Cycle Cambodia to Vietnam
Life Changing Adventures
Get on a bicycle, off the beaten track and explore the contrast in countries between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Social Cycles will take you on a journey to interact and connect with local grassroot Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and the beneficiaries of a funded project of your choosing. Research what really happens on the ground and out in the villages with Social Cycles in a holiday that carefully balances ethical research and local impact with cycling and site seeing.
Cycle the beautiful green canals of the Mekong Delta, explore pepper farms, fresh crab markets and ancient history. Dig deeper and scratch the surface of the Khmer ‘fast fashion’ industry Get educated, get fit and get inspired.
Next Available Travel Dates:
2017: July 4-15
2017: November 14-25
NYE Ride: Dec 28-Jan 8
2018: February 2-13
Features & inclusions
- Tour Inclusions
- Social Impact
- Support Van
- Cycling Distances
- Group Size
- NGO Partners
- 11 x nights hotel accommodation
- Full Bicycle hire, including helmets
- One Australian guide & one local guide
- Full support vehicle for the ride with water and fruit
- Minimum three NGO presentations with local staff across Cambodia & Vietnam
- Multiple field trips to villages and communities
- Entry to The Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh & Mekong Delta floating market tours,
- 6 dinners in Social Enterprise based training restaurants & 8 breakfasts
- Airport transfers for arrival and departure
- Cooking class and much more.
- We understand how important it is to take rest in a place that’s clean and comfortable – especially after a hard slog on the bikes. That’s why we always make an effort to get you settled in somewhere in town suited to that description. Where we can, we will organise boutique style accommodation for everyone (with a pool) because quite frankly, you deserve it. We’ll also make sure that a massage is not far away!
- You’ve probably heard it said a dozen times already, but you’ll find some of the friendliest people on the planet in Cambodia and the same stands true for Hoem; our translator/guide/driver and all round great guy. Hoem has been with us from our very first tour and gives testament to the value of local knowledge. And of course, Brett Seychell, the Social Cycles founder does not miss an opportunity to get back on the bike and cycle through his favourite part of the world. Cycling Cambodia is the inspiration for what has become Social Cycles. Joining us in the Vietnam tours is Vietnamese born Australian, Lien Nguyen. Lien is the better half of Social Cycles, our Communications and branding guru, who just loves a chance to stretch the legs, order at least one of every food in the country and mix it up with the locals!
- The best part about cycling from one country to another is to cycle through the various regions of food along the way. This is slow travel at it’s best as Cambodia offers salt lakes and pepper farms, fresh crab markets in Kep and tarantulas in Phnom Penh (optional!) Meanwhile, in the Mekong Delta, you will roll your own noodle sheets and eat your way through a street food degustation sensation of everything sweet, salty, spicy and sour! You’ll never eat at Roll’d again!
- In Cambodia, we use Reid X-Trail 26 (and some X-Trail 29’s) mountain bikes to get us through some of the tough terrain that awaits. As most of the riding is off the beaten track, the front suspension makes for a much more supportive ride. Flick the mechanical lock-out, and the Suntour XCT 100mm travel fork becomes rigid, ideal for fast climbs and hard sprinting. When the trail points down, powerful mechanical disc brakes, 24-speed Shimano gearing and 2.10″ tyres you power and control. Reid X-Trails feature tough alloy Alex DH-17 double-walled rims with stainless steel spokes and KT quick release hubs. This makes up a light, robust and reliable wheelset. All bikes come equipped with a water cage, but for hygienic reasons, you’ll need your own water bottle.
- The amazing Mr Hoem is never far away in his support van. If the path allows, Hoem will trail behind us at a leisurely pace, on hand if you need to top up your water or grab a banana. On occasion, the path can turn to single track or a recent rainfall can make life a little too difficult for the van. When this happens, we arrange meeting points usually no further away than 10-15km intervals. The beauty of a support van means that you can bring all the luggage you like (or shop till you drop!) and it will be carried safely for you.If at any point. you want too take some time off the bikes, the air conditioning of the van can be a sweet temptation!
- When we embark on an 85km day, the distance can seem quite daunting. However, an early start for 7am and an ETA of 4pm arrival gives us 9 hours to get there. And two hours of extra daylight up our sleeve if we need it! Travelling by bicycle is not about the destination, but the journey. We’ll stop for Khmer and Vietnamese coffees, local treats, lunch and of course, to take plenty of pictures. When we are moving, the average pace is about 20km per hour but that is flexible depending on the confidence of the group. Our small group policy means it’s easier for all of us to stay together. You don’t need to be super fit for this ride, you just need to be positive.
- We take a minimum of four riders and a maximum of 10. We strongly believe that when you travel with a group beyond 10, there is a risk that voices and opinions may be drowned out when we have the rare opportunities to visit NGOs and ask questions to local leaders.
- We will visit at least three of the following NGOs on every tour.
- are leading the charge in the ‘ChildSafe’ movement and the ‘Think Families, Not Orphanages’ campaign. Friends International have an office in Phnom Penh, which makes for a great introduction to Cambodia. In Kampot, we visit the ethical clothing manufacturer, Dorsu. Here we will have the chance to learn more about the real story behind the garment factory workers by visiting them directly. Chumkriel Language School is an incredible oorganization that go so far beyond teaching language. In Vietnam, we may have the chance to visit some of the bigger organisations and see how their system helps the community. Heifer International pioneered the agricultural pay it forward program, adopted by NGOs and communities all over the world. Habitat for Humanity focus on building shelters for the disadvantaged with a help up, not hand out philosophy.
We arrive and stay in the heart of the cosmopolitan lifestyle that has been thrust on Phnom Penh since the country has opened up to the outside world. For better or for worse, Phnom Penh is going through rapid change and tourism is opening new markets, opportunities, revenue streams and problems. If you land in Phnom Penh today, we’ll pick you up from the airport and take you straight to the hotel to give you a chance to relax and unwind. Your host will always be in the city to get any travel advice from should you want to go exploring. We’ll meet the rest of the group for dinner for a relaxing, fun journey with local Khmer cuisine.
Welcome to Cambodia
We start the day with the wonderful people from Friends International and get an introduction to Cambodia like never before! This is your first chance to open your mind to the incredibly complicated, cultural challenges faced by everyday by the Khmer people. Friends International have a variety of ways in which they tackle these issues. From here we move onto the recent history and Tuol Sleng museum where prisoners were being kept for interrogation during the Khmer Rouge era. It can feel like a tough day in a beautiful country, so we unload at one of the best restaurants in the city and dare each other to eat a tarantula!
Chisaur Temple: Our first cycle day (86km)
Our first major cycling day takes us south of Phnom Penh to Chisaur Mountain Temple in rural Cambodia. It’s not really much of a mountain at 130m and the route is perfectly flat. We casually cycle through remote villages and waterways, via narrow dirt tracks. Chisaur Temple is where we’ll be for lunch as we have plenty of time to explore these ancient ruins which are 200 years older than Angkor Wat. From here, we’ll take the van down to the Cambodian coastal town of Kampot to enjoy the culinary delights on offer.
The Bokor Mountain Cycle Challenge (optional 80km)
Start the day with an (optional) mammoth Bokor Mountain cycle challenge! It’s 40km to get to the top. The first 10km is flat, then it just keeps on going up, and up, and up! If cycling uphill doesn’t rock your world, we can bring your bike in the van and you can cycle down! Whilst at the top, we can take some time to explore the French ghost town of Bokor Hill Station in Preah Monivong National Park. For dinner, we’ll head to the Rusty Keyhole for the best BBQ ribs in the world (that is not an oversell!)
Dorsu, ethical fashion and slow coffee
We’ll visit the ‘factory’ of this sustainable, ethical and inspirational clothing company and learn about Cambodia’s largest export- textile, and the impact and challenges it has on the local people. In the afternoon, just sit and relax by the pool, take a wander through the market or just take some time for yourself.We’ll take a cruise down the river at sunset and watch the fire flies come to life (if we’re lucky!)
Salt lakes, pepper farms, live crab markets and white beaches
Today we cross over the border into Vietnam, but not before we discover the wonderful province of Kep. Located just before the border, this town is famous for it’s fresh seafood, particularly crab. We’ll spend a couple of hours exploring the famous pepper plantations and salt lakes on the way.Navigating through the back roads, we’ll make our way around the National Park and to the border crossing into Ha Tien Vietnam.
From Ha Tien, we’ll jump in the van and head to Rach Gia for a feast of local seafood and Banh Xeo.
Cycling the Mekong Delta (82km)
Can Tho is where the Mekong Delta really comes into it’s own! To get there we cut through the back roads of rice paddys and farm land, arriving in the city by late afternoon. With a population of over a million and a thriving tourist trade, Can Tho has a vibrancy about it like none other. Relax and explore this amazing city. For dinner, we’ll pull up a patch of grass at the night market and treat yourself to a degustation of delightful street food!
Sunrises, floating markets, noodle factories and cocoa farms
We’ll catch the floating markets for sunrise and have your breakfast brought to you on the water! The vibrancy and atmosphere at the break of dawn is incredible! This is no tourist performance, this is real life for the local people where they trade, sell and buy every day. Following that, we’ll visit the noodle factory where you’ll have a chance to make your own noodles and the cocoa farms just before lunch.
In the afternoon, we’ll catch our first NGO in Vietnam and learn more about the agricultural pass on program through Heifer, (pending confirmation and availability).
More Mekong cycling and a coconut candy farm (98km)
We’ll take a day to casually explore the oasis that is the Mekong Delta. From the coconut candy factories of Ben Tre to the canals and floating markets of My Tho, this is a place to relax and unwind. We’ll avoid the hordes of tourists in My Tho by using Ben Tre as a base to explore the region. It’s still a full day cycling from Can Tho and we’ll enjoy getting amongst the maze that is the Mekong Delta. We should get into Ben Tre for 5pm, just in time to rest, relax and explore the local market for dinner.
Cycling into Saigon (89km)
We’ll start early to beat the heat and what we can of the traffic. Cycling into Saigon for the last cycle day of the tour is an incredible experience. Ho Chi Minh is what the world would look like if cars weren’t invented. With whole lanes and roads dedicated to two wheels, it is the city of the future as the population grows.
The last 12 km will be where we rest up and transit into the city centre itself via the support van. Our boutique hotel is in the heart of the city, just a short stroll from the Street Food Market for dinner and a live band.
Habitat for Humanity
We’ll visit our third and final NGO of the trip in Habitat for Humanity. With a global presence (including Australia), Habitat believe in appropriate housing for all. As such, they use donors and volunteers to build houses for those less fortunate. Habitat have a ‘hand up, not hand out’ policy, which we will learn more about. Use the day to explore at your leisure. There are a feast of local markets, grand shopping centres, museums and attractions in Ho Chi Minh. For the evening we’ll meet up for dinner, swap stories and photos.
Congratulations! You’ve cycled across a couple of countries, covered over 500km in the saddle and more than scratched the surface as to what these fantastic countries are about. We’ll enjoy a final breakfast together before we get you off to the airport and on your way home.
Where we ride
See that big bump in the map? That’s the Bokor Cycle Challenge, near Kampot. The good news is, that it’s completely optional. We cycle up the mountain, only to cyce back down. If you’d rather sit by the pool or hang out and drink coffee, you probably won’t be alone. But if the flat riding isn’t challenging enough for you, the 25km of straight up will make you get your sweat on!
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