Nov 8th

Tuk-Tuk rally in Cambodia

Renaud Kieffer
, , ,
Posted in:

Cambo Challenge charity rally

My partner Marie and I landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia, late evening on Friday 18th October 2019. We would participate in 2019’s edition of the Cambo Challenge by Large Minority Travel.

Video by Baptiste Griselle and The Car’tell

The Cambo Challenge is a charity rally taking its participants on a journey of nearly 1000 kilometers through Cambodia driving a Tuk Tuk. Ten percent of the rally’s entry fees goes straight back to local flagship charity projects in Cambodia.

Cambo Challenge The Car'tell Marie and Renaud
Team “The Car’tell” Marie & Renaud

As founders of The Car’tell, Luxembourg’s only Private Members Car Club, we are used to driving anything on 4, 3 and 2 wheels. We decided to put those skills to good use and entered the Cambo Challenge with 2 teams: Marie Guerre & Renaud Kieffer for team “The Car’tell”, Baptiste Griselle & Pauline Siccardo for team “Les Flûtistes” to raise additional money directly for the charity Kanner Wonsch in Luxembourg.

The rally would take us from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, in 6 legs over 8 days, from 19th to 26th October 2019, including one training and one rest day. Each team gets a road map and a daily navigational sheet, which they’ll use to get from A to B each day in their hired Tuk Tuk, independently.

The winning team isn’t necessarily the team that finishes first, it’s the one that accumulates the most Challenge points by nailing various challenges set by the organizers along the way.

Each day is different. Participants wake up, are told where they need to be that evening for dinner and handed a list of ridiculous challenges to complete along the way. The rest is on them to figure out. 

Strategizing on the evening before the start

Our strategy was simple. Stick together all week and help each other to score maximum points in all the challenges that the organizers would throw at us. We would compete as an entity, in the name of Kanner Wonsch.

It turned out to be the right strategy, both in terms of results and fun. But more about that later.

Day 0 | Training day | Saturday 19th October 2019

Up early for breakfast followed by the official registration to the event. We received our welcome packs containing branded T-shirts, an emergency phone, the briefing documents, and the weekly challenge list.

The Cambo Challenge is made up of a combo of practical adventure and photo/video tasks. The winning team is the one that accumulates the most challenge points during the week, both daily and weekly challenges combined.

The challenges are a mix of adventurous, cultural and ecological things. Sometimes they’ll involve the local community. Each one has a specific point value, and completing the challenge, awards you points. Simple.

The weekly challenges were the following:

  1. Creepy Crawly Treats: Take a picture of at least one team member eating those local Cambodian delicacies: Cricket (4 points), Larvae (4 points), Grasshopper (6 points), Giant Beetle (8 points), Stuffed Frog (8 points), Spider (14 points). Bonus of 2 points each for also collecting Khmer names for each of these tasty treats.
  2. Living on a prayer: Take a picture with both you and a local saying “Su-sa-dii” and placing your hands in prayer position (10 points)
  3. Tuk Tuk Tuk: Snap a picture of your three-wheeler aligned & parked with at least 10 other local three-wheelers and their respective driver – Can be old and/or new style tuks (20 points).
  4. Asleep at the wheel: Take a picture of a tuk-tuk driver taking a nap on his ride … obviously not while driving it (10 points)
  5. Shuttlecock: Take a picture of one of your team landing a proper foot-move in this local game (10 points)
  6. Shotgun livestock: Give us a pic of livestock riding shotgun on a motorbike (10 points)
  7. Overloaded: Take a picture of the most overloaded vehicle you see (people or objects) (10 points)
  8. Lotus Magic: Learn how to fold a lotus flower like they do in the local pagodas and snap a pic of one of your team doing so along with the finished product (10 points)
  9. Farm like a local: Snap a hands-on picture participating in a local farming activity (10 points)
  10. Fisherman’s friend: Take a picture of at least one of your teammates fishing. Bonus for catching one (5 points for trying, 10 points for catching one)
  11. Self-awareness: Use your creativity and take a memorable photo/selfie with everyone one the team. Something creative that will blow our minds (10 points). Bonus points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
  12. #cambochallenge: 10 points for an uploaded post with our hashtag in it to any of the major social networking sites. Bonus points for number one team who gets the most likes by check-in on last day (Bonus 10 points for 1st)

After reviewing the weekly challenge list we met the other teams. We were supposed to be 7 teams in total but 3 teams canceled last minute leaving 4 teams competing:

  • Team 1: “Team Zola” from UK | Michiel, Reg & Dave
  • Team 2: “The Car’tell” from Luxembourg | Renaud & Marie
  • Team 3: “Les Flûtistes” from France | Baptiste & Pauline
  • Team 4: “Jes we can” from USA | Jane & Jean Ellen

At 10:00 we started our tuk-tuk driving training around a Buddhist temple. From a technical standpoint, it is a mix between driving a motorcycle, a snowmobile, and a car… Throttle on the right hand, brake under the right foot, clutch operated with the left hand and gears switched with the left wrist (1-N-2-3-4).

The heat and humidity were crushing but we had a lot of fun learning to drive these little boxes on muddy tracks. So much fun that we elected to “have another training” in the afternoon. More driving and testing the video equipment together with Baptiste.

Cambo Challenge Baptiste Griselle Team Les Flutistes TukTuk
Testing the video equipment | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

In late afternoon all the teams got back together and drove to Angkor Wat to see the sunset. We then enjoyed a Cambodian BBQ in Pub Street. Tomorrow the competition would start, but that night we were all just a bunch of adventurers enjoying a meal together.

Day 1 | Driving Leg 1 | Sunday 20th October 2019

The first driving day of the challenge. Today we would get the keys to our tuk-tuks and start competing. For real.

Cambo Challenge The Car'tell TukTuk
Tuk-Tuk of Team The Car’tell | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

We were up at 06:30 and ready for our first briefing at 07:30 in Angor Wat. Today’s route would bring us from Angkor Wat to a campsite at the Svay Leu Buddhist monastery, east of Siem Reap, and today’s challenges would be:

  • Buddhist Offering: Find Banteay Kdei temple and create a “good luck” Buddhist offering for your journey (5 points).
  • Banteay Srei:
    • Which century was Banteay Srei built-in? (2 points)
    • Which religion was the temple dedicated to? (2 points)
    • Which God was the temple dedicated to? (2 points)
    • What rock was used to build the majority of the temple? (2 points)
    • What does Banteay Srei mean? (2 points)
  • Kbal Spean: Make your way to the top of Kbal Spean, walk and find the waterfall – stay hydrated! (10 points)
    How many Vishnu rock carvings are there? (5 points):
  • Find Beng Mealea: Find and take a picture of the “Churning of the Sea of Milk” carving. Good luck! (12 points)
First few meters in our Tuk-Tuks

On the first day, the teams were invited to wear funny costumes. The Car’tell came as bacon and eggs, whilst Les Flûtistes wore thai bathrobes.

The costumes didn’t help as we were running around Angkor Wat in crushing heat trying to find Banteay Kdei temple to complete our first challenge of the day.

We decided to split to have the best chance to find the temple, the girls, Marie & Paule on one side and the boys, Renaud & Baptiste on the other.
After being attacked by monkeys the girls decided to head back to the tuk-tuk where the boys were already waiting having figured out that it would be faster to drive to Banteay Kdei temple.

We completed the first challenge together and were able to complete one of the weekly challenges whilst on the parking lot: Asleep at the wheel, taking a picture of a tuk-tuk driver taking a nap on his ride.

Shortly after we arrived in Banteay Srei and, with the help of some guards, found the correct answers to all the questions of challenge 2.

On the way to Kbal Spean, we stopped along the route and had grilled chicken, fish and bananas. We also completed the weekly challenge “Living on a prayer” with the owner of the shop.

“Living on a prayer”
Cambo Challenge Khmer food
Road-side food | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

Full of energy we hit the road and arrived at the parking lot of Kbal Spean early afternoon to find team 4’s tuk-tuk parked all on its own. We decided to play a little joke and sandwiched them in with our tuk-tuks. A little friendly competition never hurt anybody 🙂

After a good laugh, we started the uphill 2-kilometer hike to the waterfalls. It took us almost 1 hour to walk and climb up in 40 degrees heat on a wild jungle path.

Kbal Spean waterfall challenge

Challenge 3 complete we tumbled back down and reached our last check-point, Beng Mealea temple, only 1 hour before sunset.
A park ranger helped us find the carving “Churning of the Sea of Milk” and we completed the last daily challenge just in time to drive to our overnight stop, improvised camping at a Buddhist Monastery, before the night set.

Team Les Flûtistes with the carving “Churning of the Sea of Milk” at Beng Mealea

As per our tracking, we drove 124 km on our first day and were driving or walking for about 8 hours.

That night we slept in tents, showered in an improvised well and killed a scorpion in front of our tent. It was also rather noisy: fighting dogs, diesel generators and snoring from our competitors. Nevertheless, we slept through as we knew we needed the energy in the coming days.

Day 2 | Driving Leg 2 | Monday 21st October 2019

5:00 AM. Buddhist monk on his microphone chanting in English: “Hello everybody, this is morning. Wake up”. So we did…

Route brief at 07:30 as we receive the road-book and challenge sheet for Leg 2. Today’s drive will go from Svay Leu to Preah Vihear.

Cambo Challenge teams Les Flûtistes and The Car'tell ready to rock
Teams Les Flûtistes and The Car’tell ready to rock on day 2

Our challenges for the day:

  • Noodle time: Find and feast at a local Khmer noodle restaurant for lunch (4 points)
  • Koh Ker Temple Challenge: Run the 162 steps to the top of the pyramid in the quickest time and draw the temple most creatively (20 points) in total. Also whilst in the temple park we had to find and take as many pictures of “Shiva-linga” as possible” (2 points each)
  • Decorate your tuk with items you have found along the way: You will be judged on creativity upon your arrival at the Hotel (from 14 to 5 points).

The first stop was a local fuel station close to Svay Leu market, where we refilled our tuk-tuk’s with LPG. Full refill.

Then we decided to hit the road, hard, and drove a good 50 kilometers at full chat to get some ground covered. Shortly before reaching Koh Ker Temple we found a village and decided we should find the local Khmer rice noodle dish “Num Banh Chok”. It proved to be rather difficult. After trying half a dozen road-side vendors we finally hit the jackpot and had 2 bowls of “Num Banh Chok”. Turns out we were the only teams to find them.

Cambo Challenge Num banh chok noodle challenge
Num Banh Chok noodle challenge

Because of our gourmet stop, we were the last team to reach Koh Ker temple. Strengthened by the local noodle meal we took 1st (Les Flûtistes) and 2nd (The Car’tell) place at the race up the pyramid.

The times so far were 4:50 for team 4 and 3:40 for team 1. Motivated to the max Marie completed the 162 steps in 2:45 wearing flipflops and a Kroma around her legs and Baptiste smashed all expectations with a record run of 1:45. Unreal.

Cambo Challenge Koh Ker temple pyramid
Koh Ker temple pyramid

On the drawing challenge, however, we placed 3rd and 4th. You can’t be good at everything, right?

Leaving the temple park we found and photographed 4 “shiva-linga”. No idea how well we placed on that challenge. We heard somewhere there were 8 in total.

Back on the road, we checked out markets and side roads to take pictures and video footage. Team The Car’tell shot a drone selfie completing weekly challenge #11 and posted it to Instagram with hashtag #cambochallenge thus completing challenge #12.

Cambo Challenge Team The Car'tell Selfie
Team The Car’tell Selfie | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

We also found inspiration for decorating our tuk-tuk. It would be banana tree leaves. Helped by locals we cut them down and loaded everything in our tuk-tuks.

Cambo Challenge decorate your tuktuk challenge
Decorate your tuk-tuk challenge

The daily challenges more or less completed we now had roughly 60 kilometers left until reaching our overnight stop. We felt confident it would be smooth sailing and were looking forward to taking a refreshing shower after our camping night…

It wouldn’t be that easy. The road-book mentioned an LPG filling station in Kuleaen city. It was on the way.

You see, our tuks ran on LPG with a capacity of 10 liters. On the first day, we drove 124 kilometers and refueled 5 liters. So we knew we could go 250 kilometers on a full tank of LPG. In addition, we had a petrol reserve good for 40 kilometers.

Even though it was only 80 kilometers since our last fill-up we decided to stop and get a fill-up to be on the safe side. According to our calculations, we should need between 3 and 4 liters to have a full tank. This LPG station, however, wasn’t counting liters but kilograms. That would mean between 1,5 and 2kgs. Team The Car’tell went first. The guy asked us to pay 4 kilograms or an equivalent of 8 liters. That sounded very fishy but no way to negotiate. Then it was team “Les Flûtistes” turn. 5 kilograms for them… OK well, the guy is ripping us off. After some heated discussion the whole village showed up and we understood that we are outnumbered and decided to leave.

Cambo Challenge The Car'tell Marie and Renaud
Team The Car’tell as fugitives

200 meters down the road Baptiste stopped as he looked at his fuel gauge in disbelief. He was now on reserve fuel. All his LPG was gone, even though he just filled up. We drove back to the LPG station and no surprise, the guy wanted another 10 USD to refill the Tuk-Tuk. Baptiste declined and asked for his money back, from the first “scammy” fill-up.

Nothing worked. No argumentation possible. We took a picture of the shop to submit to the organizer of the rally to make sure no-one else got scammed at this location. This however made the owner very aggressive. Something to hide maybe? Moments later the Police showed up and wanted to seize our tuk-tuks. As foreigners, we would always be on the wrong side of the argument. Trying to play down the situation we agreed for the Police to take us to the station to talk to the chief of police.

Arrived at the Police station of Kuleaen we truly felt like criminals, even though we had been scammed. They took scans of our Passports, went through the photos in our phones and deleted the pics we took of the mafioso shop. Finally, they brought us back to the shop and we had to apologize to the owner to “earn our release”.

Cambo Challenge Baptiste team Les Flutistes
Baptiste happy to be released from Police custody

A little shocked of the blatant corruption going on, but relieved to be set free, we hit the road again, at least 2 hours behind everybody else. With one tuk-tuk on fuel reserve…

No gas left in the Tuk-Tuk but some food left to share

Nursing it to Preah Vihear, at night, where we found an LPG station and refueled to the brim. We finalized the decoration of our Tuk-Tuk just moments before reaching the Green Palace Hotel where all the teams were waiting and cheering for us as we arrived.

The first prize for the tuk-tuk decoration challenge went to team 1, with their super cool Buddhist temple style deco, and second place went to team 4 with their original trash-plastic-bottle design. Well-deserved guys.

As per our tracking, we drove 131 km Leg 2 of the challenge and were driving, walking and sitting in a Cambodian Police station for 11 hours.

That evening team The Car’tell slept like babies unaware of the cockroach situation in the rooms of teams 3 and 4 and the exploding phone charger in the room next door…

Day 3 | Driving Leg 3 | Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Briefing at 07:30.
Today we would have our longest leg so far. 150 kilometers from Preah Vihear to the homestay community of Preah Romkel.

The challenges for the day would be the following:

  • Sing along to a local song: Use your social skills to convince a group of locals to teach you and sing along the popular local song NEA SERAI KOHMIN DOLLA (1st place 10 points, 2nd 7 points, and 3rd 5 points)
  • Market challenge: Buy following ingredients at a local market and bring them to the homestay community where they will be cooked for dinner: Ka-rrot (2 points), Mah-Teh-Plao (2 points), Khtam-barang (2 points), Sa Chruk (2 points), Kaht-nnaaa (2 points), Tuk-trei (2 points), Prein-chaa (2 points), Sko-saw (2 points) and Umm-bal (2 points).

During the briefing, we were told that we would see a big market at Chhaeb, a city along the route, approximately 60 kilometers from the starting point. So we decided to head there straight away. On the way we found a group of girls working in the fields, drying grain. We stopped and helped them along, completing weekly challenge number 9, Farm like a local.

Marie completing the “Farm like a local” challenge

The market in Chhaeb was something else. Pig-heads lying on the tables, in the sun, littered with flies. Pretty disgusting smell all around. Nevertheless, we decided to complete the market challenge and found everything at one stall with a super friendly guy speaking a little bit of English. We got everything on the list, except for the pork, which was way too disgusting. This didn’t impact our score as we found out that neither of the teams had bought it.

On our way out of the market, we discovered some pretty amazing roads on which we shot a couple of drone scenes for our movie.

We had roughly 100 kilometers to go still so we hit the road. On the way, we stopped in a little village to buy drinking water and met a young Cambodian who spoke pretty good English. He used to be a tourist guide. The girls asked him if he knew the song NEA SERAI KOHMIN DOLLA. He did so he took his time to teach them the song which allowed us to complete the singing challenge with flying colors.

“Sing along to a local song” challenge

The last 30 kilometers were on dirt roads. Dusty. Bumpy. Dangerous. It took us 2 hours to drive those 30 kilometers but it was worth it once we discovered where we would be sleeping that night.

Cambo Challenge Team Les Flutistes selfie
Dirt road driving | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

We had arrived at the Preah Romkel community homestay on the shores of the mighty Mekong river, right at the border with Laos. Wow. Our phones even welcomed us to Laos…

As per our tracking, we drove 164 km that day. A total of 8 hours on the road.

The sun was setting and we had maybe 1 hour of sunlight left. So we found some locals with boats who took us and team 1 (Mike, Dave, and Reg) to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. The Irrawaddy dolphin is a critically endangered species, with less than 100 specimens remaining. We got lucky and saw a group of 3 pretty close to our boat, just as the sun was setting.

Back on the shore, we were quick to find local beers and celebrate a day packed with adventure just before enjoying a home-cooked meal prepared with the ingredients that the teams bought during the market challenge.

Day 4 | Driving Leg 4 | Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Breakfast at 7:00 then we headed to the local community school to donate school supplies. Public schools are state-funded in Cambodia. However, children often don’t have the means to buy books, pens, and paper. Part of our registration fees were used to buy school supplies which we handed over officially to the school.

After that, we received our daily challenge sheet. Today would be an even longer leg. 200 kilometers from the community to the city of Kratie, where we would take a boat over the Mekong to Kaoh Trong Island for our rest day. We had to drive back those 30 kilometers on dirt roads to the main road, then race to Kratie whilst completing the daily challenges and weekly challenges along the way and reach the boat before sundown. Big one.

The challenges for the day would be the following:

  • Become more local: Buy a Kroma and learn how to tie it in three different ways/uses (5 points | bonus 5 points to team with most creative use)
  • Social challenge: As a team, create your challenge. You will be judged on your creativity and social responsibility for what you think best gives back to this beautiful country. (1st place 16 points, 2nd place 11 points, 3rd place 6 points, 4th place 5 points)

We left the community school and headed down the 30 kilometers of dirt road collectively, all teams as a convoy. We used the opportunity to shoot some camera and drone footage.

As we had such a long leg the day before with no LPG filling station along the way we switched our Tuk from LPG main tank to the petrol reserve tank. However, we ran out of petrol just 10 kilometers after the dirt road and had to switch back to LPG and nurse our 3-wheeler to the first LPG filling station on the roadbook in the first major city on route 64, Stung Treng. It turned out that they didn’t have LPG and we had to search a bit more to find a station where we could finally refill our empty tanks. Relieved we decided to head into the city center to find a Kroma.

The Khmer Kroma is the multi-purpose piece of cloth with many uses, including as a scarf, bandana, to cover the face, for decorative purposes, and as a hammock for children. It was made compulsory by the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot…

We bought one Kroma each for team The Car’tell and Les Flûtistes at the city market and completed challenge number 1 of the day.

For challenge number 2 we didn’t have ideas at that point so we hit the road again intending to complete it once we get to Kratie another 150 kilometers away…

Shake and bake (literally) on our way to Kratie

In Kratie, not knowing what the next leg had in store for us, we stopped at an LPG petrol station and refueled. They just had a large petrol spill at the station which was threatening safety so team The Car’tell decided to stay and help them clean it up. Social challenge complete…

Team Les Flûtistes elected to do something for national health and taught squats to a girl… Honestly, I don’t think neither of our teams scored particularly high on our “social challenge”.

Petrol spill clean-up at a petrol station in Kratie

Anyway. The challenges of the day were done and dusted and we headed to the boat terminal to catch our boat to Kaoh Trong Island.

We arrived first at the boat terminal, shortly followed by team 4, the girls of “Jes we can”. We parked out tuk-tuk’s in the middle of a tuk-tuk taxi stand and, with the help of Baptiste’s carbon fiber pole and wide-angle camera we completed weekly challenge #3. Boum!

Weekly Challenge #3 | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

As per our tracking, we drove 226 km that day. Our biggest driving day. 10 hours on the road, kicking ass, completing challenges and navigating our way to Kratie.

The sun was going down and so we took the boat over the Mekong to Kaoh Trong Island together with team 4. Team 1 missing in action so far. We would be reunited with them 2 hours later at the Hotel as they were running late.

The boat docked on the island and we walked the remaining 300 meters on the dried river bed, the Mekong being unusually low for the end of the monsoon season and were then picked up by motorcycle to our Hotel, the wonderful Rajabori Villas. We would stay 2 nights enjoying a rest day.

Day 5 | Rest day | Thursday 24th October 2019

A well deserved rest day for all the teams in a magical, tropical place. Each team had their wooden villa and mostly enjoyed the pool, cocktails and the odd massage.

Rest day was also dedicated to sit down with the organizer, Dave from Large Minority Travel, and submit photographic and video proof of the challenges completed so far.

As most of the teams had stomach problems by this time Teams “Les Flûtistes” and “The Car’tell” had other plans as Baptiste and Marie rented a scooter and went fishing, completing weekly challenge #10. No rest for the wicked.

Day 6 | Driving leg 5 | Friday 25th October 2019

The day started bright and early as we headed out to a nearby community. The Cambo Challenge being a socially responsible event, part of our registration fees went to buying several trees that we helped plant to offset our carbon emissions for the week and kickstart reforestation initiatives on the island of Kaoh Trong.

We were then handed our daily road-book and challenge sheet. Today we would cross the Mekong river back to Kratie and drive to Kampong Cham following the river south.

The organizer hinted that team 4 was in the lead so far in the competition. Being rather competitive and representing our favorite charity Kanner Wonsch we needed to push more to bring both team 2 (The Car’tell) and team 3 (Les Flûtistes) to the top of the leaderboard.

Planting trees on the island of Kaoh Trong

On the boat back to Kratie we devised a plan. All non-subjective challenges left would be ours. We would go over and beyond from now on.

The daily challenges for day 6 were as follow:

  • Cleanup campaign: Collect trash as you go (20 points for a full bag). 10 points bonus to the team that collects the most beyond this.
  • Traditional Khmer Window Shopping: Your challenge is to snap as many different colored windows of traditional Khmer houses. (2 points per color)

We knew we could do well in those challenges. The more trash the better. The more windows, the better.

So we left our Tuks parked in Kratie and went to buy extra trash bags. We now had 10 bags in total between our 2 teams and intended to fill all of them to the brink. In the same shop, we also found “shuttlecocks” for sale, used to play some local sort of foot-badminton. We bought 2 and played in the streets with some local kids, thus completing weekly challenge #5.

Marie landing a foot-move playing shuttlecock

At this point, we had completed 8 of the 12 weekly challenges. In Kratie we walked around at took pictures of beautifully colored Khmer wooden windows.

By the time we reached the next city, Chhlong, we had completed 2 more. Challenge #6, taking a picture of livestock riding on a motorbike and challenge #7, taking a picture of the most overloaded vehicle you see.

We had 2 more weekly challenges to go. Lotus Magic and Creepy Crawly Treats. We knew we could manage those on the last day of the challenge and thus concentrated on gathering as much trash as possible and photographing as many different window colors as possible.

We had to cross the Mekong once again to reach our evening destination, the city of Kampong Cham. The road-book was mentioning a bridge but around 100 kilometers into our journey we discovered a car-ferry that could take our trusty tuks back to the western shore of the Mekong. Plus it would look bad-ass on the drone footage. So that’s what we did. We lined up, bought the tickets and enjoyed the ride across the river.

Disembarking was a bit of a challenge with our tiny tuks but we didn’t fall into the river. Now it was smooth sailing along the western shore of the Mekong to Kampong Cham, collecting trash and taking pictures.

We arrived in Kampong Cham as night fell. 134 kilometers, in 10 hours, spent mostly looking for garbage and windows…

Our 10 bags were full of trash, stacked high inside our tuks. But it wasn’t enough. We wanted to make sure that nobody would beat us on this. So we scoured the streets back and forth, found empty cardboard boxes and ropes and tied them to the roof of our tuks, filling them with trash and old tires before heading to our Hotel. It comes as no surprise that we collectively won that challenge and decided to split the bonus points equally between our two teams. Turns out, we gathered the most trash ever of any of the previous Large Minority events.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Shortly after we arrived at the Hotel and removed all the garbage from our tuks, a group of young street kids arrived and asked if they could have it. Indeed they were collecting trash and reselling it. Of course, they could have it. It made their day.

Day 7 | Driving leg 6 | Saturday 26th October 2019

The final day. Briefing at a very friendly 8:00 for a day which would see us fight to win.

The last day would be a run to the capital, Phnom Penh with the following challenges:

  • Pyjama Party: As you may have noticed there seems to be an undying love for pyjamas in Cambodia. Everyone in your group must join the party. 10 points for finding pyjamas, 5 bonus points for wearing them at the finish line.
  • Create your challenge: This challenge will be judged on creativity, difficulty and overall fun. (1st place 10 points, 2nd 7 points, 5 for participating).

As the teams were leaving in their tuks we decided to stay behind and gather our thoughts. As it stood we had 4 challenges to complete. Two weekly; eating insects and learning how to fold a Lotus flower and the two challenges of today; finding pyjamas and creating our challenge.

As we were in a rather large city we decided to get all 4 challenges sorted now and then. We calculated that we had around 3 hours before having to hit the road.

The Car’tell’s challenge would be to convince a shop owner to park our tuk-tuk inside his store for a picture. Les Flûtistes decided to pack as many people inside their tiny 3-wheeler as possible.

So we split up. Baptiste and Marie would head to the market together and try to find insects to eat. Marie would also find a shop owner cool enough to let her park her tuk inside and Baptiste would find locals small enough to pack them into his.

Pauline and I would also go explore the market to find pyjamas for both teams and real Lotus flowers together with someone who could teach us how to fold them like they do in Buddhist temples.

We would meet back at the hotel after 1 hour.

We found pyjamas. Not my size but anyway, it would do. Then we harassed at least 10 flower shop owners. Nothing. We were getting desperate. We then hear a guy calling us and it turned out he had real Lotus flowers. It took a good 30 minutes and many destroyed bulbs but we learned how to fold them. Challenge completed.

Marie and Baptiste hadn’t found insects but they knew where we could find them. A city named Skun, conveniently on the road to Phnom Penh. Roughly 50 kilometers, or 2 hours from here.

Marie had managed to convince a shop owner to park her tuk inside his shop and Baptiste had packed 10 locals into his ride.

So 3 challenges completed out of the 4 remaining. Take that, Cambo Challenge.

We got lost a little trying to find the way out of Kampong Cham but eventually hit the road to Phnom Penh and reached the market in Skun just in time for lunch… a crispy crawly lunch…

Marie and Baptiste bit the bullet on this one. They each ate a larvae, a cricket, a grasshopper and a tarantula spider. We couldn’t find the stuffed frog nor the giant beetle but we knew that this challenge wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. Good points on this.

Marie eating larvae
Marie eating cricket
Marie eating grasshopper
Marie eating tarantula

It was now time to bring our Tuks back home safely. 80 kilometers to go to Phnom Penh. All challenges completed. Nothing left out.

A little sad that we only had 80 kilometers left in our adventure we took to the road. Preserving both machine and team members.

Every kilometer we came closer to this 2 million capital the chaos became more intense. Marie was driving our tuk-tuk and loving it. Honking, swerving through traffic and smiling all the way.

Shortly before reaching the center we stopped and put our pyjamas on. We crossed the finish line at the National Museum of Cambodia at 15:12, unaware of our rankings, but confident that we did pretty good, especially the last 2 days.

Cambo Challenge The Cartell and Les Flutistes
Teams The Car’tell and Les Flûtistes at the finish line | Photo by Baptiste Griselle

After check-in at Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel, we sat with the organizer, Dave, and submitted all our picture and video evidence documenting that we had completed all the challenges of the week.

The only thing left for us to do was to take a shower, enjoy the rooftop bar and order happy-hour cocktails until the award ceremony at 20:00 to know how we performed.

The final results

Teams “Les Flûtistes” and “The Car’tell” took 1st and 2nd place respectively in addition to following awards:

  • Coolest team: Les flûtistes | An award given to the team who, no matter what you throw at them, remains cool and stylish throughout.
  • Best dressed: The Car’tell | For the most silly costumes on the first day of the challenge.
  • Make it count award: The Car’tell | For the most money raised to their home charity organization.
  • The most plastic collected: shared award between The Car’tell and Les Flûtistes | Never in the history of Large Minority Travel events has anyone collected as much trash.

Third place went to team 4, “JES we can”, and team 1, “Team Zola”, came in 4th in total.

Dave from Team Zola won the award for the tree planted which is most likely not to die. Mike, thanks to his pedicure, received the award for most fancy feet and team JES we can took the coveted best spirit award.

Final evening and award ceremony

Both teams, The Car’tell and Les Flûtistes are super proud to have contributed to the incredible efforts of Kanner Wonsch. The adventure was even more incredible knowing that we made a difference at home too.

Cambo Challenge Loxo Watch
Our trusty Loxo Watch

We would like to thank Loxo Watches for their wonderful donations to Kanner Wonsch, both in-kind and monetary. And most and foremost, thanks to each person, member of The Car’tell and from the public for your individual donations. You guys are making a difference!

Image gallery