cycle the central highlands and build a home in the Mekong Delta
This adventure philanthropy expedition comprised 9 days cycling through the rolling southern Central Highlands + 4 days building a playground for school children in the Mekong Delta.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~ St. Augustine
Our 8-day cycling route began in the white-sand coastal city of Nha Trang and leads north and then west into the Central Highlands and the coffee-growing provincial capital, Buôn Ma Thuột. From there, we cycle south, through some truly stunning valleys and over a few challenging passes to Dalat, an alpine redoubt infused with French-colonial accents like fresh croissants and strong coffee.
Daily cycling mileage and terrain varies from 35km to 70km, taking you into the rugged and lesser-seen regions of the southern Central Highlands, home to indigenous tribal communities. We're always looking for serendipity in our schedule, and sometimes that results in shared meals—and some rice wine—with local residents. Our brand-name mountain bikes are provided by our Dalat-based partner, Phat Tire Ventures.
This adventure philanthropy expedition began its second phase in the Mekong Delta, in the coastal town, Rach Gia.
In just 4 days, in cooperation with our non-profit partner, the Catalyst Foundation, 6 roadmonkeys (from the United States, Canada and Australia) built a simple home out of brick, plaster and concrete for a local family that is currently homeless. They had plenty of help from local folks.
This adventure philanthropy expedition began Sunday, Oct. 16, in Nha Trang, a city of palm trees & long, white-sand beaches. The cycling ends in Dalat on Oct. 23, spending two nights there to unwind after our two-wheel adventure.
In the Mekong Delta our house-building project lasted 4 days, through Oct. 28. On Sat., Oct. 29, we flew back to Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City), for a celebratory dinner, the closing moments of our expedition.
The cost of this adventure philanthropy expedition includes all lodging, domestic air and ground transportation and most meals - excluding those taken on your day off - quality mountain bikes, a support van and a fully developed volunteer project that we'll start and finish in 4 days.
We're traveling through Vietnam's breadbasket, and the food we'll encounter along our route promises to be healthy, fresh, delicious…and mostly Vietnamese. Lots of noodle and rice-based dishes with fresh vegetables, sauces and soups. Vegetarians and meat eaters each do quite well in Vietnam.
Expedition members can expect single rooms in superior hotels upon your arrival in Nha Trang, for a soft landing after a long journey from home. During our 8 days cycling and during our playground building days in the Mekong Delta, we'll be staying by necessity in clean if quite basic hotels in the central highlands.
You should arrive in Nha Trang on or before Saturday, Oct. 15. Connecting flights are easily made from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, often on the same day as your international arrival.
Departures from Vietnam can begin from Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday, Oct. 30.
What you are doing has had a huge affect on all of us, internally. Externally, there is a playground where there was none and a bit more hope than there was just a week ago. There are ties forged by the experience that go both ways, and cross oceans, that will never be undone. It's a beautiful thing.
~ John, architect