Sat 01 Dec - Wed 12 Dec 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

Typical Day

Bike Information

Safety

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations

Climate & Terrain

Training

Training weekends

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Clothing & equipment

Accommodation & Toilets

Food & Drink

Money

Phone & WiFi

Emergencies

Level of Difficulty

The Cycle Vietnam challenge is graded as challenging.

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 Vietnam 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 waterways, plantations and on unpaved and dusty roads.

Typical Day

During your cycling days you will wake at around 7am, have breakfast and start cycling 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. 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.

Bike Information

The bikes are good quality lightweight Trek 4300, 4500 and 4700 - 24 & 27 SPD mountain bikes with Shimano Deore components, V Brakes and front suspension. All bikes have water bottle carriers and quickly detachable wheels. If you would like to bring your own spare inner tube, the valve systems are Presta 26" x 1.8 or Schrader. On arrival you will be asked to sign a waiver issued by our local groundhandler on arrival in case of incident caused by yourselves.

Safety

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 Cycle Vietnam 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 Vietnam, 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.
  • Vietnam 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!

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow to Hanoi and back from Ho Chi Minh. 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 FAQ page.

Visa

Always check the visa requirements with the relevant embassy as it can change on a regular basis or check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

At the time of writing until 30 June 2017 ‘British Citizen’ passport holders travelling for tourism or business can enter Vietnam for up to a maximum of 15 days without a visa. If you have a different type of British nationality – for example ‘British national (overseas)’- you’ll need to get a visa before entering Vietnam.

You must get a visa before you travel to Vietnam if you want to stay for longer than 15 days and/or if you wish to re-enter Vietnam within 30 days of your departure. If you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country make sure you get a multiple visit visa before travelling. Make sure you know before you travel the type of visa you need for the purpose and duration of your trip. If you’re travelling for business reasons you should contact the relevant Vietnam government department in advance to check whether any licenses are required to carry out your duties.

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.

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 Vietnam, and as such it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Climate & Terrain

Climate

While hot and often humid, Vietnam has a tropical climate, and so you may experience tropical rain and very occasionally storms. During the wet season it can be very humid. From November to April, the north is cool and dry, while May to October is hot and rainy. The rainy season lasts from May to November. The temperature in Hanoi can range from 17 degrees in January to 30 degrees in June.

Terrain

Your cycle terrain will be fairly flat for the whole cycle; however, please do not underestimate the length of the days as you will regularly be covering distances of 70-90km each day. Some areas of the cycle will be very exposed and with extreme heat and humidity, which will be a challenge in itself. Please ensure that you drink plenty of fluids and protect yourself from the sun. The cycle paths will be narrow and you will be navigating a variety of paths, including along the coastal line, so practice in efficient gear changing is recommended.

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 members’ area. 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, check out our dedicated page here.

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

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 23kg. However, we suggest that for our Cycle Vietnam challenge you should only need around 15kg-17lg. 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.

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.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be 20 people minium in order to run and maximum of approx. 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 15 to 19 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).

Clothing & 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, protecting 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.

Accommodation & Toilets

The standard of accommodation in Vietnam is generally very high. All rooms are en-suite and have facilities for changing batteries, as well as WIFI connection. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com

This range 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.

Food & Drink

Food in Vietnam is a delight. It is a blend of Thai and Chinese food, and is always freshly cooked with plenty of vegetables. Typical Vietnamese dishes include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, cha gio, deep fried spring rolls, and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimps and peanuts. 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 a fish sauce called nuoc mam. Saigon/Hanoi are the local brews. Wines are very expensive unless you want to sample locally made rice win - 'Roau' (pronounced zeeo). Please let Charity Challenge know 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.

Money

Currency: The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). We recommend exchanging currency before you go, although there are ATMs and currency exchanges available at Hanoi Airport. For up to date currency exchange see www.xe.com

Credit Cards: Visa and Mastercard are now accepted in many hotels and shops, but the preferred currency is cash. You should bring a credit card in case of emergency, but please check any applicable charges with your bank.

ATMs: You will have access to ATMs in the main cities in Vietnam, but please bring cash for the rural areas that you will be staying in.

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 to carry a lot of money with you during the challenge, but as there are daily opportunities to buy soft drinks, alcohol and snacks on the way we would suggest a maximum amount of about £15 a day (in local currency). Bring more if you intend to buy souvenirs and take up the opportunity of the additional things you can do during your time in Vietnam. There are plenty of great craft souvenirs, silk clothing and silver jewellery in Vietnam. Keep this in mind!

Tipping: Tipping is at your sole discretion and all staff is paid a fair wage. However, tourism is a tipping culture and local guides will generally receive a tip at the end of a job well done. If you choose to tip, we would suggest and amount of $120-$150 per participant for the duration of the challenge. For those on Charity Challenge organised extension, we would suggest between $6-$8 per person per day.

 

Phone & 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, as internet connections are not always reliable. You will have phone signal in almost all places on the challenge.

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.

 

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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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