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!
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, Nakhonratchasima 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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