Cambodia & Vietnam community cycling vacation

“Have an adventure on two wheels, and give back as you go. On this 12 day cycle from Cambodia to Vietnam you’ll go off the beaten track, and visit the local NGOs making a difference in the two countries. ”

Highlights

Phnom Penh | Killing Fields | Chisaur Mountain Temple | Kampot | Bokor Mountain | Preah Monivong National Park | Kep Province | Ha Tien | Mekong Delta | Can Tho | Ho Chi Minh | Cu Chi Tunnels | Visit and donate to NGOs

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24 Nov 2019
£1370
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09 Dec 2019
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22 Dec 2019
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02 Jan 2020
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03 Feb 2020
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17 Feb 2020
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09 Mar 2020
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11 Jan 2021
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25 Jan 2021
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08 Feb 2021
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08 Mar 2021
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Responsible tourism

Cambodia & Vietnam community cycling vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

As we supply water for the riders from the support van during transit days, we provide the riders with their own water bottle and purchase water in the form of a 50L drum in an effort to reduce the vast amount of plastic from the many 330ml bottles.

WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene)
We partner with NGOs who are actively involved in the WASH program, manufacturing and distributing various water filters and tanks to people in need. From these NGOs, we engage with, learn from and at times, sponsor WASH program based projects.

Local Impact:
Being a cycle based operation, we are conscious of our carbon footprint and aspire to have a low impact on the environment. Our internal environmental policy ensures we only ever leave footprints (and cycle tracks) and only ever take photos.

Agricultural Wildlife:
We support, engage with and introduce you to NGO partners that are actively involved in many agricultural pass-on programs to enable positive animal welfare with people empowerment and resources. We also avoid all tourist orientated animal experiences where wildlife is taken out of it's natural surrounding for tourist interactions ie- Angkor elephant rides etc. Previous projects the groups on our tours have undertaken is the purchase of cows and buffalo's for families to assist with local farming. These assets have a pay it forward program where offspring of the animal is then donated to similar socio-economic status families within the village, in consultation with the village chief and local NGOs.

Fast Fashion:
The garment industry is one of the largest in Cambodia and provides employment to thousands of people. However, with international brands taking advantage of cheap labour, the end result is inexpensive fashion items for the international consumer. The questions we explore are the controversy around the wages and how it has evolved, the conditions of the factories and the roles and responsibilities of the international brands involved. We are actively engaged in activities that encourage the riders to be aware of the ‘fast fashion’ industry.

Community

We have recently become an official supporter of Child Safe, where we have pledged to support the practices to keep children safe. From this, we take all our riders to Friends International (or an official partner of) for the riders to witness a presentation as to what responsible tourism is all about. We engage in a healthy debate as to the current ‘orphanage crisis’ in Cambodia and other developing countries and the influence of tourists that have created this market. This incredibly powerful eye opening is a great introduction for the riders experience.

As part of our child protection policy, we do NOT interact or engage with any children at schools or nurseries. We do NOT offer or promote any short term unskilled volunteer opportunities, nor do we allow any photography of, or interaction with, children during any NGO visits.
We actively promote and support the ‘Children are not tourists attractions’ campaign from Child Safe.

Donations to charities:
For every tour, all riders are requested to contribute a nominal sum for the purpose of donation. Usually A$200 per rider. During the course of the tours, the riders are given the chance to engage with, and learn from, local NGOs. We visit no less than four NGOs during every tour and spend some time learning about their projects, strategies and challenges. At the end of the tour, the riders are then empowered with new found knowledge and have the opportunity to combine the allotted donation money and make an impact towards a project of their choosing. Of the four tours completed so far, we have already donated over A$5000 to various NGOs within Cambodia.

Some of these projects include going towards the salaries of local teachers, we have funded the construction of breakfast gardens (to feed the children from the local NGO supported pre-school), invested in vocational training for imprisoned youths in order to enhance the chance of rehabilitation, funded gender based violence awareness campaigns in rural areas and funded youth centers in order to reduce dependency on institutions for children.

Contributions to charities as partners:
In addition to promoting and marketing our partnered NGOs, we also pay each NGO for their time and resources of the tours interactions. This time usually lasts no longer than 1-2 hours and all NGOs are renumerated regardless as to whether or not there is a follow up donation from the group.

Local institutions and employment
We hire locally for transport assistance and support van. We also support local businesses as opposed to international franchises in all restaurant and hotel choices. In addition, we actively seek out social enterprise based restaurants to include in tour packages. These restaurants are often connected to local NGOs and use the restaurants as training facilities for empowering disadvantaged youth.

Places we visit:
In this particular tour, we visit three NGO supported social enterprise based training restaurants. These places not only offer exceptional food, but also work with the local community in providing vocational skills to disadvantaged youth. These thorough training programs form a fantastic grounding for a career in the hospitality industry upon completion of the program.

5 Reviews of Cambodia & Vietnam community cycling vacation

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 03 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Cycling through rural areas away from mass tourism, having contact with local people in their communities, trying their food and leaning about their lives.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


My husband and I cycle regularly (road bikes) so didn’t have too much trouble completing the long days in the saddle. Towards the end we appreciated borrowing paddle seat covers as the time in the saddle was long towards the end. Warm temperatures and high humidity some days made it challenging going for those not acclimatized or less fit. Be mindful of staying hydrated, we used sports rehydration tablets regularly, so remember to pack them as they were not really available to buy (only rehydration sachets from the pharmacy). Also read up on the history of the region to fully appreciate the challenges communities have faced in the past and how those challenges impact moving forward.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic exploratory trip through Cambodia and the south of Vietnam. Physically
challenging and at times mentally challenging being confronted with the history of this region. Well organized support team in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Reviewed on 01 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Perhaps my most memorable moment was seeking refuge in a humble home during torrential rain, lighting and thunder. The family was very welcoming and
the first occasion when I had Vietnamese coffee followed by green tea. My (very) white skin was much admired !!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Use thin lightweight, breathable fabrics that are short and long sleeve. They can easily be hand-washed. Some cycling tops are ideal as they provide useful
pockets. A bag you can easily attach/detach from a bike is useful. It's too hot for a rucksack ! A breathable baseball cap with a piece of cloth sewn on the back
to cover your neck is a useful piece of kit. As is a small piece of cloth to mop ones brow. Use short fingered padded gloves, and well vented footwear.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, as we frequented local cafes , restaurants , shops and other facilities. The impact of bikes on the environment being minimal.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was my first cycling tour and much better than anticipated. I'm glad I spent months training as the cycling can be gruelling at times, not so much the
distances but the heat. It was wonderful to escape the cities and to see rural Cambodia and Vietnam. The accommodation and food throughout was better
than expected. I'm vegetarian and there was always something available. The food can be quite exquisite and very cheap. It was a pleasure to visit various
NGO's and thought provoking. I wanted a vacation to escape my 'comfort zone' and I got it.

Reviewed on 10 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The wonderful greetings given by all the families as we cycled through villages. The incredible temples in the middle of the countryside and spectacular scenery. Of course, you can't forget the early morning cycle to Angkor Wat and the splendour of these temples. We also loved the impromptu boat rides when the road disappeared under water. Our guides were amazing and the visits to the
NGOs were inspiring.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for some incredible experiences, some extremely varied cycling, from the craziness of Phnom Penh to the isolation of dirt tracks through the paddy fields. Enjoy the local food and try as many restaurants run by Friends International as possible!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, the visits to the NGOs were inspiring and we have not only made our stipulated contributions (which we considered a brilliant idea) but we also now support them monthly. Local impact was kept low and positive and it was fantastic to see how some of the NGOs were helping to sustain village life and crops

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The most amazing experience for us all, whether we were young adults in
their twenties or in our fifties!

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Visiting th NGOs, cycling out of Phnom pehn, flighting through sand in the midday sun, cycling through rice fields, conquering a 20k mountain climb or cycling into the chaos of Saigon/ hoi chi mihn? Too many to mention....

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Do some training .. get just some saddle time in so that you are used to a few hours on the bike. Don't expect western culture or cuisine ... it rice and noodles and mor rice and noodles. Delicious but a mental shift for breakfast.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes absolutely. Brett really made sure the hotels and ngo visits really focussed on local economy and culture.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Bloody brill ain't. Not life changing but a shift off the norm. Opened your eyes and brought me back to reality from 10 years of corporate safety net. Do these vacations ... really open your eyes to what is going on I our world and the wonderful, friendly smiley people who are out there.

Reviewed on 02 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Very hard to pick just one element of the trip, it was all memorable. Cycling through Vietnam and Cambodia gives you a chance to immerse yourself in
local life in a way that traveling by any other means would have been impossible. We cycled well off the beaten track, through villages and paddy fields, along dirt tracks and local paths. We ate incredible local, fresh food and visited some fascinating places on the rest days. Brett is a great tour leader,
knowledgable and committed to making a difference to the communities we visit, he genuinely enjoys sharing his passion for this part of the world and
encouraging others to see how they can make a difference.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open mind, a willingness to learn and be ready to enjoy all the experiences that the trip will bring you. Don't be put off if you are traveling on your own, you will be sharing this wonderful adventure with a group of great, like-minded people.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


What makes this tour different to other cycling vacations is the opportunity to visit and engage with NGOs working with some of the most disadvantaged
communities. Their vision and commitment to making a lasting difference is inspiring and we were able to directly support their work. On a daily basis, we
stopped in cafes and markets in small villages and town along the route to buy food and drinks and stayed in local, family run hotels supporting local tradespeople.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was, without doubt, the most memorable and wonderful small group vacation I have been on. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in
visiting and learning more about this amazing part of the world, who enjoys a physical challenge and/or want their travel to have a direct, positive impact on
local communities.

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