Tag Archives: Vietnam

Vietnam inspired rainbow rice paper rolls

When exploring our beautiful world there is a common experience most travellers rave about apart from the picturesque landscapes and the thrilling sightseeing. That is, THE FOOD!

Many of our Inspired Adventurers journey to destinations that have unique styles of preparing delicious dishes for our participants to try. Coming home and raving to friends and family is bound to happen, but it doesn’t have to end there. Why not try it at home!?

We attempted to make one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes, with a little Inspired twist. By no means are we professional chefs, but we are willing to take on the challenge! Like coriander, you will either love or hate making rice paper rolls. But with a little perseverance and practice, you can add a new skill to your home cooking repertoire.

For this attempt we have chosen a rainbow of ingredients and taken a more mild approach. Perfect for lunch or a healthy snack.


  • Cabbage
  • Bean sprouts (fresh or canned)
  • Coriander
  • Avocado
  • Capsicum (red and/or yellow)
  • Cucumber
  • Lime
  • Mint leaves
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Peanut sauce (for serving)
  • Nuoc cham sauce for dipping (make your own or grab a bottle of similar from the store)
Inspired's take on a rice paper roll


  • Slice your vegetables in similar sized strips and have them on hand to begin rolling
  • Soak one rice paper in a bowl of warm water for a few seconds and carefully place on a clean damp tea towel
  • Place a few pieces of each of your chosen ingredients on the wrapper about 3 cm from the base (closest to you)
  • Squeeze a little lime over filling for some extra flavour
  • Starting from the bottom of the wrapper fold up, followed by the sides and roll up to enclose your filling
  • Place your rolls on a tray with a damp tea towel covering them and repeat the process with the rest of the wraps and filling
  • Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top as a garnish. Slice in half or leave whole to serve with your chosen condiment
  • Enjoy!


  1. Prep all your veggies and have them ready to roll
  2. If you’re not a fan of coriander, replace it with flat leaf parsley
  3. Prepare the rolls as close to serving time as possible so they don’t dry out
  4. Don’t overfill your rice paper sheet otherwise it will split
  5. You can vary this recipe to your heart’s content. Mix it up and try different combinations or stick with the more traditional ingredients
  6. There are some great condiments out there – take the easy route and buy a great satay sauce or simply use tamari
  7. Remember: like pancakes, the first one is always dodgy!

Feeling inspired?

You can explore Vietnam on our Northern Vietnam Trek or by bike on the Vietnam Cycle adventure. Don’t forget to check out our calendar for our upcoming adventures!

Other recipes:


Fundraiser of the Month – Leone Joice

Leone Joice

As our Fundraiser of the Month, Leone has scored herself a $50 donation to her fundraising page. To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

What inspired you to take on your first Inspired Adventure for UN Women?

I’ve always been a strong advocate for women’s rights and equality and for a long time I’ve wanted to do a cycle trip in Vietnam. As if by magic this trip turned up in my Facebook feed and I felt ‘inspired’ to take it on.

How are you feeling about the challenge ahead?

Excited and nervous that I’ve done enough training.

"Start your fundraising as soon as you can..."

Have you ever been to Vietnam before?

No, however everyone I speak to that has gone only has good things to say about the place and the people, so I can’t wait to get there.

What have been some of the highlights of your fundraising experience so far?

I’m a talker, so I got people to bet on whether I could stay silent for an hour. Toughest $500 I’ve ever made!!! The generosity of people has been amazing and having people interested in how the fundraising and training is going has been very encouraging.

What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?

Hill climbs. My cycling up hills is rubbish!! To overcome it: practice, practice, practice! Finding some like-minded (and much fitter) friends who will help me. I’ve also found the fundraising very time consuming. Having a number of activities running simultaneously can get you a bit frazzled.

Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since taking on your first adventure?

I’ve embraced hashtags #justdontletthemlookrude

"Make an ambitious training plan!"

What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming adventure?

Nailing the Hai Van Pass – or at least not crying when it gets really tough! Plus seeing the programs that UN Women are implementing in-situ and the difference they are making to the lives of women and girls. And of course meeting my Inspired team mates and doing this trip together.

What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?

  • Start your fundraising as soon as you can. Remember that nothing much gets done in Australia between Melbourne Cup Day and Australia Day, so plan around it
  • Promote, promote, promote! You might feel like you are badgering people but some people will still miss all you send
  • Ask for help. People will help if asked but you’ll have to be specific.
  • Make an ambitious training plan so you’ve got some flexibility when life gets in the way.
Fundraiser of the Month

Become our Fundraiser of the Month to win a $50 donation to your fundraising page!

Take a picture whilst fundraising for your adventure and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with a fundraising focus will be our Fundraiser of the Month – it’s that easy!


Discovering the best Vietnamese dishes

Vietnamese cuisine is said to be among the healthiest in the world, using less oil than many of its Asian neighbours. You’ll find plenty of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices tossed with meats such as beef, chicken, pork and seafood. There is a harmonious combination of flavours, from sweet to sour, and spicy to savoury.

Every region in Vietnam offers something different due to the varying climate– from the fertile soil of the Mekong, to the mountainous conditions of Central Vietnam.

Here we look at some popular and unique dishes, from all around Vietnam.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich)

If you’re familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, you’ve no-doubt heard of Banh Mi, or the Vietnamese sandwich roll. This roll is traditionally filled with pork, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, shallots, mayonnaise, coriander, soy sauce and black pepper. Of course, there are variations, from steamed chicken and even beef. The perfect Banh Mi roll is golden, crispy and crunchy. It’s an explosion of intense flavour with every bite.

Coffee Beans

Pho noodles

Pho noodle soup is a popular breakfast dish in Hanoi. In the north of Vietnam, the broth is typically clear, while the south favour a thicker, saucier broth with more flavourful garnish.

The word ‘pho’ actually refers to the noodles in the dish themselves, but it has become synonymous with the soup. It is usually served with meat (beef or chicken), lime wedges, bean sprouts, basil, mint and chilli sauce. If you’re a little bored of your everyday packet noodles, this is definitely one to try, check out this recipe and taste it for yourself.

Cha Gio (egg rolls)

These are a fresh and lively take on the meat-filled rolls you will find as appetisers in most Asian cuisine served in the West. Cha Gio are egg rolls filled with pork, shrimp or crab, as well as mushrooms and diced vegetables. You can enjoy them on their own, or dip them in fish sauce with chilli and vinegar. Expect a light crunch, with plenty of flavour!

Che (dessert)

Who doesn’t love dessert? I know I do, and Vietnamese desserts come highly recommended if you like sweet things. Che refers to any sweet dish; from beverages and soups to puddings. Traditionally, che is made with kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, fruit and coconut cream. It can be served chilled or warm.

Vietnamese egg coffee

Most people might have eggs for breakfast, and perhaps a coffee before rushing out the door. But in Hanoi, they have egg coffee.

Egg coffee is made by combining egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk, and whisking it into a thick fluffy cream. The mixture is then poured over strong black coffee. It’s very simple to make and the result is a sweet, delectable treat!

There you have it, some authentic Vietnamese dishes and treats that you can sample on your next trip.

Vietnamese Coffee

Feeling inspired?

Check out our Vietnam adventures.


Adventurer of the Month – Jenny Watson

Jenny Watson

Cause: UN Women Australia
Adventure: UN Women’s Ride for Rights 2016
Fundraising Page: https://rideforrights2016.everydayhero.com/au/jenny-watson
Social: @jennybirdz

As our Adventurer of the Month, Jenny has scored herself a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher! To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

What inspired you to take on your first Inspired Adventure for UN Women?

So many factors led me to taking on my first Inspired Adventure with UN Women but the key inspiration is my mum. Over 35 years ago, she left Vietnam along with her family in search for a better life. It takes a lot of bravery to do what they did, not knowing where they’d end up, facing dangers I can’t begin to comprehend. We are so lucky to have our family all here in Australia, but so many are not so lucky. I’m inspired to help those who stayed, who are a part of the country’s story and culture and, where I can, I’d like help their communities grow and increase their quality of life. This adventure will be nothing like her journey, I know I’ll be safe, happy and well fed, but this ride is in homage to mum’s story.

What made you decide to cycle for UN Women?

Last year I made a resolution to give back more. I looked up volunteering programs overseas because the idea of seeing the world while helping a community grow really appealed to me. UN Women is a great cause and one of the best things about this adventure is the bang for buck. For 12 days of our time, we’ve contributed over $100,000 to projects in Vietnam and Cambodia. Our funds go directly to projects that empower women in Vietnam and Cambodia. We’ve been getting project updates from UN Women and can see our funds already making a difference.

What do you think is so exciting about being able to take on an adventure as well as give to a cause you care about?

I feel like that this adventure has purpose, riding for a cause, travelling to a foreign country, camaraderie with the team … we could be just raising the funds. But there is something more engaging – more personal – by combining both the travel and contributing to a truly worthy cause. I’m so excited about visiting the project sites, meeting those making a difference directly to their communities and travelling with like-minded people.

"There is something more engaging – more personal – by combining both travel and contributing to a truly worthy cause."

What are your total funds raised for UN Women so far? Are there any key fundraising ideas that have contributed to the bulk of your success?

So far I’ve raised just over $6,000, about half of this was raised through fundraising events and the other half from donations from my network of family, friends and colleagues. I organised a high tea in October at the Burbury Hotel here in Canberra where we raised $1,500. It required a lot of work in the background, but I had so much support from the loves in my life and local businesses as well.

What have been some of the highlights of your fundraising experience so far?

Definitely the highlight is seeing donations come through from people you don’t expect. People who I met years back and hardly see, uni student friends and family, people who I have just met … seeing their names give me the biggest smile. It is a nice feeling to know that other people believe in the cause and that your support network is wider than you think.

What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?

I think the biggest challenge was organising the fundraising events. I love organising events, shindigs and parties, but you can only stretch yourself so far. The events were very successful and fun, and I’m really lucky that I had the support of family, friends and work colleagues. My work colleagues literally just picked up an existing event they were organising and decided that all the funds went to my ride.

"This adventure will be nothing like [my mum's] journey. I know I’ll be safe, happy and well fed, but this ride is in homage to [her] story."

Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since taking on your first adventure?

Besides the physical changes I’ve noticed from training (oh my thighs!), I have found myself giving more to other causes, even if it’s just $10 here or there. I’m also thoroughly enjoying learning more about UN Women. The more I learn, the more I want dive in headfirst and help.

What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?

Ask for help. It’s not unreasonable to fundraise the travel costs. Selling chocolates is a slow way of making a little bit of money. Remember there is a support vehicle driving behind you the whole way so just do it!

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Become our Adventurer of the Month to win a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher

Take a picture whilst on your adventure or when you’re training and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with an adventure, and fitness focus will be our Adventurer of the Month – it’s that easy!


In pics: Vietnam and Cambodia Cycle

There’s something utterly special about Vietnam and Cambodia and on this amazing adventure, you will cycle from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia, open to the changing landscapes and colourful culture of the Mekong Delta.

You’ll explore the majesty and mysticism of the Angkor Temple Complex in Siem Reap and marvel at the magnificent spires of Angkor Wat. Explore historic Ho Chi Minh City on foot with an experienced guide and wander the bustling streets of Phnom Penh. 

Day 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The adventure-of-a-lifetime begins today as we board our international flight to Vietnam. We arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the late afternoon and later gather for a trip briefing before a group welcome dinner.

Day 2, Ho Chi Minh City tour

BCNA_Pink Pedal 2014_Saigon_Church_0669

Today we embark on a guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City. We visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. From here it’s only a short stroll along Dong Khoi Street to the Opera House. Next, we visit the Reunification Palace, once a symbol of the South Vietnamese Government. We will explore the palace’s War Room, the Banquet Hall and the Presidential Office, before continuing to the War Remnants Museum. We then head to Cholon, the city’s Chinatown, and Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. We head out onto the bustling city streets for a cyclo tour to Binh Tay market.

Day 3, Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh Long – Can Tho

Plan_Cycle 2014_Cambodia_Landscape_Countryside_P1010145

Today we bid farewell to Ho Chi Minh City as we embark on our first day of cycling. First we cycle to the quieter town of Cai Be. We enjoy lunch together in a French colonial-style villa then board a boat for a leisurely trip to Vinh Long. From Vinh Long, we transfer by private vehicle to Can Tho.

Cycling distance: 40km

Day 4, Can Tho – Ha Tien


This morning, after breakfast, we transfer by private vehicle to Tri Ton. From here, we set off cycling alongside the Vinh Te canal through scenic, peaceful countryside to Ha Tien.

Cycling distance: 50km

Day 5, Ha Tien – Kampong Trach (Cambodia) – Kep

12109755_10206820760190526_3924315508837085398_o (1)

This morning we transfer to the Vietnam–Cambodia border and prepare to cross into Cambodia. Once across, it’s back on our bikes, cycling through the Cambodian countryside and local villages to Kep, via Kampong Trach. This sleepy beachside village is famous for its incredible ocean vistas and fresh seafood.

Cycling distance: 35km

Day 6, Kep – Phnom Penh

BCNA_Pink Pedal 2014_Cambodia_Kep to Sihanoukville_Landscape_P1120558

Today, we set off cycling from our hotel, stopping in the small town of Ta Keo Province for lunch. In the afternoon, we transfer to Phnom Penh and share our first meal in the county’s capital city.

Cycling distance: 76km

Day 7, Phnom Penh

Mater_Cycle 2014_Cambodia_Phnom Penh_Royal Palace_3824

Today we have a free day to discover the delights of Phnom Penh, the bustling, vibrant capital of Cambodia. Perhaps explore the Royal Palace, the National Museum or Wat Phnom, an impressive Buddhist temple standing 27 metres tall. In the evening, stop in at the thriving Central Market before settling in at one of the city’s many restaurants.

Day 8, Phnom Penh – Battambang

140302_World Vision_Cambodia 2014_Sunset over Phnom PenhToday, we leave Cambodia’s capital and cycle north to Udong, at the foot of the Phnom Udong Mountain. This town, once the capital of the Khmer Empire, serves as a monumental necropolis for some of the past kings of Cambodia. Here, we have the opportunity to explore many temples and three large stupas in which the ashes of former kings are interred. In the afternoon we transfer to Battambang where we spend the night.

Cycling distance: 80km

Day 9, Battambang – Siem Reap

Mater_Cycle 2014_Cambodia_temples_3609Today we rest our legs with a private transfer to Siem Reap. Take the time to watch the Cambodian countryside come to life from your bus window, while allowing your body to recuperate. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, we have the afternoon free at leisure to explore or relax.

Day 10, Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat

Mater_Cycle 2014_Cambodia_Siem Reap_3644

This morning, we set off towards the South Gate of Angkor Thom, part of the Angkor Temple Complex. A World Heritage-listed site, Angkor is some 400 square kilometres of crumbling stone temples draped in jungle vines. We explore the Bayon—the centrepiece of this ancient complex, then visit the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of Leper Kings, as well as Ta Prohm Temple. After lunch in the complex, we discover Angkor Wat. In the afternoon, we cycle back to Siem Reap.

Cycling distance: 35km

Day 11, Siem Reap: Banteay Srey, Landmine Museum and Banteay Samre

SBS_Race for Refugees 2012_Cambodia_Banteay Srei_6529

Today, after breakfast, we cycle to the temple of Banteay Srey, ‘Citadel of the Woman’, home to some of the most exquisite stone carvings in the Angkor Temple Complex. In the afternoon, we return to Siem Reap. Tonight is free at leisure to celebrate a successful adventure together.

Cycling distance: 80km

Day 12, Depart Cambodia

This morning we are free to explore the tree-lined boulevards and incredible architecture of Siem Reap before transferring to the airport for our flight home.

Day 13, Arrive Australia

Welcome home and well done!

Feeling inspired?


Where to go to escape the cold

Let’s face it—not many people really like winter. It makes noses red and runny, hands cracked and dry, and on particularly cold days it can turn your feet blue. Blue! Feet aren’t supposed to be blue.

If winter is not your friend and you’re itching (literally, your hands are so dry and itchy!) to chase the sun, below are our top destinations where your nose won’t run, your hands will be soft, and your feet will be a lovely shade of human colour.

 California, USA

California palm trees in vintage style.

Cali, as the locals call it, is a great destination to escape the winter blues. The Golden Sate is the place to be for the best surf and mostly year-round sunshine! You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to a prime spot of golden sands to relax on, as well as loads of cool local art galleries and boutiques to browse.

Puerto Rico

 Puerto Rico is another wonderfully warm destination to escape to, and all you need is your Latino dancing shoes and a bikini (or budgie smugglers). Enjoy the pristine Caribbean beaches and sumptuous American food whilst soaking up some Spanish colonial history. Walk through the winding streets of Old San Juan or take a visit to El Yunque National Forest – the commonwealth’s tropical diamond that teems with noisy wildlife and jungle waterfalls. Oh, and don’t forget to try an authentic Pina Colada—Puerto Rico is famous for them after all.

 Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang Sunrise

Nha Trang, the capital of Vietnam and only a hop, skip and a jump away from Australia, is a vibrant city dotted with tropical islands and sweeping crescent beaches. They’ve got cheap beer and plenty of tasty pho noodle soup. The best part? A holiday guaranteed not to break the bank. If you’re a keen surfer, there are plenty of waves to catch, or if you’re a cultural junkie, you can check out some of Vietnam’s oldest temples.

Marrakech, Morroco

As soon as you arrive in Marrakech you’ll notice something very unique about the city: there is no predictability or sense of direction. However, in this vibrant town, you’re better off without them. Wander through the narrow alleyways and bright souks (markets) in the city’s Medina district. You’ll find plenty of sunshine to soak in and a plethora of delectable foods to be eaten.

Whitsundays, Queensland

Whitehaven beach lagoon at national park queensland australia tropical coral sea world heritage.

If an international escape is not on your radar, perhaps something closer to home will do the trick. The Whitsunday Islands in Queensland enjoy an eternal summer, and winter is arguably the best time to visit. With the water at its clearest, it’s perfect for snorkelers and scuba divers. Take a day trip to Whitehaven Beach, home to the world’s whitest sand, or dive off the coast of Hook Island, the place where the oldest Aboriginal archaeological sites are found on the East coast of Australia.

Feeling inspired?