Oberon High School: Northern Vietnam Service and Immersion Adventure

Oberon High School: Northern Vietnam Service and Immersion Adventure

Trip Highlights

  • Uncover the chaos of life in Vietnam's capital of Hanoi
  • Learn about the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese perspective
  • Contribute to a rural communities efforts to provide a better life for its people
  • See the amazing work of those dedicated to the survival of Vietnams primates
  • Fight plastic pollution while taking in one of the world most beautiful natural environments

Trip Summary

This is a unique opportunity for young travellers to experience some of the highlights of Vietnam while ensuring their travel is a horizon broadening experience in as many ways as possible. Your adventure begins in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where you'll learn a bit about Vietnam's role in modern history from the often overlooked perspective of the Vietnamese themselves. You'll travel to the valley of Mai Chau where you will participate in a cultural exchange staying in a traditional style guesthouse while assisting a local school in its efforts to improve the environment in its small corner of the world. You will then visit a wildlife rescue centre that specialises in the protection of Vietnam's endemic primate species. You'll next travel to Cat Ba located with in Lan Ha Bay, the picturesque though less crowed neighbor of Halong Bay. Here we will experience the picturesque beauty of this coastal paradise and do your bit in the global fight against plastic pollution in our oceans.

Sample Itinerary

Depart Sydney on Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong and then on to Hanoi. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. Please look for the World Youth Adventures welcome sign in the arrivals hall. Once checked into your hotel your tour guide will provide a trip briefing on the hotel terrace. Following this we walk from the hotel to a restaurant specialised in the different ethnic cuisines of North Vietnam. Following dinner your cultural immersion starts in earnest with a walk by the Old Quarter and along the Hoan Kiem Lake. CX 110 11JAN SYDHKG 0850 1525 11JAN CX5295 11JAN HKGHAN 1730 1850 11JAN (flights subject to change)

Meals:  D

Today, we visit some of Hanoi's key culturally and historically significant locations. We start with a car transfer to the Military History Museum to learn about the Vietnam War from the perspective of the Vietnamese. This will be especially useful for any students studying modern history in their HSC. From there we walk on narrow pathways to a hidden lake where the remains of a crashed B-52 plane are still visible. We continue to the Ho Chi Minh Museum, with its interpretive exhibits that chronicle Vietnam's long history. En-route passing through a typical little district of Hanoi. After visiting the museum, we have lunch at a simple local restaurant with great food and a nice outdoor yard setting. In the afternoon, we continue our walk to the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the 1000-year old citadel where we learn more about the ancient history of Hanoi and Vietnam. We end with a walk along the Dien Bien Phu avenue, passing by the statue of Lenin to the former Hoa Lo prison. This historic building dates back to the times of the French Colonisation of Vietnam and was nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” by the American soldiers during the war. After visiting the prison, we take a drive back to the hotel. Time to refresh before dinner.

Meals:  B,L,D

Departure from the hotel at 8am. You leave the city and head west towards the Laos border. It takes about 4 hours to reach the rocky plateau of Hang Kia, within H’mong ethnic territories, at about 1,400m above sea level. Lunch will be at a local guesthouse run by a friendly family. In the afternoon, you'll swap the plum trees and corn fields of the highlands, for the rice fields and crops of the valley floors. This is a gentle 8-kilometer trek downhill, arriving in the late afternoon at the home of our hosts in Mai Hich village. Mai Hich is located at the far end of a secluded sub-valley of Mai Chau. This area is the home of the White Thai ethnic minority. This evening you will take part in the preparation of dinner together with the family. We sleep tonight in a traditional house on stilts, in a dorm configuration. Individual mattresses and mosquito nets are provided as well as clean bed sheets. The toilets are to western standards and bathrooms are equipped with hot running water.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast we depart from the guesthouse and walk to a local school where our day will be spent with the kids of a school. Today will be divided in to three parts; tree planting, sign construction and an afternoon celebration with the community. You will be planting fruit trees at the school. The fruit produced by these trees will not only provide a nutritious source of food for the students of this school for years to come but also create a more pleasant environment for the students. Following on from this you will be helping the local students in the production of wooden signboards to promote environment preservation. This will involve the painting and writing of informative environmental expressions in both English and Vietnamese. This will allow participants to practice their Vietnamese and the local kids to hone their English skills through cultural exchange. It will also provide a lasting reminder to the community of Oberon High School's time there. This will be followed by a small celebration at the school with food and beverages and an exhibition of the new signboards. Today's activities relate to a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by tackling both social and environmental challenges. You will return to the guesthouse for dinner and overnight.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning, you will travel from Mai Hich to the Cuc Phuong National Park. A drive of about 4 hours including a break on the way. In the afternoon, a visit to a center dedicated to the rescue of endangered primates is planned. Here you will learn more about some of the endemic species of primates in Vietnam, how their habitat is under threat and other challenges faced in their conservation efforts. You will also take a walk through the surrounding forest before transferring to Ninh Binh, famous for its spectacular karst topography, arriving in time for dinner.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will depart very early, hitting the road to the coast and the island of Cat Hai from where we catch a speedboat to Cat Ba Island. We head to a beautiful ancient house set in a lush gardens where we are hosted for lunch by the charming couple living there. In the early afternoon, you take a drive to the entrance of Cat Ba National Park, home of the endemic Langur primates and embark upon a 9 kilometre trek across the park which will take about 3 to 4 hours. Our final destination is on the eastern edge of the island and the small secluded village of Viet Hai. Tonight you will be staying in a small nature lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we take a short but picturesque bike ride from the village to the pier. About 5 kilometers on a small concrete road winding through the jungle and along the coast. At the pier, our private wooden junk and kayaks are waiting for us to embark on a paddling exploration to Lan Ha Bay. Lan Ha Bay is the twin sister of Ha Long Bay and certainly one of the less traveled corners of the Ha Long archipelago. We will be equipped to pick up floating plastic and will also stop by some beaches to lend a hand, cleaning them up to assist in conservation efforts. There will be a prize for the team that collects the largest amount of plastic. In the late afternoon, we disembark back on Cat Ba Island and transfer to our hotel in the small town centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning you visit two very important nearby sights. Canon Fort and the Hospital Cave played crucial roles in the Vietnam War and here you will gain a deeper insight into the role Cat Ba Island played during the conflict and understand the difficulties of protecting such a extensive coastline. The cave spans 17 rooms, including an old operating theatre and a huge natural cavern which was used as a cinema (and even had its own small swimming pool). While Cannon Fort provides one of the best views in Vietnam with astounding panoramas of Cat Ba Island's jungle-clad hills rolling down to colourful tangles of fishing boats in the harbour and out to the karst-punctuated sea beyond. We transfer back to Hanoi in the afternoon, directly to the airport for your departure flight. CX5294 Y 18JAN HANHKG 1950 2235 18JAN CX101 Y 18JAN HKGSYD 2355 1200 19JAN (flights subject to change)

Meals:  B,L

Midday arrival into Sydney, where trip concludes.

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • airport transfers (day 1 & 8)
  • 5 nights in comfortable hotels on a twin share basis
  • 2 nights in a traditional style guesthouse (dorm style)
  • return economy class airfares with Cathay Pacific
  • private air conditioned vehicles
  • daily drinking water
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual local guide in Vietnam with medical kit

What's Not Included

  • meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • visa fees
  • personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs and laundry
  • tips and gratuities

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:9 Days
Starting Point:Sydney
Finishing Point:Sydney
Activities:Adventure Touring
Service Learning
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5814