Location: Mountain regions of Northern Vietnam.
Target Year Groups: Y10 to Y13
Maximum number of students: 36
Approximate cost: HK$12,400 to $13,000 dependent on student numbers
Outside Provider or Organisation: Indigo

Trip Leaders: Ms Cynthia Li

Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas, in advance of the trip, if required. Visas on arrival are NOT permitted.

Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.

The Vietnam Service Trip takes school groups into mountain villages in northern Vietnam to work with local ethnic hill tribes in the area. The project will be carefully chosen according to what best serves the community at the time – perhaps providing assistance with needs at the schools such as refurbishing or rebuilding classrooms, physical work in the village, setting up libraries or sustainable feeding projects, or similar projects that are required at the time. The opportunity to improve the lives of others and enhance education experiences in impoverished areas is an incredible privilege, and is guaranteed to be a life-changing experience.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival day. Welcome to Vietnam!
  • We start today with an alternative city tour as we begin to get an idea of Vietnam’s rich culture and history.
  • We head into the bustling Old Quarter and get caught in the buzz of what makes it so special: ancient architecture and modern corporations, craftsmen plying their trade on the sidewalk, historical monuments and busy markets. We enjoy getting (almost) lost in this maze of narrow streets, as well as having an introduction to the Vietnamese language.
  • We also pass through the former colonial administration district to the Ho Chi Minh complex which we explore from the outside.
  • During the afternoon we have the chance to see Hanoi’s famous water puppet theatre show.
  • Dinner is in a local restaurant where we are introduced to some special local dishes.

Day 2

  • Today we head out of Hanoi and into the mountain regions of Northern Vietnam. The mountains along the Laotian and Chinese borders are home to a range of fascinating hill tribes and ethnic groups. We drive deep into the limestone mountains, through stunning deep valleys filled with rice terraces, streams, waterfalls and beautiful forests.
  • We leave the road to hike through the forest to a remote village which will be our home for the next few days, and are introduced to our hosts who have us to sleep in their houses. They show us around on a guided tour of the village, explaining the local culture and customs, and taking us into the homes, schools, enterprises and lives of the people we are to be working with for the next few days. Depending on the village, we may also enjoy a quick swim in the natural pools and waterfalls with local children before returning to our hosts for a home cooked dinner.

Day 3 – 4

  • We will undertake a 2 day service project with the local community. This will have been decided in advance after discussion between Indago, the
    travelling school, the local schools, and important people in the community. A recurrent theme of individual projects will be:
    – Working with a local school. Depending on the need of the local community this may be based around refurbishing or rebuilding classrooms,
    installing water supplies or adding dormitory accommodation for students who live far away. We are careful not to disrupt the school routine       or lessons as we ensure a positive interaction.
    – Leaving a tangible change. Groups may also be involved in painting, gardening, building or refurbishing projects which are necessary in the
    schools or the village as a whole. These would be under the supervision of an appropriately qualified adult to ensure that the standard is of a         level which is suitable for long-term benefit, but the students would very actively participate and become fully involved.
    – There is also opportunity during the week to play sport and games with the locals. This is a great way of breaking down barriers and an                   important part of the interaction.
  • The days are long and intense, and each student will throw themselves into the project. We are not here to watch from the sidelines, but to become actively involved in useful and life changing projects in the community. We work hard alongside our new friends in the village to provide service in the community and an experience which is enriching for all concerned.
  • After dinner each night there will be time for group reflection, discussion and planning for the following day. The students will certainly be exposed to many things they have never seen or experienced before, and whilst this is an incredible chance for them, it is also important to allow time for reflection and group discussion to help make sense of the huge range of emotions they are bound to be feeling.

Day 5

  • This morning we say our emotional goodbyes and hike out of the village, taking in the incredible vistas for a final time, before getting the bus back to Hanoi.
  • This evening we attend the flag lowering ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh complex. This ceremony has taken place every day since what would have been President Ho Chi Minh’s 111th birthday. Our guides explain the huge historical and cultural significance of the spectacle, and we learn more about the legacy of the most influential person in Vietnamese history.

Day 6

  • Waking up in the early morning is a great opportunity to see a different side to this city. Elderly people exercise around the lake while breakfast sellers set up their stands, and there is a beautiful calmness to the city which can only be enjoyed at this time of day. We have a hearty breakfast before getting on a bus through the Red River Delta to Halong City.
  • We get straight on our private junk, throw our bags in our rooms and come up for a beautiful seafood lunch as we cruise out into Halong Bay. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, our cruise out through the thousands of limestone karsts is one of the most visually spectacular journeys in the world. As well as learning about the formation of the karsts, both from a geological point of view, and from the local legends surrounding the area (including how it got its name, which means “Descending Dragon’s Bay”).
  • But we don’t just admire the karsts from a distance. After a safety briefing and instructions on the different paddle strokes we get into kayaks to paddle around for an intimate exploration of the caves, bays and rock formations in
    the area.
  • We are then back on the boat to watch the sunset over dinner, before retiring for the night in our cozy cabins.

Day 7

  • This morning we explore the incredible floating villages inhabited by the fishermen of the area. We bow to the fishermen, many of whom were born on these villages and will never set foot on dry land in their lives!
  • We enjoy an early lunch on the junk while heading back towards the mainland. On arrival we head straight back towards Hanoi.
  • We may depart Hanoi this evening.