Tiv Dararith, a long-distance cyclist known for his philanthropic endeavours, is gearing up for an extraordinary challenge: a year-long, 20,000-kilometre cycling journey from Cambodia to Europe. 

His ambitious expedition, set to begin in June, aims to raise $250,000 for the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in celebration of its 25th anniversary. 

Dararith’s route will span 25 countries. With a meticulously planned route and the backing of the Cambodian government and AHC, he is ready to inspire people and make a significant impact once again.

"This project, of cycling through 25 countries from Cambodia across Asia and Central Asia to Europe is a dream,” he says. 

“I am officially announcing that on the 6th of next month, I will be cycling from Cambodia to Europe, stopping in Paris before continuing my fundraising mission across the continent,” he adds.

Along the way, he hopes to shed light on some of the most beautiful natural places in the world, and will document the best of the local sights and cultures he encounters on his journey. Supplied

Dararith will set out from Siem Reap town, before weaving his way through Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Turkey, before reaching Europe.

Due to travel restrictions, he will skip Myanmar and Afghanistan, opting to fly over these regions instead.

The most challenging areas he is concerned about are the western regions of the Himalayas, particularly from Indian Kashmir to Pakistan. 

This region is known for its extremely cold, rainy, and windy weather, meaning he has had to prepare the equipment he will need to endure extreme conditions.

His journey is not just about setting a personal record but also about symbolising hope and support for Cambodian children battling cancer and other severe illnesses. 

Preparations and Challenges

Preparing for such an extensive journey involves meticulous planning. Dararith has selected a high-quality bicycle capable of carrying nearly 100 kilogrammes of equipment. 

This includes camping gear, cooking supplies, electronics for documenting his travels, medical necessities, and clothing to withstand the various weather conditions he expects to encounter.

A map of his planned route, which will span two continents. The map includes some of the cultural icons he expects to visit along the way. Supplied

Dararith, 35, estimates that the trip, on paved roads, dirt roads, and mountain paths, while overcoming obstacles related to road conditions, weather, and material stress, could take up to 10 months. Additionally, overall fundraising efforts may extend for up to a year before he returns home.

"I will be cycling from early morning until late in the evening, setting up camp and editing videos to share my journey with the world," he told The Post. 

Daily routines: cycling, content and cooperation

His journey is not just a physical one. He will be creating digital content as he goes, hoping to draw global attention to his cause through social media updates, videos and photographs.

"I aim to produce good content along the way, as I learn about the traditional culture and lifestyles of people in the areas I pass through. I hope that my short videos and beautiful pictures will encourage the public, both within Cambodia and internationally, to donate money to help children,” he explains.

Following the principles of ecotourism, Dararith will focus on living in harmony with nature and producing videos of natural attractions.

He will opt to camp and engage with local communities, although he admits he will sometimes require a place to charge his electronics, do laundry or take shelter from the weather.

He noted that both his previous cycling trip through Southeast Asia and the upcoming journey to Europe are not suitable for ordinary cyclists, which is why no teammates are prepared to join him.

"It is a very difficult bicycle ride. I will have to travel from early in the morning until late in the evening, then set up a tent and video editing equipment to publish pictures and videos every day," he says.

His reliable mount will carry him 20,000 kilometres, from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Paris, France.

Given the length of the trip and the extensive need for materials, Dararith has appealed for personal financial support before the journey even begins. 

Once he starts his journey on June 6, donations will be directed to the hospital's account to support his cause.

Support and Recognition

Sinket Arun, senior fundraising officer at AHC, expressed her admiration for Dararith's commitment. 

"We truly appreciate his incredible dedication,” she says.

She added that Dararith already dedicates a great deal of effort to supporting children, often spending significant amounts of time and using his own money. 

Arun said that the Angkor Hospital for Children has treated nearly 3 million paediatric cases over its 25-year mission, including approximately 800 children with cancer since the hospital began offering oncology services a decade ago.

She also expressed concerns about Dararith's health and safety during his solo, year-long adventure. 

The hospital will stay in touch to provide support and assistance throughout his journey. In case of health issues, illness or accidents, the hospital will contact the relevant authorities in each country to offer help.

“The hospital has also requested support from the government, as individuals who make such sacrifices bring honour to the nation,” Arun told The Post. 

The government has provided Dararith with various documents for submission to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other relevant ministries to facilitate his journey.

Along the way, he hopes to shed light on some of the most beautiful natural places in the world, and will document the best of the local sights and cultures he encounters on his journey. Supplied

A Legacy of Compassion

Dararith aims to build on this success, raising even more funds and awareness of much-needed healthcare for Cambodian children.

“Every kilometre cycled is a step towards better medical services for Cambodian children,” he explains.

In 2023 Dararith embarked on a 9,000-kilometre journey across Southeast Asia to raise funds for the hospital.

Starting his mission on May 31, Dararith cycled through many countries including Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. 

His goal was to raise $50,000.

Throughout his journey, Dararith faced numerous challenges, including bike breakdowns and illness. 

Despite these obstacles, he remained committed to his cause, ultimately raising nearly $60,000 by the end of his three-month tour on August 26. 

The funds he raised went towards supporting the AHC, which delivers high-quality healthcare to over 400 children daily, regardless of their financial situation.

Dararith's efforts have been widely recognised, and he has garnered significant support from both local and international philanthropists.

For more updates on Dararith's journey and to support his mission, follow his social media “Travel with Rith” account and visit the AHC website.