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Cycle Trip | 16 Days | SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA –> HCMC, VIETNAM

$2,259.00

  • 700KM RIDE. 16 DAYS. 2 COUNTRIES. AMAZING EXPERIENCES.
  • Get off the beaten track and explore the contrasting countries of Cambodia and Vietnam!
  • Social Cycles will take you on a journey to interact and connect with local grassroots 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 sightseeing.

This trip has set start dates, please find a date that suits you below.

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Cycle Trip: 16-Day Itinerary – Siem Reap to Saigon

Day 1: Siem Reap
Arrival day and welcome dinner

We arrive in the heart of the cosmopolitan lifestyle that has been thrust on Siem Reap since the country has opened up to the outside world. Tourism is opening new markets, opportunities, revenue streams and, of course, challenges for the local area. We’ll pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel, then take some time to relax or wander around the city before we meet for a delicious welcome dinner with the rest of the group. Dinner is at one of Siem Reap’s best restaurants, Marum. It’s a fantastic restaurant that’s part of the Friends International social enterprise projects, providing vocational training for marginalized youth.

Day 2: Siem Reap
Sunrise cycling around the temples of Angkor

We’ll rise before the sun rises at 4.30am, jump on the bikes and head for the temples. It’s an early start, but you won’t regret it! Sunrise over Angkor Wat is a bucket list achievement for good reason! From here we’ll venture on to other, and arguably more impressive, temples in the area for the remainder of the morning. In the early afternoon, we’ll have the chance to visit our first NGO of the trip. We will spend time with some incredibly inspirational people that have dedicated their lives to helping others. We’ll hear their stories and start to find out what the real issues are that the country is facing.

Day 3: Siem Reap to Battambang
River riding, local villages and coffee stops

Travelling across the wetlands and navigating our way around the Tonle Sap river is an experience to remember. The road soon turns to single track as we get more and more remote into the Cambodian countryside. We’ll say goodbye to our support van for a while and venture on into the rural and barren lands of Cambodia.

Few villages exist out here, supporting themselves through sustainable fishing methods via the river. The track can only go so far… then, we’ll arrange a long tail boat ride for you and take the bikes a further 16km into the wetlands. When we come out the other side, we cross another 18km of dirt road before eventually arriving into Battambang.

Battambang is a common favourite on the trip. Packed with cafes proudly displaying local art, the town is considered an emergence of young talent in a field that was virtually wiped out by the Khmer Rouge during the 1980s. Battambang is also a great spot for shopping, with colonial style streets and hidden secrets where bric-a-brac abounds. We’ll dine at another social enterprise based restaurant that produces amazing dishes!

Day 4: Battambang to Pursat
Adventure cycling, red dirt & Sustainable Cambodia

After an early breakfast, we’ll continue our cycling along the dusty red back roads. We’ll get to the town of Pursat by early afternoon and into our hotel to enjoy the swimming pool and on-site spa. (Enjoy the massage!) We’ll then meet with the amazing NGO, Sustainable Cambodia. We’ll enjoy a full presentation by the executives in their office and a tour of their facilities. Shortly after we will be taken to see their projects in action where you can witness the difference that the NGO makes first hand.

Day 5: Pursat to Phnom Penh
Cycling into Phnom Penh, riverside villages and Tonle Sap

We start cycling 75km towards Phnom Penh and will ride all the way up to the front door of the hotel! The back roads bring in some of the most spectacular scenery as we pass through villages living on Tonle Sap lake. The ride takes in great coffee stops, endless photo opportunities and a couple of ferries. It’s almost entirely on back streets with minimal traffic. The final 2km within the heart of the city can be transferred via van as an option.

For dinner, it’s a feast of tarantula’s and silk works at the famous Romdeng restaurant, a social enterprise restaurant from the Friends’ International team.

Day 6: Phnom Penh
Friends International, S-21 genocide museum and Khmer BBQ

We’ll start the day by meeting the incredible people at Friends International and learning about all the wonderful work they do within the community and how they’re spreading their strategies across the world. This is a great insight into real local everyday issues, from real local everyday heroes. From the office, we venture towards the Russian market and then move to Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21 Genocide Museum. This devastating chapter of the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian history is emotionally challenging but strongly recommended to understand the country within which we travel. There’s some free time in the afternoon to process your day, whilst we’ll meet again for a local Khmer BBQ dinner.

Day 7: Phnom Penh to Kampot
Chisaur Temple: Our first cycle day (86km)

We’ll then head south of Phnom Penh to Chisaur Mountain Temple in rural Cambodia. (Don’t worry -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 stop for lunch and have plenty of time to explore these ancient ruins which are 200 years older than Angkor Wat! From here, we’ll hop in the van and head down along the road to the Cambodian coastal town of Kampot to enjoy some seafood delights!

Day 8: Kampot
The Bokor Mountain Cycle Challenge (optional 80km)

Start the day with a mammoth Bokor Mountain cycle challenge! (Optional) – 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 enjoy cycling 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!).

Day 9: Kampot:
Salt Fields community, ethical fashion and slow coffee

In the morning, we’ll visit Chumkriel Language School (no children will be in attendance at the time of visiting). A fantastic NGO and inspirational human being, Mr Suthy has set up a very grassroots local school to give access to education for children of the salt field community. In the afternoon, just sit and relax by the pool, take a wander through the market or just take some time for yourself. If you like, you can take a cruise down the river at sunset and watch the fireflies come to life (if we’re lucky!).

Day 10: Cycling into Vietnam
Pepper farms, salt lakes, live crab markets and beaches

Today we’ll cross the border into Vietnam, but not before we discover the wonderful province of Kep. Located just before the border, this town is famous for its 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.

Day 11: Rach Gia to Can Tho
Cycling the Mekong Delta (82km)

Can Tho is where the Mekong Delta really comes into its own! To get there, we cut through the back roads of rice paddies and farmland, 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 that’s magnetic! Relax and explore the sights and sounds of this amazing city. For dinner, we’ll pull up a patch of grass at the night market and treat ourselves to a feast of delightful street food!

Day 12: Can Tho
Floating markets, noodle factories and cocoa farms

We’ll catch the floating markets for sunrise and have breakfast 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 head to the cocoa farms just before lunch.

Day 13: Can Tho to Ben Tre
More Mekong cycling and a coconut candy farm

We’ll take a day to casually explore 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 5 pm, just in time to rest, relax and explore the local market for dinner. Tonight we stay at a local homestay.

Day 14: Ben Tre to Saigon
Cycling into Saigon (89km)

We’ll start early to beat the heat and as much of the traffic as we can. Cycling into Saigon, Vietnam’s biggest city, on the last cycle day of the tour is an incredible experience… Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon) 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.

Day 15: Saigon
Saigon, Mekong Quilts and KOTO

We’ll visit our third and final NGO of the trip in Mekong Plus. With a presence in Cambodia and Vietnam, this grassroots local NGO focus on a hand up, not hand out policy. The social enterprise part of this NGO trains beneficiaries to make quilts, handicrafts and bamboo bicycles. The holistic approach from Mekong Plus includes education scholarships, vocational training, microfinance programs and social enterprise businesses. Use the day to explore at your leisure. There’s an abundance of local markets, grand shopping centres, museums and attractions in Ho Chi Minh. For the evening we’ll meet up for dinner, swap stories, photos and decide where you’d like the donation money to go to.

Day 16: Saigon
Departure Day!

Congratulations! You’ve cycled across two countries, covered almost 700km 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.

Our Ethos

We believe in two things…

1. Working with local experts to create a positive impact in the world by supporting transparent, ethical, sustainable and community-based projects
2. Adventure travel

Social Cycles host small group cycle adventures for travellers with a social conscience. We engage with local experts (NGOs) to learn about social issues, challenges and strategies so that we can gain the knowledge to make a positive difference. We will test your physical boundaries, challenge your perception of charity and completely open your mind.

One of the main aims of this Social Cycles ride is to group together like-minded people who are looking to learn how to make a difference, to #ridewithpurpose if you will. Therefore, we ask you to consider a minimum donation amount to the value of US$150.

Please do NOT pay Social Cycles this money. Instead, we ask that you simply bear it in mind. Keep it to yourself for now. It is our goal that we combine as a group to provide a sufficient amount of money that makes a significant difference to a community, via one of the NGOs we visit along the way. Which one is a matter for you and the group to decide!

What's Included

Includes:

  • 15 x nights hotel accommodation
  • Full Bicycle hire
  • A guide & mechanic for the trip
  • 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 Angkor temples in Siem Reap, the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh & Mekong Delta floating market tours
  • 8 dinners in Social Enterprise based training restaurants & 11 breakfasts

Not includes:

  • Airport transfers for arrival and departure
    Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)
  • Meals not indicated on the itinerary (mainly lunches)
  • Beverages
  • Souvenirs
  • Personal expenses

Start Dates

We have tours departing on the following dates from Siem Reap:

  • 20 June, 2018
  • 18 July, 2018
  • 17 November, 2018
  • 23 December, 2018
  • 4 January, 2019
  • 18 January, 2019
  • 1 February, 2019
  • 15 February, 2019 Sold Out
  • 29 May 2019
  • 12 June 2019
  • 3 July 2019
  • 6 November 2019
  • 29 December 2019

Cycling Info

  • 16 days cycling
  • Total distance: 695km
  • Biggest day: 95km
  • Terrain: Flat (except for Bokor on day 8)
  • Bikes: 24-speed mountain bikes

When we embark on a 95km day, the distance can seem quite daunting. However, an early start for 7 am and an ETA of 4 pm 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 enthusiastic!

Refund Policy

  • In order to book this experience, you will need to pay a deposit online via South East Asia Backpacker.
  • This deposit is fully refundable if you wish to cancel up until 48 hours before the start of the activity.
  • For cancellations made fewer than 48 hours before the start of the activity there is no refund available.
  • You can request a change of date at any time, free of additional charges.
  • Date changes are entirely down to the availability of the operator and nothing to do with South East Asia Backpacker. 
  • If your date change is not agreed, as long as it is within 48 hours of the start date you originally made your booking for, your deposit can be refunded in full if you wish to cancel.
  • The remaining payment for the experience is payable directly to the operator.
  • The operator can request the remaining payment via an online payment link or upon arrival at the destination.
  • The refund of the second payment, which goes directly to the operator, is based on the terms and conditions of the operator, over which South East Asia Backpacker have no control.
  • Please see our customer terms and conditions for more information.

Operator

Social Cycles

Multi-day cycling adventures in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos (and Samoa and Iran). Tours are fully supported, last for 10-12 days, small groups only and are priced from US$1500. Strong focus on NGO visitation, learning and understanding. All riders are connected to a minimum of 3 NGOs en-route and have the opportunity to ask questions to local experts about social challenges. We do NOT visit any schools or orphanages or engage with any children during these NGO visits. All engagements are for no more than 1-2 hours and are with adult professionals. Riders then have the opportunity to support one or more of the NGOs they have learnt about on the trip, in both the short and long term capacity.

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