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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Let's get lost - a journey without maps

Let's get lost - a journey without maps

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In the foothills of a mountain range west of Highway 5 you might find a wooden bridge, some jungle, and some sought-after solitude.

Escaping the Penh can be as simple as a bike, a day, a friend – and no fixed plans

THE expression "it's not about the destination, it's the journey" rings true in life - particularly when you are on a dirt road in the provinces with no plans, no worries - and no idea where you are going.

But whether you are driven by wanderlust, or simply a need to escape the claustrophobia of the city, a random excursion down the Kingdom's back roads might be just what the doctor ordered.

While the temples and pagodas at the main tourist sites are indeed interesting, even spectacular, sometimes you just need to escape the tourists.
Perhaps this is what Jean-Paul Sartre had in mind in No Exit when he famously wrote, "Hell is other people".

So, for the price of a few litres of fuel, and $12 to $15 for a dirt bike, you can run the gauntlet of National Highway 5 north to Udong, Kampong Tralach or Rolea B'ier - or really anywhere in between - and hang a left.

These back roads meander through rice paddies, coconut palms, small villages, across the railway line, and on out to the mountains.
Take plenty of water and sunblock, especially if you have your hands on the controls. Throw away the map, and head for the hills.
Or you might want to ask the locals for directions to a local pagoda.

When heading back in the afternoon, keep the sun over your right shoulder, and you should find the highway again.
With a bit of luck.

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WORDS AND IMAGES BY MARK ROY

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