Cambodia, unlike Thailand, is still a 3rd world country and that’s exactly what makes it charming. For Westerners who are seeking a place not so organized, clean, safe, reliable, expensive, with busy people, etc as their homeland, it's especially a good choice. Cambodia is quite chaotic, rather dirty (except most hotels), crazy, amusing, with lots of smiling faces and children.
For the cyclists who like off road cycling its ideal as most roads aren't even sealed, and if they are, they are far from in perfect condition, however if you head off most main roads there is barely any traffic.
Cambodia from a distance can be very difficult to grasp due to its very hard time in contemporary history, you really need to experience it first hand to truly gain an understanding.
From 1975 to 1978 the communist regime, Khmer rouge, murdered a quarter of Cambodia’s population which is as many as 2 million innocent people.
Even after Vietnam’s military intervention, which has put an end to the genocide, the Khmer Rouge continued a guerrilla war, supported by too many other countries, against the new government for about two decades.
Although peace has been restored for almost 20 years, this unfortunate destiny affects the country even to this day. For some visitor this might be upsetting, but for others an amazing experience to witness how the nations young people (average age 25) try to bring the country back to where its once was.
From the point of view of the cycle tourist each region has its own particular attractions. There is the seaside in the South and there are mountains in the South East which are quite a workout. It's interesting to cycle from Phnom Penh towards the North West of the country or Laos along the Mekong river, the 6% Muslim minority add many vibrant colours to this raw experience which is Cambodia.
There are a few things that travellers and cycle tourists need to be aware of before they start their tour in a place like Cambodia: Medical and hygiene standards are low, roads are usually dusty and often in a really bad condition. On main roads or large cities (which can easily, but not completely be avoided) reckless motorists must be expected.
A Swiss Tourer course can really help to reduce problems and hazards. Those who cannot, or do not want to invest in such training should at least spend some time investigating the possibilities for medical assistance and plan for emergencies.
On the positive side we find generally clean hotels or guest houses all over the country, exceptional beaches, very cheap prices, minimal crime and a cheerful, welcoming population.