Stride through Vibrant Vietnam for CBM Australia

Did you know cataract is the leading cause of blindness, accounting for 51% of blindness around the world? Did you also know that just $32 and a 12 minute operation is all it takes for expert surgeons to remove a cloudy lens and replace it with a new lens?

When you join CBM’s Stride for Sight in 2017, you will be helping us achieve our mission to ensure all people with disability enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

Travelling from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, this 11-day adventure across Vietnam will be a journey you will never forget. From the ruins of ancient civilisations, between quilted rice paddies and into traditional rural villages, you will make your way through Vietnam, every kilometre you cover revealing a new splendour.

You’ll also get the special opportunity to visit Thanh Hoa Eye Hospital and see firsthand how CBM are working in partnership with the local community to ensure all people with disability enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

Join today to change the lives of those who need it most.

Stride through Vibrant Vietnam for CBM Australia

Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness, with nearly 20 million people worldwide living with cataracts. However, up to 80% of blindness is preventable or treatable.

This is why our work is so important in helping to restore sight to those who can least afford it.

Just $32 can fund a 12-minute cataract operation, restoring not only sight but also hope to someone who otherwise would continue living with blindness.

Stride through Vibrant Vietnam for CBM Australia

Dates: 14 – 24 April 2017

Registration fee: $770 (non-refundable)

Fundraising target: $3,200 (excludes travel)

Travel cost: $3,890, including taxes

Trip duration: 11 days

Challenge duration: 5 days

Accommodation: Twin-share in 3 star hotels and homestays

Minimum age: 18 (younger ages considered on application)

Stride through Vibrant Vietnam for CBM Australia

1. Enter your details in the form on the right to receive your information pack and booking form.

2. Complete and return the booking form to us at the email or fax on the form.

3. Or just give us a call on 1 300 905 188

THIS TRIP

HAS DEPARTED

ADVENTURE BLOG: 14 – 23 April

Getting shoes polished in the streets
Hubby and wife getting their cooking on!

Day 1: Friday 14th April 2017

We have officially started our trip and from our initial transfer from the airport with our guide, it seems we have a quirky side to this group – we’re going to have some fun!

The group arrived in parts from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney so while we waited to meet up, some of us explored Hanoi. From spur of the moment (and possibly involuntary!) shoe shines to a sneaky lunch costing only $2.50, we’re finding our feet.

Our first dinner in Vietnam altogether was a traditional one in the old French style quarters. Food was amazing but the serenading from a waiter who was Vietnam Idol’s number 4 contestant was a highlight.

Day 2: Saturday 15th April 2017

Some of us kicked off the day with a traditional pho breakfast – who would’ve guessed this soup was a morning food?!

Today we explored Hanoi city going to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and finding out more about the French influence in the country. The highlight here was so many children stopping us to practise their English! It was very crowded but the bonus was chatting to other tourists and seeing people in traditional Vietnamese costumes amongst the many people to take in.

We visited a local market to see where food is purchased for the lunch we were about to make at the cooking centre. We had a ball learning to cook traditional Vietnamese food! Here our playful group really came into their own as evidenced by another tourist asking how long we’d known each other, as if we were old friends.

Day 3: Sunday 16th April 2017

Happy Easter! A few of us set off early to find a local church to celebrate Easter. It was an interesting yet amazing experience to not understand a word of the language but still feel part of the community.

We left early for our long journey out of the hustle and bustle and into the countryside. It was immediately relaxing and we even enjoyed local coffee and tropical fruits at a rest stop along the way.

Our home stay is amazing! Lucky we have all bonded so well because we’re all bunking in together on the top floor of a local home. We trekked through the gorgeous countryside, along the rice paddy fields and amongst the locals greeting us “Xin chow”. We watched them play their local volley ball tournament and kids playing soccer closeby.

Tonight we eat our own creations of sticky rice cooked in bamboo and chicken over the fire.

Day 4: Monday 17th April 2017

Amongst another amazing day trekking through a different part of the village, we bonded as a group over local coffee and special moments with the children of the village.

Today we learned to weave baskets, taught by the locals!

We are off to a different village for our second home stay tonight, which turned out to be a little more developed than the last. Some enjoyed a swim in the lake while others took the time for a massage and others a spot of shopping.

Coconuts anyone?! Getting local refreshments at a rest stop on the way
The crew getting ready for the next destination
Time to ride!

Day 5: Tuesday 18th April 2017

Mai Chau to Thanh Hoa

Whilst some opted the journey on foot, most of us went on a much needed bicycle ride (after all the food we’ve been eating!) through the gorgeous Vietnamese countryside of Lac Village and stopped to explore some caves. We learned of the history here where local people originally used this space as a bomb shelter during the war.

Later on we took the 5hr coach ride to the next town of Thanh Hoa where we will stay near the hospital that we’ll visit for tomorrow’s CBM Australia project.

Patients after their cataract surgeries
Some of the group prepared to observe a cataract surgery
Beautiful boat ride! Note the rower with the umbrella and fan in his hand...
Lady rowing our boat with her feet

Day 6: Wednesday 19th April 2017

Thanh Hoa hospital – CBM Project visit

What an amazing day! Most of us can’t believe we are actually here!
Today was the big day – the day we visited Thanh Hoa Eye Hospital to see where the funds we raised for CBM benefit. We witnessed people walking into their operation, assisted by a nurse, and 12 minutes later, get off the operating table and walk themselves out. Just 12 minutes. The amount of money we splurge on brunches can change lives… In just 12 minutes! After watching the operations we visited some of the grateful patients as they had their eye patches removed and chatted with families in the children’s ward.

We had the opportunity to talk to one of the surgeons who shared some of his motivations for doing cataract surgeries for the last 30 years. One was his commitment to those who fought in the war to be able to see the change they have contributed to. Others were as simple and powerful as seeing their grandchildren for the first time.

Needless to say there weren’t too many dry eyes left in our group and it was a proud, emotional morning.

Following a lunch in the town of Ninh Binh, our local guide surprised us with the option of rowing down Tam Coc river. We went through caves and rowed amongst the gorgeous mountainous scenery. The highlight being the people rowing us doing so with their feet!

View from the boat
Bamboo boat trip on Halong Bay
Row row row your boat
Katrina water bombing a beautiful formation. Typical of our fun adventure!

Day 7: Thursday 20th April 2017

Halong Bay

After a short overnight stay back in Hanoi, we took the long journey to Halong Bay and visited a pearl farm on the way for a little education session on pearls and a spot of shopping for loved ones back home.

Onto our next destination, the Auco Luxury Cruise, which was not only our home for that night, but the source of quite a few fun activities! Whilst some canoed, others swam, and some just chose to sit in the bamboo boats and just admire the gorgeous Halong Bay scenery.

Back on the boat, we enjoyed the decadence of food, cocktails, just enjoying the sunshine and good company on the deck. It’ll be amazing to rock to sleep on the water tonight.

Our view of Halong Bay from the boat
Tai Chi on deck
The team in front of our upgraded boat - bonus!

Day 8: Friday 21st April 2017

Halong Bay to Hanoi

From falling asleep lulled by the sound of water outside our cabins, to tai chi on the top deck at the crack of dawn, and some of us exploring some more caves on foot – we’ve had so many varying experiences which has made this such an eventful and meaningful trip. And not to forget the incredible cause this team has been fundraising for the past year!

On our way back to Hanoi we stopped for some shopping in a silk store where we also had the opportunity to stock up on our beloved coffee filters and beans.

Back in Hanoi, the hustle and bustle was an initial shock compared to the serenity we have been experiencing on the water. It didn’t stop us from getting amongst in at the night markets for our free night off though!

We couldn't survive without our favourite Vietnamese coffee!
Cyclo amongst the chaos of Hanoi traffic
Our sad airport farewell

Day 9: Saturday 22nd April 2017

Hanoi to Australia

Today was our last day together! It turned out that we hadn’t really explored Hanoi by day so we did a cyclo tour around the city and stopped for our last local coffee together, only a short walk through the old quarter to a quaint farewell lunch.

We shared a lovely meal and said our acknowledgements of an amazing time together and pride in our fundraising efforts for CBM. After some free time for last minute shopping it was time to say our sad goodbyes. What a unique and wonderful trip we’ve had together!

@INSPIREDADVENTURES