Welcome to Asia’s dirtiest off-road adventure

Photo: Neil petersen

To experience a unique cultural adventure on two wheels, you have to leave the roads and explore Cambodia’s wilderness off-road on a dirt bike.

“People say that traveling in a car or by road bike gives you wonderful views,” says Nick Capsey, founder of the Big Adventure Company. “But when you’re on a dirt bike, you’re smelling them, you’re feeling them, you’ve got the wind in your face. Off-roading takes that extreme to the next level. You’re standing on the [foot]pegs, leaning over the handlebars, with dust spraying you. The faster you go, the harder you fall.”

Welcome to Dirt Bike Adventuring 101, a unique spin on a traditional biking holiday that combines the high-speed thrills and spills of mud-splattered off-road biking with the cross-country cultural adventure of the finest travel tours. Think of it as Excitebike meets Condé Nast Traveler. That isn’t to say it’s pedal-to-the-metal the whole way. Going distinctly off the beaten tourist track brings its fair share of environmental obstacles—and problems can’t always be solved by tweaking the torque. 

“We can travel around 776 miles on a trip, but when you have deep mud, sand and rivers to traverse, the going can get slower,” says Capsey. It makes for a thrillingly unpredictable environment.


Getting close to the sites.

© Neil petersen

“Sometimes it’s down to your initiative in a situation,” he says.

“On a recent trip, the late monsoon season meant various bridges had washed away, so we had to rely on five local kids to fish out a sunken canoe, repair the holes using mud and then help us transport eight bikes across the river.”

And while you’re not exactly using pedal power, it’s still very much an endurance sport. “The danger element comes from how hard you’re pushing people in extreme weather,” says Capsey.

“Being in the jungle is a nice romantic idea, but you’re wearing an extra couple of pounds in serious tropical heat and you need to keep hydrated. It’s challenging riding that requires all your concentration. I’d compare the feeling to being at high altitude.”


Jungle obstacles are no joke. 

© Iain crockart


“Get as much time in the saddle as you can before you leave,” says Nick Capsey. “The more you understand how the bike moves beneath you on loose ground, the more comfortable you’ll be when it happens to you every day.”

Cambodia: More to Explore

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03 2016 The Red Bulletin

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