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Dream Challenges participants on a cycling challenge in Thailand for heart charities.

The Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023

Challenge level: 4 out of 5

When can I go?

27 October - 5 November 2023 On Sale
Duration 10 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info £349
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

The Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023

Discover the rolling emerald tea fields, serene villages and majestic temples of Northern Thailand on our tropical bike ride for heart charities.

Everyone knows about the paradise beaches of Southern Thailand but the peace of living in the mountains is something else entirely. We’ll tackle mighty climbs through the countryside, catch our breath in the natural swimming pools of a waterfall and meet the amazing Lahu Hill Tribe nestled amidst tea plantations.

Cycling from the bustling city of Chiang Mai to the White Temple of Chiang Rai, our challenge will leave our legs burning in the best way. We’ll be treated to extraordinary vistas over lush farms and valleys, enthralling insight into the rich history and culture of rural Thailand and a chance to soothe our feet in hot springs hidden in a forest.

Prepare to fall in love with the delicious Thai cuisine, keep your eyes peeled for exotic wildlife and make a group of awesome new friends. And the best part? It’s all for the heart charity or cardiac ward of your choice.

The Big Heart Bike Ride
The Big Heart Bike Ride is a heartily popular challenge that brings people from all cycles of life together in support of heart charities and cardiac wards across the UK. Over the years, these incredible cycling challenges have raised thousands of pounds for all sorts of heart charities and cardiac wards.

It's not only a chance to pedal up for people affected by a heart condition; it's also a chance to strengthen your own heart, as you train and take on a phenomenal cardio challenge.

Your itinerary

Days 1 & 2
UK – Bangkok – Chiang Mai

We begin our adventure at the airport in London, where we meet as a group for the first time and catch our overnight flight to Bangkok. Touching down on Day 2, our journey continues with a domestic flight to the charming city of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.

Our awesome local Challenge Leader welcomes us upon our arrival and we transfer together to our resort. You then have time to freshen up and get settled before we meet again for our bike fitting.

We finish the evening with a delicious Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. While we tuck into some exquisite Thai cuisine, our Challenge Leader will brief us on the bike ride we’ll conquer in the days ahead!

Day 3
Chiang Mai – Sri Lanna | approx. 82km

After a fresh breakfast at our resort, we cycle away from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai. Before long, we reach the district of Mae Rim, with panoramas of rolling, emerald rice plantations, fruit orchards and small villages nestled in the hills.

Our challenge picks up with steeper climbs, but the stunning natural scenery keeps us smiling and soon, we reach a spectacular waterfall. After all those climbs, we deserve a break, so feel free to take a dip in the natural swimming pool of the waterfall or simply relax and take advantage of the photo opportunity.

Back on our bikes, we follow the roads of Mae Rim all the way to Sri Lanna, a beautiful National Park that boasts tropical forests, mountains and valleys.

We end our ride at Wat Ban Den, one of the most magnificent but least known temples of the Chiang Mai province. Of course, we jump on this chance to explore the temple and then depending on the group and timing, we can either cycle the final 6km to our accommodation or transfer in our private van.

Day 4
Sri Lanna – Chiang Dao | approx. 55km

Fuelling up with breakfast at our resort, we continue our cycle north through the rolling countryside. We may tackle a shorter distance today, but this stretch is far from tame.

We start with a fairly flat ride from the resort and brace ourselves as we meet the mountain road. Here’s where our day of climbing begins. Following the quiet, single lane road through the mountains, we pass through local villages and enjoy the peace of life in the mountains, far from the society we know.

Finally, we reach the Chiang Dao hot spring, a welcome wonder of nature hidden in the forest. This is the perfect finishing point of a challenging day. We soothe our feet and burning legs in the spring before hopping in the van for the last leg to our resort.

Depending on the group and timing, we can cycle the final 13km from the Hot Springs to the resort, which is mostly a flat and downhill ride, a breeze compared to the bulk of the day!

Day 5
Chiang Dao – Thaton | approx. 50km

Waking to breakfast, we transfer to a local hometel to meet a friendly local of the Lahu Hill Tribe and browse the mini-museum.

Here, we gain insight into the amazing local culture, the rich history of the opium trade in the old days and the transition to coffee and tea plantations. We then have a chance to try the local teas with a little tasting session prepared by members of the Lahu Hill Tribe.

Bidding goodbye, we mount our bikes and cycle through the beautiful rural Fang district, very close to the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Our idyllic route takes us through lush farmland, tea and coffee plantations on a relatively flat 40 - 50km ride to our riverside accommodation, a perfect recovery ride before we commence the two toughest days of our adventure.

Day 6
Thaton – Mae Salong | approx. 48km

After our active recovery day yesterday, we now embark on the toughest cycle of our Big Heart Bike Ride. Beginning our day with breakfast at our accommodation overlooking the Kok River we hop on our bikes along the road of Thaton. Here, our first climb awaits.

We turn off to ascend through the mountains on the backroads, where the expansive vistas reward us well for our workout. The river snakes through acres of green countryside far below us, a mark of how far we have climbed.

The views give us the boost we need to keep climbing and exploring this beautiful part of the world. At last, we arrive at our simple but comfortable hotel tucked in Mae Salong, right in the middle of the mountains.

Day 7
Mae Salong – Chiang Rai | approx. 60 – 75km

Rise and shine to our final day on the bikes! We tuck into a big breakfast and start riding along the ridgeline of Mae Salong, with hilly terrain but many downhill stretches.

This fascinating pocket of Thailand gives us stunning views and bares a striking resemblance to the Chinese province of Yunnan. In the 1960s, many ex-soldiers settled in Mae Salong and many of the locals still use the Yunnan dialect. We may even see some signposts written in Chinese!

Having spent most of our challenge heading north towards the Myanmar border, today sees us cycling south-eastwards towards Chiang Rai. Depending on the group and timing on previous days, we can adjust the routing on this day to be around 60km but less scenic or take a hillier but prettier 75km route.

After five epic days in the saddle, we enjoy an awesome finish at the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai! We take some triumphant photos and then transfer to our accommodation for a very well-deserved rest!

Tonight, we toast our success over a fantastic Celebration Dinner at a riverside restaurant.

Day 8
Chiang Rai

Today is free for you to relax at our accommodation and explore the peaceful city of Chiang Rai. To give you maximum flexibility on this free day, your lunch and dinner are not included, so please take this opportunity to visit one of the many restaurants and try the delicious local cuisine.

Days 9 – 10
Chiang Rai – Bangkok – UK

After our last Thai breakfast, we transfer to the airport in Chiang Rai, where we say goodbye to our fantastic local team and catch our domestic flights to Bangkok. From here, we continue our homeward journey with an overnight flight to the UK.

Touching down in London on Day 10, we part ways and you make your own way home, ready to book your next Dream Challenge!

If you’re not ready to leave Thailand on Day 9, we’re super excited to offer you the choice of two optional extensions you can join for an additional price. The extensions give you the opportunity to spend several extra days in Thailand either to explore the paradise beaches of the South or to see more of the spectacular sights of the North. We will send all participants the full details of both optional extensions, including the prices, dates and how to request a place, as the challenge draws closer.

Book my place

Funding options

Self Funded

Pay the registration fee (£349) and challenge costs (£1,750) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £475).

£1,750

Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £349 when you book, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Pay your challenge cost of £1,750 yourself 12 weeks before the challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, capped at £475), your food, accommodation, transfers, luggage transportation, entry fees, guides, bike hire, mechanics and medical support, including a team of outdoor remote first aid trained challenge guides and a UK doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can or make a personal donation to the heart charity or cardiac ward of your choice.
  • Please also remember to budget for your airport taxes and fuel surcharge (capped at £475).
Book my place

Sponsorship

Pay the registration fee (£349) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £475), and fundraise £3,750 or more for your chosen charity.

£3,500

Minimum sponsorship target

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £349 when you book, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Fundraise the minimum sponsorship target of £3,750 for a heart charity or cardiac ward of your choice at least 12 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • Providing you have raised the funds, the charity you are supporting will pay the challenge costs of £1,750 on your behalf.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, capped at £475), your food, accommodation, transfers, luggage transportation, entry fees, guides, bike hire, mechanics and medical support, including a team of outdoor remote first aid trained challenge guides and a UK doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for your airport taxes and fuel surcharge (capped at £475).
  • Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Book my place

FAQs
The Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023

This cycle is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part in this challenge will have a low level of fitness when they sign up.

We will be tackling a lot of steep climbs and long cycling days on this challenge, so we strongly recommend you train. Once you sign up, we'll send you a fantastic training plan, which builds up over time and will set you up for success. Remember, the more you train, the more you'll enjoy the real deal!

This adventure in one of the world's most incredible places is the perfect motivation to get fit, while raising vital funds for the heart charity or cardiac ward that means the most to you.

Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our Dream Challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and lifelong friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.

Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for the Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023. Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow cyclists on your training and fundraising.

You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.

Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. Everyone who is at least 18 years old by the challenge date is more than welcome to join our bike ride.

If you would like someone under the age of 18 to join you on the challenge please contact us to discuss (01590 646410 or events@dream-challenges.com)

There will be around 40 participants in our group for the Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023. You'll no doubt make loads of awesome new friends!

Your non-refundable registration fee of £349 per person is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.

Your challenge costs of £1,750 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the sponsorship option) cover:

  • Your flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, capped at £475).
  • Meals throughout the challenge, except for your lunch and dinner on your free day in Chiang Rai on Day 8, and enough drinking water.
  • Accommodation*.
  • Bike hire.
  • All transfers and luggage transportation in Thailand.
  • Entry fees where applicable.
  • A team of fantastic, outdoor remote first aid trained local guides and Dream Challenges staff.
  • Full support from the Dream Challenges office in the lead-up to and during your challenge.
  • Medical support, including a UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will accompany us throughout the challenge.
  • Mechanical support.
  • Your Big Heart Bike Ride in Northern Thailand 2023 medal and t-shirt.
  • Optional extensions if you choose to partake.

*Accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis. If you would rather pay for a single supplement and have a room to yourself, we can arrange this for you for an additional cost of £270.

In addition to paying your registration fee and either self funding your challenge costs or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target, you will need to budget for:

  • Your airport taxes and the fuel surcharge (capped at £475).
  • Your personal travel insurance.
  • Lunch and dinner on your free day in Chiang Rai on Day 8.
  • Gratuities.
  • Personal expenses.
  • You may also choose to pay £270 for a single supplement and have a room to yourself.

A cycle helmet is essential and must be worn at all times. Cycling shorts are also recommended and everyone will need their own water bottles or a camel back-type hydration system.

Apart from that, no specialist equipment is required. We will supply you with a list of everything you will need to take before you go.

Cyclists will have the use of 18 or 21-gear bikes and we suggest you bring the saddle or gel cover you are used to riding on.

 

We will stay in a mix of comfortable local hotels and resorts on this challenge.

*Please note, accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis. If you would rather pay for a single supplement and have a room to yourself, we can arrange this for you for an additional cost of £270.

Please email us at events@dream-challenges.com if you would like to do this at least fourteen weeks before the challenge starts.

Yes of course! We're delighted to offer you the opportunity to extend your stay and either explore the stunning paradise islands in southern Thailand or take part in a fantastic sightseeing expedition in Northern Thailand. 

We will send all participants the full details of these optional extensions, including prices, closer to the challenge date.

Please get in touch and let us know if you’d like to take part at least 14 weeks before the challenge by emailing us at events@dream-challenges.com.

You are also welcome to extend your stay even if you're not interested in the optional extensions. Please just get in touch at least 14 weeks before the challenge and we can arrange this for you. 

You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation.

Dream Challenges has a policy that provides appropriate cover for this type of activity and also covers you for cancellation due to medically diagnosed COVID-19. We will send you the details once you have registered.

Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate cover for your challenge.

You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity cycle in Thailand.

Visas

Currently UK citizens with a UK passport can enter Thailand under the visa exemption scheme for up to 30 days. Please visit the Thai embassy website for eligibility criteria: https://london.thaiembassy.org/en/publicservice/84451-tourist-visa 

The Dream Challenges team is here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way.

We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.

Once you have registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the challenge. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

During the cycle, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group from the get-go and at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of experienced, outdoor remote, first aid trained challenge guides.

Please note that the Dream Challenges staff travel back to the UK with the main group at the end of our challenge on Day 9. If you choose to take part in either of the optional extensions, there will be no Dream Challenges staff, but you will be supported by our trusted local agent in Thailand.

We’ll have an event leader, plus a UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will be with you the whole time. We'll also have a team of outdoor remote first aid trained challenge guides.

As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.

We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.

NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

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