Emma's Vietnam to Cambodia Challenge!
Our UK & European Events Officer, Emma, has a love of travel and adventure! Recently she pushed herself outside her comfort zone and took to the saddle, taking part in one of our most popular cycling challenges – Our Vietnam to Cambodia challenge!
Welcome back and well done on completing our Vietnam to Cambodia challenge! What made you want to cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia?
Thank you! It was an incredible experience and great to tick off two more countries from my bucket list - which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge. I had never been to Asia before and had wanted to go to Vietnam for a few years so Cambodia was a nice added bonus. I wanted to experience a totally different culture and it certainly was!
Had you done anything like this before?
Previously I had only completed running charity challenges. Other than one wobbly cycle around Central Park in New York three years ago I hadn’t cycled for about 10 years. So, I knew I was going to need to put the training in, but I wanted to test myself and try something new.
How did you prepare for the cycling challenge?
Getting out on a bike is essential. I went out on local cycle routes and canal paths. On the challenge there will be occasions where you have to dodge cattle in the middle of the road or cross narrow bridges so you need to have good bike sense and control.
I also made an effort to go to the gym 2-3 times a week to improve my general fitness and strength. I would cycle at the gym to get some extra miles in, and gradually increased the time and distance that I was spending on the bike.
What was your favourite part of the challenge?
It’s hard to pin point one aspect of the challenge because it was all such a great experience. Crossing the finish line at Angkor Wat was a great way to finish the challenge and exploring the temples is a real treat on the last day.
I would say the main highlight for me was the people. My fellow challengers, the support crew and the local people along the route really made it an unforgettable challenge. The Vietnamese and Cambodian people we saw along the route couldn’t have been friendlier and always offered us a hello, wave, smile or high five to keep us going.
What was the most challenging aspect of your adventure?
The thing you can’t prepare for when you’re training in the UK is the heat and humidity. There are a couple of long sections where you are cycling on tarmac roads exposed to the sun and these can be difficult. I found cycling along with the other challengers really helps you through it and pass the time.
Can you explain what the scenery was like along the way?
The scenery was stunning. You cycle through a real variety of vegetation from rice paddies and banana plantations to jungle along the Mekong Delta. As you pass through the towns and villages you get a real sense of how the locals live, and the cities offer an interesting contrast to the rural countryside.
Would you take part in another challenge? If so, where?
I have definitely got the cycling bug and I think it’s a fantastic way to see a country so I’d love to do more of our cycling events. Costa Rica, Burma and Cuba all look amazing and would be great to experience different cultures. Our new Unite and Bike Against Cancer challenge in Kerala also looks incredible!
What advice would you give someone about to take part in our Vietnam to Cambodia Cycle?
You will get to see the two countries in a different way to regular tourists and meet lots of local people who are always happy to see you. Make sure you take time to take it all in. Stop and look at the sights or say hello to the locals if you want, it will only enrich your experience.
And make sure you stay hydrated! The days can be long and very hot so make sure you are always hydrated whilst you are there and as fit as possible before you go. It will allow you to enjoy the experience to the full.
It’s a fantastic challenge and you are well supported by the challenge leader and local ground crews in Vietnam and Cambodia. They don’t just want to get you from A to B, they want to share their knowledge of their native country and make sure you enjoy the experience every step of the way.
Take on our Vietnam to Cambodia Challenge yourself and experience two facinating South East Asian Countries in one incredible adventure!return to adventure journal