The Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride

A unique way to explore the beautiful temple complex of Siem Reap –

Phnom Penh, (August 2011) – Cyclists & adventure holiday seekers from all over the world are invited to sign up to the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride presented by CIMB Bank and experience Siem Reaps magical temple complex at a unique time when the Angkor roads are closed off to traffic. Entering its sixth year, the annual charity fundraising event, organised by Village Focus International, will take place on Saturday 3rd December.

Angkor Wat Charity Bike Ride

The Bike Race & Ride encourages participants of all ages and fitness levels to cycle through the beautiful temples of the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat temple complex to help raise funds for Village Focus International’s life changing work supporting vulnerable children and sex trafficked victims.

Since the event began in 2006, it has grown each year and raised a total of US$100,000 towards empowering young people and communities break out of poverty.

Rick Reece, Director at Village Focus International said “the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride offers bikers from around the world to join in solidarity to ride on the Angkor roads (car free) through forest, rice fields and the magnificent ancient temple complex. We encourage friends and families to cycle together and unite for a special cause.”

Village Focus International and CIMB Bank hopes the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride 2011 will be its biggest yet this year and is aiming to raise over US$50,000 (net proceeds) and beat previous participation figures.

To sign up for the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride or for more information please visit www.villagefocus.org/bike. You can also follow the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride on twitter or via facebook. Village Focus International is currently in the process of registering as a charity in the United Kingdom.

For media enquiries please contact Hayley Newnham
E: hayley@villagefocus.org
T: +855-(0)-979-594-246

Notes to Editors:
Village Focus International (www.villagefocus.org) is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, as a charitable organization in Hong Kong, and as a local NGO in Cambodia (and pending registration for our local partner – Our Village Association– in Laos). In 2000, we became the first international organization to be founded in Laos, and began working in Cambodia in 2003. During this period, we have worked in almost 200 remote and vulnerable villages and focused on local leadership development in an effort to bring about positive fundamental social change. VFI’s annual budget has grown from US$125,000 in 2000 to almost US$2 million in 2009. In 2009, our 75 staff members served approximately 50,000 people, a dramatic increase from 15 villages and 4000 people in 2000. Despite our growth, we have remained true to our founding spirit: to emphasize and support local leadership, decision-making and ownership, in both Laos and Cambodia. Village Focus International implements three human-rights based programs in Laos and Cambodia; Protection & Empowerment of Women and Children, Healthy Villages and Local Leadership Program and Land & Livelihood Program.

Review of Angthong National Marine Park

Angthong National Marine Park makes a great day trip from either Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. It is also possible to stay in the park over-night. The park consists of 43 small islands stretching over 250 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand. The islands are the peaks of a mountain range that ends in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Most of the islands are islets that are deserted. Many are odd shapes. It makes a great couple of hours cruising around the islands and admiring the dramatic cliffs and limestone rock formations. Many of the islands have names that reflect their shape such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’. Among the islands are small coves with beautiful deserted beaches that remind one of being in a movie.

It is possible to camp over night on the beach at Koh Wua Talab. It is the biggest island in the archipelago and is also the home of the park headquarters. The island also has some trails to impressive view points.

Angthong National Park

The islands are covered in tropical forest. Due to a lack of predators (including humans) many of the animals on the islands have flourished. It is possible to hire guides and explore the interiors of some of the islands. The area contains a number of animals including macaque monkeys, langurs and sea otters. There are also several species of colorful birds to spot.

The sea around many of the islands is rich in corals. Due to its protected status as a park a plethora of marine life gathers around the corals. Dive spots such as the one near Koh Sam Sao are popular with dive schools because it is possible to see short bodied mackerel and sometimes dolphins.

The word ‘angthong’ means ‘golden basin’. It is a reference to the beach fringed inland lake found on Koh Mae Ko. It is a natural wonder of the area and worth a visit just to see the lake.

As well as trekking, camping and diving Angthong National Marine Park offers great opportunities for exploring sea caves, going kayaking and snorkeling. There is more than enough for the visitor to the park to do in one day. Many are the tourists who visit Angthong Marine Park and find themselves wishing they had opted to spend the night in the beautiful unspoiled natural surroundings of the park.

 

Where is the Aletsch Glacier?

The Aletsch Glacier flows down the valley from its beginning high in a pass between two massive mountains, the Jungfrau and the Monch. Located in south-central Switzerland, it measures some 15 miles (25 kilometers) in length and encompasses about 50 square miles (130 square kilometers), making it both the longest and the largest glacier in the Alps.

Aletsch Glacier Photo: David Abet via flickr.com

Glaciers are often thought of as rivers of ice—rivers that are made of snow that has compacted under pressure. Like ordinary rivers, they have their sources, tributaries, and outlets. In the case of the Aletsch, three ice streams—the Great Aletsch Firn (fern is the name used for compacted snow), the Jungfrau Firn, and the Ewigschneefeld (“Eternal Snow Field”) —come together in the region called the Concordia Platz. From this point the great glacier moves south toward the Rhone Valley, flowing at an average rate of 500 to 650 feet (150 to 200 meters) per year.

Along the way small tributary glaciers feed into the main glacier. However, most of the tributary glaciers are melting back and have become disconnected from the main glacier, so that ice from them no longer reaches the Aletsch.

On its left bank the Aletsch Glacier forms a wall, damming up the waters of a small tributary valley and creating a lake called the Marjelensee. In the past the lake sometimes drained unexpectedly into channels beneath the ice, but now the drainage has been controlled to avoid flooding.

The last big ice advance occurred in the 17th century, but today there is not enough snow to compensate for loss by melting. Since 1892 the terminal snout of the Aletsch has receded more than 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and the glacier now occupies only about half of its former basin. Traces of irrigation canals, which were dug into the old valley floor and then buried by the ice during the late Middle Ages, have now become visible again. Along the sides of the glacier a line of boulders and rocky debris (lateral moraines) shows the former extent of the ice.

But even at its present size, the Aletsch Glacier stores a tremendous amount of water. In fact the Massa River, which is a tributary of the Rhone, consists entirely of meltwater from the Aletsch. Though in winter the stream almost runs dry, its torrential summer flow supplies a seasonally operated hydroelectric station.

At one time difficult to reach, the Aletsch region now attracts many visitors, who can take a tram up the side of the Jungfrau to the highest point in Europe that is reachable by rail. Also, several cable cars run up from the Rhone Valley to vantage points above the glacier itself.

The glacier provides exceptional terrain for skiers, even in spring, and the Aletschhom (the highest peak in its basin) offers a challenge to the most experienced mountain climbers. In addition, there is a nature reserve (the Aletschwald), as well as two resorts at Belalp and Riederalp, which provide accommodations for visitors interested in glacier excursions. The beautiful scenery and the pure air are clearly reasons enough for visiting Switzerland’s Aletsch Glacier for an adventure.