Mekong Plus: Making a Difference with Bamboo Bikes

Vietnam and Cambodia are undoubtedly among the most beautiful countries in the world, complete with vibrant cultures and long, interesting histories. However, it’s also undoubtedly true that there’s a lot of room for development. In many of the small villages dotting the countryside, lives are often hard and fraught with anxieties about health and money. In some instances, villagers will subsist on just around .32¢ a day on average.

The Mekong Plus Association, an NGO founded in 1994 by Bernard Kervyn and two friends, Gilberte Do-Huu and Robert Eberhardt, is working to change this statistic. In its 20 years of operation, Mekong Plus has supported a number of projects in over 800 villages spread across three provinces in Vietnam and Cambodia. These projects are ambitious and cover issues as far-reaching as developing village economies, health, hygiene, agriculture and education. So far, Mekong Plus has enjoyed tremendous success, affecting over 200,000 people each year.

Of course, these initiatives do need money to do well, and Mekong Plus has gotten creative with their fundraising efforts. While people can donate on the Mekong Plus website or volunteer their time, one of the most ingenious ways Mekong Plus has been making money has been with their Bamboo Bike tours. For the past four years, this incredible organization has been putting together tours through Vietnam and Cambodia, focusing on the Mekong River Valley. By donating around $100 per day plus living expenses, bikers can tour the many projects Mekong Plus has set in motion, and work with the villagers to produce real sustainable results.

As co-founder Bernard Kervyn said, one of the best parts of these bike tours is the fact that they’re customisable. He knows that not everybody who wants to explore the Vietnamese and Cambodian countrysides will enter the Tour de France, and Mekong Plus has prepared for this accordingly. Depending on experience levels, there are four different routes bikers can sign up for: the Mekong Flowers (a 10-day journey); the Mekong Shoots option, which is best for families; the Mekong Mission, ideal for school groups; and the Mekong Trophy, designed for sporty bikers. Check out these different options here.

While all of these bike tours vary in terms of duration and length, they all provide a stunning tour of the Mekong River Valley and let participants make a difference in Mekong Plus’ developmental projects. And while one might think that participants need to be young and athletic to join a bike tour and make a difference, this is absolutely not the case. Many of the participants have been retired individuals looking for an alternative way to vacation abroad. Bernard also mentioned that a nine-month-old baby was also part of a recent expedition and fared quite well and comfortably on the bike journey. One thing is definitely clear: if you’re looking for a way to support a fantastic NGO while getting personally involved, the Bamboo Bike tours are certainly a great option.

By: Keely
Updated: Feb. 20, 2017

If you liked this then you might like ...

Christmas Vietnam-Style

Christmas Vietnam-Style

Christmas Vietnam-Style Walking through the city center of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on any given night in December is an assault on your senses. Christmas tunes stream through shop fronts and the hotels, restaurants and stores are decorated with vibrant, almost Tokyo-esque neon lights attracting Saigonese like moths to a lantern. Pedestrians crowd the sidewalks taking in the sights and snapping pics on smartphones. Add in a sea of motorbikes traveling up streets lined with fairy lights and what you are experiencing is the Saigon’s version of Christmas. The action centers on the corner of Nguyen Hue and ...

Read More
Kitesurfing Equipment: Safety and Choice

Kitesurfing Equipment: Safety and Choice

Like any sport in it’s infancy, kitesurfing equipment has evolved. There are three landmark inventions which made kitesurfing safer and more accessible for the broader public. Pre-2,000, kitesurfing was a two line sport. A disadvantage to only have two lines meant that the rider couldn’t adjust the power of the kite in varying wind conditions. Manufacturers in 2000 revolutionised the sport by including two more lines to the kites, which enabled the rider to depower the kite in gusts or stronger winds. Then, in 2005, manufacturers added one more line.   The fifth line made it easier to relaunch the ...

Read More
Logo Design Contest by Canadian Embassy

Logo Design Contest by Canadian Embassy

Hanoi – The Embassy of Canada in Hanoi invites Vietnamese youth to take part in a competition to design a logo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Canada-Vietnam diplomatic relations next year. The competition is open to all Vietnamese nationals who are 12 to 22 years old by December 31, 2012. The winner whose logo design is chosen will receive a grand prize of a Blackberry Playbook 16 Gb, a Canadian technology. All the entries should be submitted by email to hanoi@international.gc.ca or by post to the Embassy of Canada, 31 Hung Vuong, Hanoi. The subject of the email and/or ...

Read More
Golf in Dalat

Golf in Dalat

"City of Eternal Spring", Why not? Golf Clubs Dalat is the stepping stone to the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  It stands at 1475 metres and this French influenced city is a breath of fresh air after the mayhem and humidity of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Dalat has been known for decades as the "City of Eternal Spring". This is due to its year round cool crisp mountain climate.  Dalat is the centre for vegetables and flowers, which grow in abundance in the rich, dark colored soil.Golfwise, it is well serviced by three golf courses, although two are only nine ...

Read More

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Archives
I'm already a member! click here
No thanks

Membership is free. No spam policy.