Thu 04 Oct - Fri 12 Oct 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

what are the bikes like?

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Angkor Wat to Bangkok cycle challenge is graded as moderate. This is the perfect challenge for participants who are of an adventurous spirit and an open mind, but perhaps haven’t taken on a strenuous challenge event before and are hoping to push themselves out of their comfort zone. You can tell your supporters that on your Saigon to Angkor Wat cycle Challenge you will be:

  • Cycling for around 6-8 hours per day, covering approximately 400kms over 7 days.
  • Battling the heat and humidity. Temperatures can reach the 30s.
  • Cycling across unpaved, dusty roads and busy national roads.

Money

Currency: The currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR) and in Thailand is the Thai Baht. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. We recommend exchanging currency before you go; however there are ATM’s and currency exchanges available at Ho Chi Minh airport to exchange in Vietnamese currency. US dollars (small denominations) are preferred and widely accepted in Cambodia for payments. You can also exchange GBP in Siem Reap into local Cambodian Riel currency.

Credit Cards: Visacard and Mastercard are now accepted in many hotels and shops, but the preferred currency is dollars cash. Visa and MasterCard credit-card holders can get cash advances in some banks. ATMs are available in provincial capitals; please check with your bank the specific charges applied to your account. Many hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards.

ATMs: You will have access to ATMs in the main cities in Cambodia such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and in the main cities in Thailand.

How much to bring: All accommodation and meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your cycling challenge. You will not need a large amount of money during this trip. We recommend that you take approx £200 in small denominations, and in cash (for most of the expedition you will be remote rural regions without access to a foreign exchange or bank). You can use USD$ throughout the trip so only change approx. £20 into Riel for use in Cambodia and £20 into Thai Bath for use in Thailand. Travellers’ cheques and credit cards are only accepted in major hotels or banks and so should not be relied on. There are plenty of great craft souvenirs, silk clothing and silver jewellery in Vietnam and Cambodia. Keep this in mind!

Tipping: Tipping is at your sole discretion and all staff are paid a fair wage. However, tourism is a tipping culture, and Vietnamese and Cambodian guides will generally receive a tip at the end of a job well done. If you choose to tip, we would suggest an amount of USD$80-100 per participant for the duration of the challenge. For those on Charity Challenge organised extensions, we would suggest between USD$10-12 per person per day.

Visa

Cambodia
UK citizens DO require a visa to enter Cambodia but this can be arranged on your arrival at the airport. You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your challenge, and at least two blank pages for your visas and entry/exit stamps. All nationalities must obtain a visa for entering Cambodia. It costs US$30 and allows a stay of up to 30 days and one entry only. You must pay in USD cash. You will need 2 passport photos. If you are a British national and plan to stay for an extended period in Cambodia you are strongly advised to register with the British Embassy in Phnom Penh upon arrival. You can register online at www.britishembassy.gov.uk/cambodia.

Thailand
UK citizens DO require obtaining visas for Thailand, but this will be arranged locally on your arrival. You will be issued with a free 30 day Tourist Visa on arrival. Ensure that your passport is stamped on arrival, especially when you cross over a land border. Do not overstay your welcome. You are automatically fined for each day you remain in Thailand beyond the date stamped in your passport. If you cannot pay you could be arrested.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge team are travel professionals, they are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting in Cambodia and Thailand, and as such it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow to Siem Reap and back from Bangkok to London Heathrow. The flying time is approx. 14-15 hours indirect. Your flight tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport.  If you choose to book your own flights please confirm with the Charity Challenge office first, otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance). For more general flights questions, please refer to our main Q&As page.

 

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be 16 people minimum in order to run and maximum of approx. 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

While hot and often humid, Cambodia and Thailand have a tropical climate, and so you may experience tropical rain and very occasionally storms. During the wet season it can be very humid. Cambodia and Thailand have 2 seasons. The dry season is from December to May, with temperatures over 40c, and the rainy season from June to early November, during which the temperature is around 25c but with a high humidity level.

Terrain

The Cambodian section of the ride is fairly flat, whereas you will notice the hills become more undulating near Kung Wiman Bay, in Thailand. As you cross the border from Cambodia to Thailand you will cycle along country roads. The majority of the ride in Thailand will be on local tarmac-ed roads. You should be confident with gear changing on hills.

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum. Each day when you begin to ride, your personal kit will be transported to the next hotel. You will only need to have a handle bar bag or bum bag with you during the day and you will be able to access your day pack at rest stops. The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at around 23 kg. However, we suggest that for our Angkor Wat to Bangkok challenge you should only need around 15 kg-17 kg. If you don’t need it, don’t bring it, is a good rule. For any valuables, safe deposit boxes are usually provided to use in the hotels. Use a padlock on your luggage when in transit to reduce any risks. Carry your passport with you and make sure you have a photocopy of your documents (travel insurance etc.) in case they get lost or damaged.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Typical day

During the cycling days you will cycle for 6-8 hours. We will stop at shady rest stops every 15–20km where you can rest and regroup. Here you will be able to re-energise with fruit snacks and fill water bottles. For lunch you will stop at a local restaurant or beauty spot for a picnic lunch. These stops need to be taken in a timely manner to keep to the schedule. In the evening there is usually an hour or so free time before we meet to discuss the next day’s adventure. Dinner follows the briefing.

Accommodation

You will be in hotel accommodation throughout the challenge, and the standard in Cambodia and Thailand is generally very high. You will be sharing in rooms of two. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com.

Food & Drink

Cambodian meals are based on fish, poultry, pork, vegetables and rice. The dishes are all very tasty and different and for the most part not too spicy. Food is usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with ubiquitous fish sauce called nuoc mam. Thai food is widely known for being hot and spicy since almost all Thai food is cooked with basic ingredients such as garlic, chillies, limejuice, lemon grass and fresh coriander leaf and fermented fish sauce or shrimp paste to make it salty. Thai dishes are stir fried or grilled and served with rice.  Fish, pork, beef, and chicken are all prepared in a variety of ways, though typically cut into bite sized pieces and stir fried with various spices, such as garlic, chilli, and/or basil. Imported wines and beers are usually expensive, but you can find local wine rice and beers. Please let Charity Challenge knows prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies. You will need to be somewhat flexible with your eating habits when travelling in SE Asia, however, as some diets are hard to cater for! Water will be supplied while you cycle. Please note that you may encounter a large amount of seafood on this challenge so please inform Charity Challenge of your dietary requirements if you do not eat seafood so we can accommodate you the best we can.

what are the bikes like?

The bikes are good quality lightweight Trek 4300, 4500 & 4700 – 24 & 27 spd Mountain bikes with Shimano Deore components, V Brakes and front suspension. All bikes have water bottle carriers & quickly detachable wheels. On arrival you will be asked to sign a waiver issued by our local ground handler on arrival in case of incident caused by yourselves. Please indicate your height on your booking form so that we can aim to book the correct size well in advance.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, helmet and comfortable foot wear for your cycling will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some good quality padded cycling shorts. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are a high quality gore-tex waterproof jacket and technical/Dry fit t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Cycling gloves, and cotton scarf or buff are also highly recommended, to protect you from the dust. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here, and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoor Hire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

These ranges from very basic during the cycling route to normal western standards in the accommodation. There will be en-suite toilet and washing facilities at the hotels. Remember bringing with you some tissue as you might find it difficult to find during your cycling route

Phone and WiFi

Most of the accommodation you are in will have limited WiFi which you will be able to use, but please do not rely upon this, especially while in Cambodia as internet connections are not always reliable. You will have phone signal in almost all places on the challenge.

Safety

Safety advice for the Angkor Wat to Bangkok cycle challenge
Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Angkor Wat to Bangkok challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The cycling route is very exposed, with almost no shade, and on sunny days the temperatures can soar. You should ideally be wearing a sun hat, sun cream, and hydrating constantly!
  • Smoke alarms are not a legal requirement in Cambodia, and as such some of the hotels we use do not have them in place. Your leader will explain the emergency fire procedures to you.
  • Cambodia is a region where still today, a high number of unexploded land mines are being found every day.  Don't wander off well-trodden paths. You could encounter forgotten land mines and undetonated munitions. Never touch a leftover grenade or mine!

 

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s cycling abilities. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. If we find somebody is unable to cycle at all, then we can transport them from one location to the next.
It is policy that participants must wear a helmet – please take your own for comfort reasons. Be aware that cycling can be dangerous and accidents do happen – you must take responsibility for your own safety whilst riding. Throughout the challenge, back-up support will be close by. If for any reason any injury should occur, a relief vehicle will be made available. The relief vehicle will be a private air-conditioned bus, minibus or jeep that will support the riding throughout the tour. It will follow at a discreet distance, and is there for clients who need to rest, to carry the spare bike parts, and will also often contain refreshments such as water, snacks and soft drinks. During transfer sections, the bikes will be carried in the bus. When riding off road on single track trails support will sometimes be by motorbike. The guide will carry water and the first aid kit with him/her until the trail joins the main track where the bus will be waiting.

Training

Training is definitely required. It is important that you work specifically on your stamina, leg and joint strength, and balance in order to get as much out of the challenge as possible. Don’t forget that the temperature and climate is different to the UK and that you will be exercising constantly for a number of days – the heat and distance will be your biggest challenge. You need to be able to sustain around 6-8 hours of cycling for 7 continuous days, so if you can then replicating this over a weekend would be fantastic training. In your members area you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes in your Account once you have signed up. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, please click here.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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