10 Things You’ll Experience on a Social Cycles Holiday in Vietnam July 30, 2020 10 Things You'll Experience on a Social Cycles Holiday in Vietnam Not all adventures to Vietnam are the same! Check out some of the amazing experiences you can have in Vietnam and why travelling with the right team can make all the difference! 1. Cultural insight via local experts and NGOs We meet and engage with local experts from NGOs throughout our adventures in Vietnam. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the challenges people may face, living on the poverty line and what the future looks like. This is an incredibly rare and unique opportunity to get an insight like no other. We learn from Mekong Plus in the south who host a range of programs designed to empower local villages in a ‘hand up, not hand out’ philosophy. In the North, we meet with Hope Box, who works with women living with domestic violence and in Central Vietnam, we visit Free the Bears, a wildlife rescue centre. 2. Streets of organised chaos In a country of more than 97 million people, there’s bound to be a little traffic on the roads. The roads in Asia are famous for looking like organised chaos, and none more so than the streets of Saigon and Hanoi. With motorbikes outnumbering cars at least two to one, it’s easy to get bewildered as it looks like traffic moves in every single direction at the same time, without any acknowledgement of road signs or rules. Though it may appear chaotic, the traffic is almost always moving. No gridlocks, no road rage. It may not move fast, but it always moves. Once you get used to it, you may even find it safer than back home. If you’re not sure how to cross the street, walk across with a local. 3. Food that does more than taste good Food is amazing in Vietnam. However, there’s a couple of places that don’t just make great food, they change lives. KOTO is one such restaurant that has a greater purpose than most others. Through a social services program, KOTO (Know One Teach One) offers vocational training to marginalized and vulnerable youth. The easiest way to measure the success of charitable based programs is to meet alumni who have received international scholarships and gone on to create great careers! We also choose to dine in Jaan Bai and Romdeng whilst we’re in Cambodia too, who have similar programs. 4. Discover a new version of yourself A holiday is all about fun. And in our cycling based adventures, you can push yourself to limits you didn’t know you had. Many of our riders come along, having never cycled more than 30-40km in one day. Our rides are all fully supported with a van to jump in any time you may get tired, and this brings a sense of confidence. This confidence, combined with the amazing villages and off the beaten path we cycle through brings a welcome distraction from the distance and you may find yourself riding up to 100km in one day! The sense of satisfaction, combined with the cultural experience along the way makes for a version of yourself you didn’t know existed! 5. Meet like-minded responsible travellers We believe in small group adventures. And when we say small, we don’t mean 20 people. We mean about 8 to 10 like-minded travellers. Our strong core focus on responsible travel and the engagement with the NGOs along the way attract a particular type of traveller. One that is open-minded and keen to explore further, delve deeper and participate in the conversation. We are proud to have connected so many travellers who have since remained in contact and become great friends. 6. Cooking Vietnamese food in a local home In a country of more than 97 million people, there’s bound to be a little traffic on the roads. The roads in Asia are famous for looking like organised chaos, and none more so than the streets of Saigon and Hanoi. With motorbikes outnumbering cars at least two to one, it’s easy to get bewildered as it looks like traffic moves in every single direction at the same time, without any acknowledgement of road signs or rules. Though it may appear chaotic, the traffic is almost always moving. No gridlocks, no road rage. It may not move fast, but it always moves. Once you get used to it, you may even find it safer than back home. If you’re not sure how to cross the street, walk across with a local. 7. Food origins and markets Our Cambodia to Vietnam ride touches on so many food origins! We visit the salt fields and pepper farms in Kampot, a rice noodle factory, organic cacao farms and floating markets in Can Tho and even a coconut candy factory in Ben Tre. These experiences give a true appreciation as to the hard work and effort that it takes to bring these foods to the table. Quite often, the foods are processed by hand and the opportunity to see the craft in progress creates a new appreciation for the simplest of pleasures. 8. A perspective from a different lens Our guides in Vietnam are local, like all good guides should be. But our guides aren’t just trained to reel off stats about population size or dates of monuments that you could read in a book yourself. Our guides are there to tell you the inner happenings of Vietnam. What it’s really like to grow up on a farm, cultivating crops and going to school. What the healthcare system provides should you get sick, or start a family. What happens if you lose your job and what options do people have. What we often consider to be the norm and take for granted isn’t always the same in other cultures. Our guides are there to get personal and bridge that gap, inviting you into their own lives for you to get a true, unique perspective of Vietnam. 9. Coffee like you've never had before Vietnam grows its own coffee and it has a distinctive flavour. Coffee lovers will get taken on a whole new journey appreciating the coffee culture of Vietnam. In the south, the most common type of coffee is “Cà phê sữa đá” or coffee with ice and milk. The coffee itself is drip filtered, dark, rich and intensely strong. Only about 30ml sits on the bottom of a tall glass, then it’s combined with anywhere from 30-60ml of sweetened condensed milk, stirred and topped with ice. It’s like getting punched in the face by coffee and sugar at the same time, but somehow incredibly moreish. Perhaps it has something to do with the heat that makes this drink so refreshing, as it never quite tastes the same back in Australia.In the north, you’re likely to come across “Cà Phê Giảng”, which is coffee with egg. Yep, egg yolks to be accurate. The coffee is drip filtered into a cup, then the egg yolks are heated and beaten with sweetened condensed milk to form a type of custard, which layers over the coffee. It’s super-rich, warm and tastes like a dessert. Delicious, but you wouldn’t have more than one (per day). 10. A taste for adventure After an adventure like this, your future holidays will never be the same. The opportunity to speak to, interact with and learn from local experts gives an insight into country and culture like no other. Combine this with what you’ve achieved physically through the cycling and there’s a sense of achievement that is hard to compete with. Memories of great flavours, new friends and a connection to a greater cause that you have truly understood, and you have an adventure that changes lives. All you need to do now is work out where you’re going next! Share the journey Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on email Feeling inspired? 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