Green E-Bike Tour around Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA- Foreigners visiting Southeast Asia will likely all agree on one thing: motorbikes are omnipotent, dangerous, and most of all, dirty. They can be great fun to ride, however: the allure of being at one with the landscape around you and experiencing the warm, sticky touch of the climate on your skin while you zoom along, drinking in the odious scent of your engine…
Thus visitors to Siem Reap will be disappointed to find out that they’re unable to rent a motorbike anywhere in town. Local legend has it that a backpacker got into a terrible crash and sued one of the local businesses, and since then the government has instituted and enforced heavy-handed legislation banning tourists from motorbike rentals. However, with every piece of restrictive legislation, a business opportunity presents itself: enter Green E-bike, a company renting re-chargeable electric push bikes that travel at speeds of up to 32 km/h.
Green E-bike was designed and manufactured by a French expatriate who saw a niche market for those who wanted to tour the temples of Angkor Wat on their own time, but were unable to do so because of the restrictive motorbike laws. Before Green E-bike, your two options for touring the temples were to join a large group tour on a bus, or hire a Tuk Tuk. While Tuk Tuks are generally cheap and the drivers know good spots to take you, as anyone who’s ever been on one can attest…they can be kind of a pain in the ass, for a plethora of reasons. There’s something about riding on your own that gives the experience a much freer vibe; and Green E-bike is just the way to do it.
Recommended cruising speed is only about 20-25 km/h to get the most out of each charge (which will last approximately 50 km before the battery dies). Fortunately, there are charging stations partnered with Green E-bike stationed throughout Siem Reap and marked out on a free map where you can stop are charge your bike.
After spending a day touring the temples with a Tuk Tuk, we decided we’d give Green E-bike a go: they give you the opportunity to stop wherever you want, and explore things slightly off the beaten path that would be difficult to get your Tuk Tuk driver to stop at. The bikes ride much like motorbikes, though the acceleration is considerably slower. You can pedal using your legs, but paradoxically this takes more juice out of the battery than using the “gas” pedal. Either way, these things are easy to pilot: if you can ride a bike, you can ride an e-bike.
The e-bikes make a great option if you’re looking to tool about Siem Reap with a map and your own agenda. It’s really your only option to do so, unless you’ve brought your own motorbike from elsewhere (you can rent motorbikes elsewhere in Cambodia and drive them to Siem Reap). Oftentimes you’re able to stop and see things you wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to do when you’re on your own—for example, we paid a visit to New Hope Cambodia, an educational and community charity located in a small village on the outskirts of Siem Reap. The folks that work at Green E-bike are amiable indeed, and since it’s still a new venture, they are eager to p
lease their customers and get their business off the ground. They’re incredibly helpful with any questions you might have about Siem Reap, or the bikes themselves. The effort certainly shows, and I’d highly recommend anyone visiting Siem Reap to give it a try. At $10/day, you really can’t go wrong.