen and staff show you areas which you may not normally see. I was taken aback by the freshness of the local food and the vast supply of thirst quenching organic fruit on offer. Rice, noodles, vegetables have a clean, delicious flavour of their own (do your body a favour). Accommodation is what I would call 3 star, big beds, a/c, toilet, restroom, TV; I don’t think you will do any better in the area. The market areas at night time are good value and fun, as up north in this country there aren’t a lot tourists and it is a highlight interacting with the locals.
There were many highlights on tour, but for me and fellow riders it would have to be dropping in on schools, handing out pencils, writing pads, tooth paste/brushes which we brought over, a very small price when you see the smile and gratitude you receive on their faces, look into their eyes, words cannot describe how such a small gift means so much.
In summary, the itinerary is extensive. Travelling some 800 km on bikes highlighting some of the most picturesque parts of this amazing country.
Accommodation was second to none.
Meals are absolutely indulging.
I would also express my thanks to Owen and his forever helpful staff for such a memorable not tour, but adventure.
JUST DO IT!
Owner/Operator – Pioneer Grader Services
Mackay, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia September 2013 Tour
By Sarie Thomas
Recently I have had my eyes opened to the wonders of Cambodia with thanks to Owen and Sreyda. Although a small party of three we feel we were given the full experience and had quite a memorable adventure.
Owen and Sreyda are the most warm and generous hosts whose personalities complement each other. Sreyda was a force to be reckoned with when liaising with the locals to ensure a fair deal with food and shopping. Owen, an expat, who is ready to share much of the history, culture and his knowledge of a country he is passionate about and has called home for many years.
Our trip was during September/October 2013, a time when the mighty Mekong was in full flood and our itinerary had to be changed, which was of no great concern, as we still managed to experience the most amazing villages, temples and food, quite often with no other tourists around. The accommodation organised was neat and clean and at times quite impressive, and the choice of restaurants we ate at often had a small western menu if required.
We travelled Cambodia in the comfort of a van, a fact we were grateful for especially in the last two days when it actually rained. While travelling we had the opportunity to stop at any time if we saw something of interest or just to take photos. There was no sense of deadlines or time limits which added to the enjoyment of the trip.
To Owen and Sreyda I wish all the success with Paleriders- Cambodia and I thank you wholeheartedly for making my holiday so jam packed and exciting.
Personal Care Worker – Australian Healthcall Group
Mackay, QLD Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia September 2013 Tour
By Delvene Read
It was with a heavy heart and soggy feet that we departed Cambodia on the 3rd October 2013. We had said our farewells a few days earlier to Owen and Sreyda when we left Siem Reap and travelled to Laos on a pre-arranged side trip that Owen had booked for us. After experiencing Laos we returned to Phnom Penh to await our return journey to Singapore. Having been there for a couple of days the week earlier we felt very much at home here and made the most of the last few hours taking in the Russian and Central Markets.
The trip however was all about the ten days prior. As we flew into Cambodia we had an appreciation for the amount of water we were going to encounter on our journey. Everywhere we looked from the plane window there was water, water, everywhere!
We had an early morning flight into Cambodia and arrived at our hotel around 9am which was too early to check in. We were made very welcome though and were given towels and access to the pool and kabanas until our room was ready. As we were quite tired; this morning of relaxation was very welcome and an opportunity to unwind. That afternoon, after we had an opportunity to check into our room we met with Owen and Sreyda. From that very first meeting we knew we were going to have an amazing experience.
Owen and Sreyda are very generous people with big hearts and are very conscious of the needs of travellers; the diversity of cultures and what we needed to experience. Nothing was forced upon you but there were always opportunities to experience and taste along the way. We’d be travelling along and all of a sudden the bus would stop and there was an opportunity to buy some nice pastry or bread; the next stop – fried tarantula, or if you didn’t want to eat them you could let them crawl over you! These pit stops added to the experience and for some delighted their taste buds. It was an exciting trip as you would never know what was around the next corner.
For me, the trip was about meeting the people of Cambodia and being part of their community. We had several opportunities to visit schools, orphanages and to stay in Owen and Sreyda’s village. We were there at a time of celebration and were welcomed and made to feel very much a part of it. We were invited to the local temple dance and after lots of laughing as we seemed to have two left feet and hands that wouldn’t do as they should, we somehow managed to do a few rounds of the “dance floor” and had a thoroughly enjoyable night and slept very soundly afterwards.
This journey was a very moving experience. We saw some amazing temples, met some amazing people who open their hearts and share their homes, we gave generously on behalf from those from the Gin Gin craft club who had sent almost 300 t-shirts with us to hand out, along with biros, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners etc kindly donated by others. We also provided funds along the way to buy school books, a bike for an orphanage, rice for the kids to eat and had an opportunity to sit at school desks we had previously donated and to participate in English lessons.
If you would like an experience of a life time, contact Owen from Paleriders. I am not an adventure seeker hence why we took the bus as opposed to the bikes. If you are an adventure seeker take the bikes. I am sure you will still have as much fun as we did. The bus we took was roomy, sometimes we had 10 people in there and other times there were just four of us. No matter what, we had a fantastic time. Lots of laughs, lots of time to reflect but most of all very generous hosts. Sreyda is one of a kind and with Owen’s support will ensure you have a journey to remember.
Facilities Management Superintendent – Anglo Coal
Middlemount, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia September 2013 Tour
By Kirschty Birt
Three ladies with a sense of adventure were not disappointed when they enlisted the assistance of Owen from Paleriders to organise a holiday with a difference through Cambodia.
From the start of initial investigations Owen was full of good advice and tips on making the journey memorable. He was able to secure bookings for a side trip to Laos at a much cheaper rate because of his geographical location. He provided inside information about currency, weather and visa details. Much of which you can find on the net, but it was reassuring to actually hear it from someone with firsthand experience.
The trip was thoroughly enjoyable. We did not opt for the motorbike option, instead went in the support vehicle. Stops for food and coffee were at small local places and although our tour was off the major tourist route, we were well cared for in terms of hospitality and refreshments. Along on our journey was the wonderful Sreyda, Owen’s wife. Sreyda was great to have around as she was able to translate and bargain for us. She stepped in and took command in small restaurants to ensure that food provided was of the highest standard.
Owen and Sreyda provided chilled bottled water for the duration, and we were reminded often of the importance of remaining hydrated. The air-conditioned car was comfortable and there was plenty of room for the three of us, and our luggage.
Most of the hotel accommodation was prebooked via Owen, we found ourselves in a variety of hotel settings, from over-the-top ornate through to quite basic, however every hotel had air conditioning, free wifi and hot water. Simple pleasures when travelling through South East Asia. We ate at local eateries for most meals and thanks to Sreyda’s high standards and kitchen inspections we remained in good health for the fortnight.
Owen and Sreyda were able to provide us with an insight into the real Cambodia, we had stimulating conversation around the troubled history of the country and it’s possible future directions. We heard first hand of the inequalities in Cambodia – this is not the kind of conversation you would engage in on a more mainstream tour. Experiences had on this holiday are of the calibre that make you reassess your own western middle-class lifestyle in the most gentlest of ways.
Owen is particularly well thought of, and welcomed in many of the places we visited. I suspect this is a direct result of his ability to open his big Aussie heart to the people of the country he now calls home. I would urge anyone looking for a holiday with a difference to contact Owen via Paleriders and get involved in a tour of Cambodia. Owen and the Paleriders concept is testimonial itself that one person, with one small vision can make a large difference.
Thank you Owen for taking us (the Three Barangs) on such a wonderful journey. I look forward to visiting Cambodia again.
Head of Department – IT
Mirani State High School, Qld Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia May – June 2013 Tour
By Phil Bentley
After months of talking about the possibilities that this ride could present, I finally realised it was about to happen when we all met up at Blue Lime Hotel in Phnom Penh for a meet and greet night. The next day we travelled to Kampong Cham where we were introduced to what were to become our most intimate travelling companions for the next week, the magnificent 100cc Daelims.
The whole experience was meant to focus on trying to see Cambodia from a local’s perspective without the distractions of the more usual tourist attractions. Owen’s enthusiastic patronage of a local orphanage enabled us to visit there to meet the director and enjoy a friendly game of volley ball with the kids.
We also visited other places that Owen supports through Paleriders – Cambodia ; Mekong Blue Women’s Refuge and Silk Factory and later on in the trip the Landmine Museum, are two places that left lasting impressions.
The days flowed seemingly effortlessly due in no small part to the organisational abilities of Owen, his ever helpful wife, Sreyda and her cousin, Sakhorn, who drove the support bus. They worked quietly after each day’s activities, preparing for the next whilst some of us were busy exploring the local merchant’s eskys in the hope of finding beer and ice together. We tasted a lot of local ‘delicacies’ with Sreyda always making sure that the kitchens of wherever we had the meal were doing things to her standards.
We saw evidence of the tumultuous history of Cambodia at some of the places we visited and were made mindful of the atrocities that these gentle people endured. Some of the better known tourist attractions were left until the last couple of days which were spent in and around Siem Reap where we seemed to blend into the regular tourist hordes.
Because I know Owen and consider him a friend, I wasn’t too sure whether I should be super critical or lenient with my assessment of the trip. I decided to be honest. Being aware of the organisation required to bring it all together and the enjoyment value of the experience, then I would have to say that it was a truly positive and memorable holiday.
If you are looking for a five star holiday, I wouldn’t recommend this trip. If, however, you are looking for a five star experience combined with a lot of friendly fun, contact Owen and go on a Paleriders – Cambodia ride.
Senior Electrical Supervisor Trainer – Phu Bia Mining (Laos PDR)
Brisbane, QLD Australia
Paleriders – Cambodia May – June 2013 Tour
By Warren Poynting
Arriving in Cambodia for the first time and the thought of finally doing a Paleriders tour with Owen (after much talking about it) was an exciting feeling and something I was looking forward to.
After meeting up with our fellow riders, Owen and his wife Sreyda in Phnom Penh for the first night you knew the ride we were going to undertake was going to be very enjoyable and very informative due to the enthusiasm of all the riders and especially Sreyda who has got to be one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met.
Setting off on our first morning to rendezvous with our bikes for the first time and to get acquainted with the mighty Daelims was exciting as we had seen many of the Daelim bikes we were about to be partnered with for the next week scooting about the streets of Phnom Penh the day before and they seemed to be a nifty little bike that would be more than comfortable and robust enough for our trip and sure enough when we rode them for the first time over a man-made bamboo bridge to an island on the Mekong River they lived up to all the expectations. Now this bamboo bridge needs to be seen to be believed, it stretches over a fair distance and is strong enough to support fully loaded cars, vans and virtually anything that can fit on it.
The passion and work that Owen does for the less fortunate Cambodian people was evident in the orphanages that we visited on our trip and the fact that 10% of the cost of the trip is donated to various orphanages, charities and other projects that Owen undertakes is a very gratifying thing. We noticed at the first orphanage through the simple but very appreciated donation of sacks of rice, clothing, washing powder and toiletries (all things we take for granted), the smile on the children’s faces is a simple reminder of how fortunate we are.
The places that Owen took us to on the ride were real examples of Cambodia and through himself and Sreyda they give you an excellent insight into how the everyday Cambodian works, lives and relaxes. In some of the places we stayed we were actually the only Barang (foreigners) to be seen. It was good to be able to walk down the street, wander through the local markets, pull up a chair after a good days riding and have a cold beer with your fellow riders and not have to see or deal with other Barang is a real pleasure.
The locals are all more than willing to help you out even if it maybe through some awkward gesturing with hand signals but nothing seems to be a problem for the Cambodian people. Like the time we needed to replace the chain and sprockets on one of the Daelims , Owen just asked the receptionist at our hotel and within a couple of hours the bike was fixed, all for a very minimal price and Owen didn`t even have to get his hands dirty!! Then when it comes to food well you just can`t imagine how much the Cambodian people love to eat and with the help of Sreyda, at most locations we stopped whether it be on the road for a picnic or at restaurants the food was always good and the fact that Sreyda virtually takes over the kitchen to make sure everything is to your liking is a very funny thing to witness because as you could imagine if you walked into a restaurant in your home country and took over the kitchen you would be asked to leave in a flash but not in Cambodia where it is more than welcomed.
I would not hesitate in recommending a Paleriders tour to anyone who wishes to experience the real side of Cambodia and it`s people. Through Owen & Sreyda’s love and knowledge of the country and it`s people you cannot go wrong and as for the mighty Daelim bikes they have got to be one of the most robust and enjoyable bikes you could wish to ride, it isn`t all about the bikes on these tours it`s about the journey and the experiences you capture on the way and to have done it with my fellow riders, Owen and Sreyda made the trip a very memorable one and we have all agreed we will be doing it again soon. So don`t just talk about it jump on a Daelim with Owen as your leader and get out and experience Cambodia with a guy who has a passion for it`s people and it`s beauty.
MMG Sepon Mine, Laos PDR
Paleriders – Cambodia May – June 2013 Tour
By Tim Bentley
Many of the Khmer locals thought that spending a week riding a 100cc Daelim ‘postie’ bike for several hundred klms from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via the wilds of the Mekong valley, was frankly a silly thing to do for fun on your annual leave.
“Why?” was the usual response.
However, for me, the opportunity to step into the real Cambodia, an absolutely ancient country with people who, in my life time have seen such horrors, to meet the real Khmer people, to eat with them, play with them, be with them, and, as I found out, to experience their unique cultural calm, was just too good to miss ….. and doing it on a motorbike just rounded off the experience.
Now a 100cc Daelim isn’t quite a Honda Goldwing, so ‘touring’ takes a slightly compromised genre. But I have to admit, the plucky little four strokes puttered us around valiantly, and with roads sometimes not in the best state of repair, I was astounded at how tough these little bikes were.
The owner and co-ordinator of Paleriders, and also our trips ‘squadron leader’ Owen Holcombe, (who incidentally is one of those people whose composure remains indefatigable’), assured me that the trip required amongst other things a good supply of patience and a sense of humour. He wasn’t wrong. The experience moved constantly between adventure and holiday. Although sometimes challenging, it was never touristy, and was well considered, catered, co-ordinated and supported.
I would recommend a Paleriders Cambodia run to anyone with a penchant for motorbikes and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone…….albeit just a little..
Regional Director (Cairns) Principal
Paleriders – Cambodia February 2012 Tour
By ‘First Lady’ Karina
As I sat watching yet another brilliant sunset on my last day in Cambodia upon completing the Paleriders tour, I reflected on what had been a most wonderful and amazing trip.
For a somewhat novice rider, I was extremely nervous about navigating the Cambodian roads and traffic (not to mention the wildlife), and just generally staying on the bike on what appeared in my research as seemingly unpassable roads. The nerves passed relatively quickly as we embarked on day one towards our first encounter with the chaotic Cambodian road network. I quickly came to realise that conforming to the disorder was far safer than obeying any kind of road rules. Thankfully, the bikes were very easy to ride and I was amazed at how amid the chaos on the roads, the flow just seemed to work. It wasn’t terrifying at all.
The routes taken were tailored to the level of experience just right for the group, travelling at a comfortable pace with stops along the way. We explored hidden temples where few tourists go and experienced how people live, the same way they have for 1000 years. We had the absolute joy of visiting an orphanage supported by Paleriders in Kampong Cham, and played soccer with the kids. The amazing sights and smells of local markets were something to behold, and we witnessed spectacular sunsets, saw rare white dolphins and rode across the Mekong River on a bamboo bridge. There was something different to see and experience every day, and the people we had the pleasure of meeting along the way made it very special. From the young High School and University students who would come and sit with you at roadside stalls so they could practice their English, to the children who would run from their huts to the side of the road, waving with such animated expressions as we rode by. The joy you could bring with a simple conversation, look, smile and wave, for me was unforgettable. It was inspiring to see people so content and happy living such a simple life.
The whole journey was very well organised, ensuring we captured as many sites and experiences as possible, having a support vehicle and guide, with good accommodation booked in advance. With the outstanding hospitality of the Cambodian people and the local knowledge of our guide Mr Lucky and Owen, we were always well looked after. The food was good and the array of Cambodian beer was plentiful.
Owen’s obvious passion for the country and to see the support he and Paleriders gives helped make the whole experience unforgettable. I highly recommend this trip for those who want to get off the typical tourist trail and meet the beautiful people of Cambodia and experience how they really live. This was my introduction to Cambodia, the real Cambodia, and I loved every minute of it.
Special thanks to Mr Owen and fellow Paleriders for a wonderful experience. Thanks also for the great company of those travelling in the support vehicle. I very much look forward to the next trip. Akun!
Project Manager, James Cook University
Townsville, Qld Australia
Paleriders Tour – February 2012
Thank you Owen for a wonderful holiday! By joining your Paleriders tour we experienced so much more of Cambodia than we would have on a conventional tour.
Your organisation and management skills kept everything running smoothly. The riders and bikes, the 9 seater van and passengers, our luggage, accommodation, meals and rest periods, even over a long section of unsealed road, which was sometimes very rough and dusty, but none the less made enjoyable by a happy and compatible group of friends. (Especially the ones in the air conditioned van).
Special thanks must go to Paleriders (Sreyda, Mr Geoff and you). Thank you Mr Lucky and our van driver Mr Chandra who were at all times helpful & courteous, and last but not least our fellow travellers who have helped make this trip a happy and memorable one.
Highlights were a visit to the Helping Hand Orphanage to meet Hong, his wife Ton and “The Family” – a lovely group of children. Meeting Meng Aun, the staff and children at the Jesus school in Phnom Penh which was established to provide education to the children of the rubbish dump workers. Also a visit to a small school under construction in Chuuk Saht Village in Kampong Thom Province. All three supported in some way by Paleriders.
Crossing the Mekong River by barge, and watching the sunset over the water. Visiting an incredible bamboo bridge over the Mekong. Mingling with the locals at some of the villages to partake of some of their delicacies. An elephant ride was a must and a tour of the temples at Ankor Wat.
Thank you, and best of luck for future tours. We are spreading the word.
Lola and Linda
Deeragun Qld Australia
Kornburi school, Nakhon Ratchasima Thailand
This certificate is provided to show that Paleriders – Cambodia Tours donated a scholarship of 10,000 Baht (Ten Thousand Baht).Thank you and I declare that you are a person with hospitality and the public interest at mind. You have helped develop an understanding of the public as well.
I wish you a happy and prosperous future even more.
Mr Wanna Sombat
Director of School Education Kornburi
July 17, 2012
Request to assist with construction of a school – Cambodian version
I finally got out to Rern’s and was blown away by the change. I am really impressed as I was not expecting such a drastic improvement. Got some great ‘after’ pics of the property and everybody there was so happy! ………………..Buffalo arranged the gravelling of the driveway after you left, we are indeed very lucky to have him as part of our team, many projects including yours would have been much less streamlined and more expensive without his role.
Best of luck to you and your team, and I’m sure the building of your and Sreyda’s house will be a great project. Thanks so much.
Personal Assistant to Tara Winkler
Cambodian Children’s Trust
Over the last 15 years I have travelled through some of the most remote parts of northern Australia with various groups of mates and for most these trips Owen Holcombe took the lead in making all arrangements and also leading on the journey. From personal experience I would not hesitate to follow him into the bush again – anywhere. We travelled for adventure and for interest in the natural and human history of the land but mostly for just “getting out there”.
The key to a safe and enjoyable trip is careful and detailed preparation and everything else flows from this. I have often been grateful for Owen’s understanding of this plus understanding of the land, navigation skills, mechanical skills, cool and calm personality and a sometimes reasonable cook. Thanks mate, it’s been too long….
Global Risk and Reliability Specialist
Incitec Pivot Limited
I have gone on several of Owen’s motorbike tours ranging between 3 and 7 days. They have all been great experiences and we saw some fantastic places. Owen’s planning, local contacts and attention to detail are the things that happen behind the scenes and are what ensures everything runs smoothly. Another tour – sign me up !
Location Manager – Northern Territory
Owen put a lot of effort into the half dozen or so bike rides I did with him and a group of other regular riders. Owen’s planning was meticulous from the exciting bush tracks to the interesting locations, right down to the last mouthful of every meal Owen had it all sorted out. We visited some spectacular natural attractions and some truly inspirational historical sites in the remotest areas of outback Australia, and the ride to get there was always fantastic fun. It was no mean feat on Owen’s behalf to organise a large group of riders and all the gear required to complete these trips. Even when I unintentionally tested Owen’s resolve by having a bingle with a car, he came through with an emergency contingency that undoubtedly contributed to my full recovery. He even came around afterwards and gave me a hand to fix the motorbike! There’s very few people I trust to the degree that I do Owen, and he has proven his worth many times over. I’d recommend doing one of his tours to anyone!
Global Reliability & Integrity Engineer
Incitec Pivot /Dyno Nobel
When my husband told me about a trip he did with Owen in the far north of Queensland I immediately was jealous. I used to do some dirt bike riding as a kid and would love to have carved up the scrub tracks with the boys. The next opportunity we had my husband and I signed up for an Owen tour. I was a little nervous about how things would go being a girl on a dirt bike trip, but Owen’s friendly demeanour made it all ok. The awesome tracks were fantastic fun; the remote historical sites were amazing; camp locations were well planned, comfortable and clean; and chores & duties were shared amongst the group. Owen’s chosen paths catered for riders of all abilities, and I took great pleasure in blasting past some of the dumb-founded boys who didn’t expect to be rounded up by a girl! So ladies, sign up for an Owen tour, even if its just for bragging rights!
Wife of the VERY lucky Luke Bateman.
Hard, dirty, exhausting, strenuous, and unbelievably exciting when you get a chance to see remote locations by dirt bike as I did travelling with Owen in outback Australia. Riding with someone who can coordinate everything, including the fun, makes a great ride just perfect and hassle free. Owen absolutely showed he has the skill, not only on the bike, but coordinating, preparing and managing his tours, diligently looking after everything and everyone. Totally recommended…… after all you “just” want to ride.
I’ve only been on a couple of rides with Owen but they were great. The organisation was spot on with afternoon discussions with the maps and discussions of where we had been and where to tomorrow. It was obvious that Owen had done the homework with his knowledge of the terrain and historic places we visited.
I especially liked the way Owen had organised regular head counts at the turn offs and break points to ensure the stragglers never got lost as some of the riders were not very experienced. This became invaluable on one trip when one of the riders didn’t make it to one of the check points. A plan was put into action, the person was found and medical assistance was administered very quickly (the person had fallen off and hurt his collar bone). The person was then moved to a hospital with the use of the support vehicle.
Owen’s ability to manage issues also came to the front when a couple of people pulled out of the trip at the last minute. This changed the whole dynamic of the trip but because of the great planning there was barely a hiccup in the trip and we continued without an issue
Owen’s relaxed / calm nature allowed the trips to flow with casual ease and the jokes and stories to flow freely over an evening camp fire.
I’m looking forward to Owens next venture and will be watching the web site for another tour that lines up with my holidays.
Owen competently planned and organised a great two week off road motorbike trip in the wilds of northern Queensland. His knowledge of the local terrain, mechanical knowledge and safety focus allowed us all to have a fantastic trip seeing all the best places with informative banter and a good dose of fun along the way.
Technical Integrity Supervisor
Responsible Tourism in Cambodia
Tel: +856 20 22230787
Address: National Road 6, Samrong Village, Baray District, Kampong Thom Province, Kingdom of Cambodia.
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