Tag Archive for Thailand Jungle Treks

Street food- South East Asia Style

Vietnam - Woman cooking

Street Vendor – Vietnam












From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the mellow markets in Myanmar, South East Asia’s street food has an unrivalled range of culinary flavours and delights. From frog porridge to scorpions on a stick, the more you say yes to the extraordinary delights on offer, the more you will experience the culture of the continent that is constantly grazing.

Bia Saigon

Bia Saigon and delicious noodle soup

At the heart of much Asian cuisine is the Mekong Delta – the ‘rice bowl’ of Asia. Originating in China, the Mekong provides all of South East Asia with its staple and you will never be far from a bowl, or it’s faithful companion Fish Sauce – a national favourite that can be found on every table, closely accompanied by the third musketeer – chilli sauce.

Vietnam –

Vietnamese food is simple, fresh and full of flavor and the beer is unbelievably cheap- in particular Bia Hoi – the local draft beer which is readily available for a crazy 3000vnd (about 10p!!). The streets are lined with family- run restaurants with tiny plastic stools that wouldn’t look out of place at a children’s nursery and street vendors sell everything from ‘Banh Mi’ (baguettes) to chickens feet. One thing is for sure, in Vietnam you will never be far from an incredible (and ridiculously cheap) meal.

Vietnamese spring rolls

Vietnamese Rice Rolls

In the morning, the locals awake to a warming bowl of Pho, this is almost the law and comes with a variety of additions including beansprouts, coriander, chilli and usually chicken or beef. Deceptively filling, this is one of the most wholesome and cheap eats you will ever come across at just 40 Vietnamese Dong a bowl!

Mon cuan (rice rolls) are delicious and available at all street-side restaurants, if you’re lucky you may get the chance to make them yourselves. Also on offer is delicious sea food, if you get the chance go mud fishing in the Mekong, the locals will often whip up what you have caught straight away to put in your rice rolls.

weasel coffee

Weasel coffee

What may surprise you is that Vietnam is one of the largest growers and exporters of coffee worldwide and as a nation they are obsessed! Quirky little coffee houses decorate the major cities including a beautiful café designed in the style of the Viet Cong in Saigon. French influence is still strong with bakeries common place and croissants, baguettes and other treats easy to find. A Vietnamese delicacy is weasel coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world – the weasels eat the bean, the enzymes in the weasel’s stomach then break down it down, it is then passed and roasted to create a lovely Arabica coffee.

Thailand –

The ‘land of smiles’ never sleeps – and never stops eating!! Street food is abundant and delicious and best of all, incredibly good value. Portions are often small but that just provides an excellent excuse to try more!
Street vendors in Thailand whip up everything from Pad Thai to banana and Nutella pancakes on gas stoves attached to mopeds. Little ladies push their stalls around the streets from dusk til dawn and you will never go hungry – especially in Bangkok! If you can make your way to the local night markets where street vendors cook on BBQ’s attached to their carts – you will be able to purchase delicious curries, stir fries, noodle soups and wonderful seafood, take a seat at the restaurants with little plastic chairs and eat with the locals. Insects are a national favourite and you will never be far from an opportunity to nibble a scorpion or try a crunchy cricket – (complete with chili sauce!)

things on sticks

You can buy anything on a stick in Thailand..












Cambodia –

Whilst on arrival in Cambodia’s big cities you could be forgiven for thinking that Western influences have taken over the traditional Khmer food, however if you’re prepared to stray from the frequent offerings of hamburgers and chips you will discover the delights of Cambodian cooking, including Fish Amok, a wonderfully fragrant coconut curry served with rice and wrapped in a banana leaf, Lok Lak a tasty beef dish and lemongrass beef/ chicken stir-fry. If this is all a bit tame for you, fried tarantula is a national specialty.
The locals breakfast over a light noodle soup – nom banh chok, laden with vegetables, this is a tasty and affordable way to start the day. If you get the chance head to a Khmer BBQ – definitely take it, they are delicious and consist of fresh seafood accompanied with an abundance of rice, soup and vegetables.

fish soup

Flavorsome fish soup

Laos –

In Laos the French Indochina history is still evident from the baguette selling street vendors to the French restaurants dotted throughout Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Whilst it may be tempting to guzzle croissants and pain au chocolate, make sure you try some traditional Laos cuisine.
Sticky rice is the base of any Lao meal, with accompaniments including delicious ‘larb’ – a spicy mincemeat salad or delicious banana leaf curry – ‘mok’. If you’re offered the banana whisky make sure you have a chaser as it’s less banana and more whisky!

Indonesia –

From beautiful beanbag beach restaurants to exquisite award winning hotelsindonesian, Indonesian food is an eclectic mixture of foreign influences and traditional local flavours. Fish and Buffalo are prevalent throughout the region and rice, peanut sauce, chili and coconut milk are the pillar stones of most dishes. Nasi Goreng is a national favourite and is readily available in restaurants and from street food vendors. In Western Sumatra the local specialty is Rendang curry, traditionally made from buffalo or beef this delicious and flavorsome curry should be top of your list.

In short, South East Asian food is an incomparable, delicious mixture of Indian, Chinese, Thai and European influences, dishes are served simultaneously and sharing is common practice. Get your chopsticks out, eat local, eat fresh and don’t be afraid to try new things – especially the street food!

If all this has made you hungry and ready to head to South East Asia, check out our amazing challenges across the region below, from Cycling through Vietnam to spotting orangutans in the Sumatran Jungle, there really is something for everyone:

Cycle Vietnam

Thailand Jungle Expedition

Sumatra Jungle Challenge 

Saigon to Angkor Wat Bike Ride

Vietnam Sapa Hill Tribe Trek

Cycle Burma (Myanmar)

Trek Burma (Myanmar)




Welcome to the Jungles!

Jungle trekking is a great way to explore the jungle and to get closer to the sounds and sights of such an amazing eco-system. For many, the Jungle represents the ultimate getaway from the mundanely of the office and urban living, but it’s important to remember that every jungle is different.

Here at Charity Challenge, we offer 3 tropical and totally unique jungle Challenges.  So if you know you want to take on a jungle but are not sure which, then the below guides will hopefully help you decide which challenge is for you!



 Challenge in a Nutshell: On this this unique 11 day jungle Challenge, you take on a challenging and truly exotic itinerary that entails 6 days of hardcore jungle trekking, camping in the rainforest, tracking wildlife, river walking, meeting local people, tubing down the rapids of the Bohorok river and a taking some time out to visit the Gunung Leuser National Park’s Orangutan feeding platform, where you can observe these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

Terrain: Lots of Steep accents and descents, as our Operations Manager Jo said, “It’s easy to see why Tarzan swings through the trees on vines, as navigating through the tangled tree roots, vines and creepers of the jungle underbrush is quite tricky.”

What will you see: In our Sumatra Jungle trek you will of course see plenty of Orangutan activity not to mention a diverse landscape of Flora and Fauna. The Sumatran jungle is teeming with wildlife, such as the Macaques, Horbills, snakes and the infamous punky haired Thomas Leaf Monkeys.

What to be aware off: the Sumatran Jungle is the home of the endangered Orangutan. You will need to be aware that sightings will be down to your own behaviour and a lot of noise will only scare them away.  There will be leeches and so tiger balm is a must. You will be trekking in the deepest parts of the jungle and river tubing through grade 1 -2  rapids so practising those butterfly strokes would not go a miss.

Jungle Highlight: It has to be seeing the Orangutans at the Bohorok Feeding Platform. At the feeding platform you will be able to see the semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat. The free-living orangutans are normally fed twice a day at the feeding platform. They are offered a deliberately monotonous diet of bananas and milk to encourage them to forage in the wild. It is a once in a life time opportunity to see orangutans in their natural habitat. If you are really lucky you will also get to experience the wild orang-utan in their habitat deep in the depths of the jungle.

To learn more about this amazing challenge click here!



Challenge in a nutshell: This invigorating 11 day trekking challenge in the South West of Cambodia combines jungle trekking with cultural history as you pass through hilly terrain still largely covered by dense tropical forests, numerous waterfalls and caves along with a visit to a 500 year old burial site and a chance to learn more about Cambodia’s bloody history under the regime of dictator Pol Pot in the 1970s. The region remained closed to tourists for decades and has only recently opened, so if you book onto this challenge you will be the amongst the first to explore Asia’s next big trekking destination.

Terrain: In contrast to Sumatra, the terrain you’ll experience in this trek is primarily undulating, switching between dense tropical rainforests and more open grasslands.

What will you see: This area is still unique in its unfamiliarity with western travellers. Whilst staying local villagers in home stays, you will have the opportunity to hear first hand stories  of the bloody history of the area. You will also certainly have the chance to see some rare and exciting nature, such as hornbills, elephant footprints, Macaques and (unfortunately for some) Leeches!

What to be aware off: Cambodia is unfortunately the jungle of the leeches, and the place is teaming with them! But there are many tricks you can learn to deter leeches. Tiger balm is an excellent leach repellent, you will also be equipped with Leach Socks, be sure to keep walking and not lean on anything in the rainforest. If you need to stop and take a rest, find a spot with direct sunlight, as leeches do not exist in dry and hot places. Typically you’ll find Brown Leech on the ground and tiger leech on the tree leaves. A Tiger leech bite is more painful than that of a Brown Leech, the bite marks can be permanent too.

Jungle Highlight: The Cambodian Jungle is undeniably lush and spectacular, but this trek is all about the culture. Going to Cambodia would not be what it was without learning about the devastating history of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pots Regime at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Meeting the locals in Chi Phat with their smiles and experiencing real Cambodia  as you spend a couple of nights in homestays with the local villagers is a memory that will stay with you for every.

To learn more about this fantastic challenge click here



Challenge in a Nutshell: Our Thailand Jungle takes place in the epitomised rainforests in western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province, location of the infamous Death Railway and Bridge over the River Kwai. The challenge will take you through the rugged jungles in the remote border with Burma, and you will experience a classic jungle adventure as you trek, raft, kayak and ride elephants through the forests and mountains of the Thung Yai Nareusan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Terrain: The jungle expedition in Thailand is more established than the previous two, and entails trekking form village to village on a terrain that is undulated and steep at times. You will also trek through rivers and experience the beautiful mountainous bamboo forests.

What will you see: During this trek you’ll have the opportunity to see lots of exciting wildlife and Jungle flora and fauna. On day 9 of the trek you’ll even have the opportunity to see elephants up-close at the riverside elephant camp.

What to be aware off: You’ve got to stick together in the jungle, if you get behind by only a few feet and you could lose sight of the group behind the trees.

Jungle Highlight: Many of our previous Thailand challenges tell us that their favourite part of the challenge was meeting the Karen people, who traditionally live in bamboo stilt houses and at campsite on the banks of the river, and experiencing their way of life. Also Kayaking down the river Kwai on Bamboo or Rubber Rafting is a real thrill!

To learn more about this classic challenge click here!

So if our jungles have inspired you, you can find out more information about them on our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, both jungle and not, please subscribe to this blog and enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.