Owning an off-road motorcycle tour company in Cambodia I get to see some incredible places. One of my favorite motorcycle tours in Cambodia is a rural village called DaSian, 100km to the east of Siem Reap. To get there by dirt bike we head deep into single track jungle trails until we come out at the deserted Preah Kahn Temple. My favourite of all temples in Cambodia so far, Preah Kahn has all the beauty of the temples at Angkor but without the hordes of tourists. Arriving late afternoon at this stunning location is just amazing – we’re able to ride the bikes right up to the entrance, the sun is setting behind the temples (which make for some cracking photos!) and we’ve got the place to ourselves.
After a hard day’s riding on tough trails, there’s nothing better than arriving in DaSian, being welcomed by the Chief of the village (our host for the evening), with an esky full of beers and a barbecue feast. We have on occasion even been invited to local weddings in the village, which never fail to be anything less than an amazing night!
While not every traveller will have the chance to be invited to a Khmer wedding, for those that do it will be an experience you’ll never forget. Be prepared to drink a lot, dance and drink some more! I’d seen a lot of Khmer weddings in the town where I live and in Phnom Penh but had never had the chance to attend one until we were on tour and staying in this beautiful village…
The fact that we were in a remote village definitely helped our cause – we were the only white people or ‘barrang’ around for miles and this novelty certainly appealed to the locals. We were getting ready to sit down for dinner with the village chief when a woman came over and spoke to us – our mechanic translated that we had all been invited to a local wedding. We finished our hog roast and strolled down the road… the next few hours were a blur! The music was insanely loud, drink kept coming & everyone was dressed to the nines, dancing round and round the centre table and every time someone shouted Joel Moy (cheers) you had to down whatever was in your hand, be it beer or rice wine. I know us foreigners must have all looked ridiculous, dressed in shorts and flip flops, sticking out about 2 feet above the heads of everyone else & attempting to dance like the locals but we had one of the best nights of the tour. It was impossible to sit down for more than 5 minutes before someone was pulling you back onto the dance floor – probably because the sight of us dancing caused so much laughter. Attempting to show them all a jig at one point certainly wouldn’t have helped the cause. I had heard that when attending a wedding you should bring $5 with you but the hosts refused and let us help ourselves to the drink available. So my advice for anyone attending a traditional Khmer wedding is to be prepared to laugh at yourself & for a night of craziness. Take your comfy shoes but leave your pride at home.
I think we were all in agreement that it was one of the highlights of the tour (admittedly an impromptu random night) and one that we have repeated many times since whenever there is a wedding in town, a friendly local and a group of hairy bikers.
This guest post was written by Anna Giddings, Co-owner of Ride Expeditions. Anna is a support truck driver, trip organiser, occasional blogger and lover of all things Khmer. For more information about Ride Expeditions visit Ride Expeditions.