Avid motorcyclists from Indonesia, joined by Cambodian counterparts, enjoyed the stunning backdrop of Angkor Wat last week as the Second Wonderful Indonesia Motorbike Touring 2022 made its way along the Kingdom’s roads.
The bikers from the Indonesian Motor Association (IMI) are set to end their epic five-nation journey in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on August 2, having set out in Malaysia before travelling through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
The aim of the Wonderful Indonesia Motorbike Touring is to strengthen relations between countries, as well as promote tourism and Indonesian automotive products.
“In 2019, the Indonesian ambassador in Laos had the idea that ASEAN should gather as a community in order to build diplomacy through motorcycling, and strengthen cultural, social, industry and economic ties.
“IMI thought it was a great idea and is always supportive of the motorcycle community uniting and going on tour together, in collaboration with ministries of tourism and other relevant ministries.
“And by bringing quality Indonesian automotive products, we hope we can become one of the choices in automotive Asia,” Abdul Hakim, a representative of the Indonesian embassy in Phnom Penh, told The Post.
He added that they wished to soon be able to visit India and Myanmar.
While the First Wonderful Indonesia Motorbike Touring was held in 2019, with 25 riders and five mechanics successfully completing the trip, the bikers did not have time then to pass through Cambodia.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw the trip cancelled for past two years, with it only able to be realised again this year.
The 17 Indonesian bikers entered Cambodia through the Poipet checkpoint before riding to Siem Reap.
“When the motorcyclists arrived, they gathered with the local community, while there was an exhibition to promote Indonesian automotive products at the Empress Hotel in Siem Reap the following day,” said Abdul.
The event educated on how to properly and safely ride motorcycles internationally, and exhibited goods from the Indonesian automotive and supporting industries, including helmets, apparel, engine accessories for improved performance, motor oil and various other products.
The exhibition, showcasing the effectiveness of touring diplomacy and promoting tourism and Indonesian automotive products, was attended by government representatives and members of the public, as well as Indonesian and Cambodian bikers and businessmen.
In his welcome speech at the event, Indonesian ambassador Sudirman Haseng expressed his gratitude to Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
Sudirman emphasised how such activities strengthen the good relations between the two countries, and at the same time increased people-to-people contact, especially among the Indonesian and Cambodian biking communities.
The ambassador expressed his gratitude for the support from the Cambodian government, in particular the Ministry of Interior, the governor of Siem Reap province, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
He also thanked Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, National Police and the APSARA National Authority (ANA) – a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Part – for their invaluable assistance.
Sophea underlined the importance of maintaining harmony and friendship between religious communities, with Indonesia having the largest Muslim majority population in the world and Cambodia being majority Buddhist.
Joel D Mastana, head of the group representing the riders, expressed his gratitude to the Indonesian embassy and the Cambodian government for their assistance and support in ensuring the leg of the tour in the Kingdom was completed successfully.
In addition to visiting Angkor Wat and other tourist attractions around Siem Reap, the bikers were able to exchange information and experiences with the Cambodian motorcycling community.