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VIETNAM EXPLORER SCHOOL TOUR

HO CHI MINH CITY - CU CHI - LONG TAN - MEKONG DELTA - DANANG - HOI AN - MY SON - BACH MA NATIONAL PARK

This educational tour in Vietnam is a fantastic combination of culture, history, and the natural beauty of the country, while allowing students to contribute to a community service project. Vietnam school tours allow students to learn about the country’s colonial and war history at historic sites such as the Cu Chu Tunnels and Long Tan War Memorial, before leaving the city behind, to experience traditional life along the Mekong Delta. Two days will be spent on a Mekong Delta community project, where students will immerse themselves in village life, and work alongside local tradesmen to contribute to the building of local school structures. Traditional cooking classes and trekking to waterfalls through Bach Ma National Park are additional highlights after the community project.

Trip code : VN7131SC

Duration : 12 days

Destination : Vietnam

Travel Dates : As required

  • Discover Saigon's French and war history, including an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Visit Nui Dat Old Battle Fields
  • Spend time with children at a local Kindergarten
  • Shop for unique handicrafts
  • Be part of a local community service project
  • Take a cooking class in the ancient town of Hoi An
  • Trek through evergreen forest in Bach Ma National Park to cascades and waterfalls
 
On arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport, we will be greeted and driven to our hotel in the city centre. After check-in, we will be free to wander around the hustle and bustle city and spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
After breakfast at hotel, we drive to visit Cu Chi Tunnels. At its height, the tunnel system stretched over 250km from Saigon to the Cambodian border and was three levels deep. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life during the U.S.-Vietnam American must have been like. After lunch in a restaurant by the river, we will be back to the city centre. The rest of the day will be devoted to some highlights of Saigon such as: Reunification Palace, a palace of old President in South of Vietnam during the American war; Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office, the two sites that we can ignore when we visit the city. Our free evening activities should be: walking around at the night market in Ben Thanh market area; explore the highest building in Ho Chi Minh City, Bitexco…. Dinner at restaurant and overnight at hotel.
Today we head off to Vung Tau; our first stop being the site of the former Nui Dat Task Force Base followed by a visit to the Long Tan Cross. Afterward, we will continue on to the Long Phuoc Tunnels and visit the former Minh Dam Secret Zone and Long Hai. Sight-seeing in Vung Tau will also include the massive War Memorial at Back Beach. This afternoon we will visit the Nui Dat Kindergarten which was opened in October 2010. This Kindergarten was funded by the Australian Vietnam Volunteers Resource Group and now stands on the site where over 5000 Australian soldiers were based at any one time during the Vietnam War. At present it provides long day care for 50 children between the ages of 3 and 5; children who will revel in the company of our group. Whether we are helping with their lessons or enjoying a game of soccer the smiles which will be generated will certainly make this visit a memorable one. Late afternoon we make our way back to Ho Chi Minh City for overnight accommodation.
This morning, we transfer to Cai Be where we will enjoy our boat trip around Cai Be floating market with various local barges full of fruits and vegetables. After the market, we stop at local workshops to visit rice paste, coconut candy, pop-rice, pop-corn production or we visit the handicraft village where the local people make special products of rice-net for spring rolls, fish sauce, soya sauce, cooking salt, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage proof….Then we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, the rowing boat will take us deeper into the countryside along the canals. It’s time we feel the peaceful air while passing traditional houses which made of wood, palm tree leaves; farmers catching fishes or picking up fruits by ancestral way in Mekong Delta. Arriving at home-stay, we check in and enjoy the last but not least activity of the day is biking. It will be so amazing to bike on village paths to see the local farms, houses, real life and the ancestral ways to pick up fruits in Mekong Delta... In the rest of the day, we learn cooking some dishes with the owners, then enjoy dinner and have cup of tea or rice wine when talking together. We can ask the locals about the culture, people, and history of this Island. They do not mind to answer some personal questions. Overnight in Ut Trinh Homestay.
After breakfast at hotel, we cycle to our project site which located in the island – a local school. Here, based on the funding budget, we can help the local school building a new toilette for the children, or making school-fence or tiling the school’s yard. Our Leaders will divide in small groups then we start to our project. This will take the form of practical building and some laboring tasks as we construct a house for an impoverished family in this remote region. Breaking into groups, there will be a variety of tasks to undertake each day of the project from layering bricks, mixing cement, assembling frames, hammering, sawing and transporting of materials… Local tradesmen and tour leaders will be supervising and assisting throughout the project, often identifying students with particular skills to perform the more difficult or skill orientated tasks. Groups will be rotated throughout the project. The days will be long and the results rewarding as we see our project come to fruition and as curious villages from all around come to watch and assist us. In the late afternoon, we will cycle back to the homestay where we spend the night.
We will be waked up by local sounds of birds, dogs, rosters… Breakfast await us. Then, we continue our project from layering bricks, mixing cement, assembling frames, hammering, sawing and transporting of materials… Local tradesmen and tour leaders will be supervising and assisting throughout the project. In the afternoon, we will interaction with local students and have some fun activities with them before ‘Handling Ceremony’ with a tea break. Please prepare some presents for the local kids and see how they enjoy it. Cycle back to the homestay in the late afternoon, roll into the kitchen and assist the host with dinner cooking. Overnight at homestay.
In the early morning, we will take a short flight to Danang (VN 1440, 06.50 – 08.20). On arrival, we will be welcomed and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An. Leaving luggage at hotel (check-in time is 14.00), we will start our walking tour around the ancient town to visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Pottery Museum, Tan Ky old house, the Cantonese congregation, the silk street of Hoi An, the temples and pagodas of Chinese appearance. Dinner and overnight in Hoi An.
This morning, we join the fantastic Cooking class at Red Bridge restaurant with first activity to visit Hoi An colorful market to experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market; and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. Later, we board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School; explore the cooking school's herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of Hoi An's and Vietnam's well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef's, before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked. In the afternoon, we depart for the ancient Cham ruins of My Son. Once there, we visit the Tra Kieu capital which was the former administration center of Champa Kingdom. Discover the majestic ancient ruins at My Son including ancient towers which were built from the fourth century. Later this afternoon, we’re back to the town centre for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast at hotel, we will take 3-hour drive to Bach Ma National Park. On arrival, you’ll walk up to the summit for the views and, hopefully, the sunrise. From there, the Rhododendron trail and Five Lakes Cascade trail (6km in total) will take you through evergreen forest, cascades and waterfalls. After lunch in a nearby local restaurant, the Pheasant Trail (2.5 km) takes you to a series of waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. You’ll spend the night in the park. If you’re interested in bird watching, we can arrange a special park local guide who can’t speak English but can whistle to call the birds. He’ll research the Pheasant Trail in the afternoon of the day before to spot their mating places, and guide you to places where you’d be most likely to spot the pheasants. In the afternoon, we hike down and have a private bus waiting and take us back to Hoi An for the night.
Time will be free until our car arrives at the hotel to take us to the airport in Danang in good time to board our departure flight. Trip ends.
Australia Arrival

ITINERARY OPTIONS:

EXPLORER: Take your group on a fun and relaxes overseas trip to witness the local culture and history rarely seen at home. Including a little adventure or meaningful community projects. Our itineraries include: cooking classes, war history, museums, nature experience etc.

Ideal for ages 13-21

PARTICIPANTS WILL NEED:

  • Good level of fitness
  • Strong interest in chosen subject
  • Engaging outdoor activities/learning
  • Keen to try local cuisine
  • Sense of adventure
  • Competent swimming ability

COMMUNITY SCHOOL PROGRAMS

These programs include: building houses, school rooms and kindergartens for communities. Other activities include visiting orphanages, children's hospitals and disability/rehabilitation centres.

DURING THE TOUR:

Our local English speaking tour guide and drivers are highly trained and experienced, with safety being their number one priority. Our staff are available 24/7 to provide any necessary support for your group. We guarantee students to always be located within the same area in hotels.

Please contact us on +61 8 7226-1898 or 1300 739 652 for the price.

Price depends on the below:

- Projects your group would like to participate
- Desired outcome/Learning objectives for students
- Accommodation level
- Travel date
- Group Size
- Duration of the tour
- Sightseeing

You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival or a visa exemption certificate) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page.

Some travellers with e-visas have reported having to pay a second visa fee on arrival because of differences between their passport and e-visa application. Make sure you correctly enter your details when applying. Print a copy of your application and carry it with you.

If you're planning to stay longer than 30 days or require multiple entries, you'll need to apply for a visa directly from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam. Complete the visa application form online, then print it and take it to the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam. If you arrive in Vietnam with a written approval letter for a visa to be issued on arrival, you'll need to pay the fee in cash, either in US dollar or Vietnamese dong. Check whether you will require a single entry or multiple entry visa.

If your spouse or parent is a national of Vietnam, you can apply for a visa exemption certificate. The certificate is valid for five years and allows multiple entries into Vietnam for up to six months.

If your visa expires or is otherwise no longer valid, you will face delays and fines when leaving.

You cannot change the status of your entry visa (such as tourist visa or spouse visa) to any other visa type (such as a working visa) in-country.

To obtain a visa extension from the Vietnamese immigration authorities (including for overstaying your visa), your passport must have at least six months validity remaining at the time of application.

There are value and quantity restrictions on the import and export of prescription medicines.

And 'addictive medicine' (used for the treatment of addiction). Prescriptions and medicines must be shown to customs.

Vietnam has health screening for all inbound travellers. All foreigners must register their place of residence with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. The Australian Embassy and Consulate-General can't provide translation services to assist with registration.

If you stay at a hotel, confirm you'll be registered as part of the normal check-in process. They'll need your passport details.

Many hotels ask foreigners to leave their passport with hotel staff for registration purposes. It isn't a legal requirement for hotels to retain your passport for the duration of your stay.

If you stay with family, friends or in another private residence, you'll need to register at the local police station, with a translator if needed.

Local hosts need to pre-register foreign guests – if you stay in a private residence, make sure your host has satisfied this legal requirement.

By law, you must use only one passport for your entry, exit, transit and residence in Vietnam.

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia. If your passport has less than six months, validity, you could be refused, or may not be permitted to board your flight.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

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