Castle Hill High School: Vietnam - Mangrove Habitats Under Threat

Castle Hill High School: Vietnam - Mangrove Habitats Under Threat

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the historic monuments and the colourful Old Quarter in Hanoi
  • Explore the bio-diverse Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Visit The Endangered Primate Rescue Center
  • Participate in two days of service along side local community and National Park Rangers on Cat Ba Island with the focus on mangrove conservation

Trip Summary

In 2010, the World Bank identified Vietnam as one of the countries of the world that face the greatest challenges to endemic species-rich habitats in protected lands. Climate change represents a serious threat to Vietnam, to its protected area system and to the preservation of its biodiversity. Other pressing threats to Vietnam’s fragile habitats include illegal logging and infrastructure development. This itinerary gives students an insight into the mangrove habitats of northern Vietnam that are under threat, and provides opportunity to help conserve these habitats and also to educate other visitors to the area about the threats and the role they play in conservation.

This exciting journey begins in the bustling and vibrant city of Hanoi before setting off for Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam’s oldest national park to gain an appreciation of the bio-diversity of the region, as well as some of the history. We visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center to learn some of Vietnam’s endemic species that are threatened because of habitat loss. The trip culminates on Cat Ba Island, where we spend time with local communities and Rangers to help conserve and protect the mangrove habitats.


Although there is no commitment to extended physical activity on this journey we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’. We therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect and enhance your travel experience. Remember the fitter you are the more enjoyable your experience will be.


The day has arrived when you depart on this exciting adventure. Please arrive at Sydney airport 3 hours prior to your departure time. Your Vietnam Airlines flight departs at 11:50am, arriving in Ho Chi Minh at 4:15pm and shortly after you depart at 7:00pm and arrive into Hanoi at 9:10pm. Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam. Your group will be greeted by your guide and driver at the International Airport. Look out for the WORLD YOUTH ADVENTURES welcome sign in the arrivals hall. Your guide and driver will transfer you by private vehicle to your hotel. Once you've check into your room and freshened up, your group will visit a local restaurant to enjoy Vietnamese food at a warm welcome dinner. Accommodation: Hong Ha Hotel 16APR VN772 SYD SGN 11:50 16:15 16APR VN272 SGN HAN 19:00 21:10 (flights subject to change)

Meals:  D

This morning after breakfast we meet with our guide in a hotel meeting room for a trip briefing, followed by a presentation by a conservation expert from Fauna & Flora International (, to answer your questions, and learn more about the conservation work you will be doing in a few days on Cat Ba. After the presentation, we transfer to Cuc Phuong National Park – the first National Park in Vietnam which was protected since 1962. With 307 species of bird, 133 species of mammal, 122 species of reptile and more than 2000 species of plant, this national park is one Vietnam’s most important protected areas. After lunch we take a guided hike [2 hours] through the jungle to reach a 1,000 year-old tree and learn about the various habitats found in the national park, as well as the various threats they face such as local people collecting fire wood, collecting mushrooms to illegal logging and poaching. We visit the Cave of the Prehistoric Man, the site of the one of the earliest discoveries of human habitation in Vietnam. Excavated in 1966, the cave revealed human graves, stone axes, pointed bone spears, oyster shell knives, and tools for grinding dating back 7,500 years. Accommodation: Vissai Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning, we will visit to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center to see how forest rangers look after gibbons and langurs. We drive 2.5 hrs to Hai Phong, a major port city in northeastern Vietnam, from where we access Cat Ba Island. We take a local ferry to Cat Ba Island – the largest of the 366 islands spanning 260 km² that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, making up the southeastern edge of Lan Ha Bay in Northern Vietnam. Once reaching the island, we transfer to the hotel to refresh and take some time to enjoy the beautiful gardens before lunch is served. This afternoon we explore the island, including Hospital Cave and enjoying the sunset view at the top of Cannon Fort with beautiful panoramic views over Halong archipelago. Accommodation: Cat Ba Eco Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at the eco-lodge we take a short drive to Phu Long commune to visit the local farmers to learn about their lives and the important role of mangroves in Phu Long. We board boats to take a closer view at Phu Long mangroves and contribute to the preservation of the ecosystem by planting mangroves, for 2-3 hours. The local community treat us to lunch. After lunch we head to Cat Ba National Park Head Quarters for a presentation about the Cat Ba National Park ecosystem. We are broken into sub-groups to join Rangers in conducting research into the flora in the park and at the end of the day each group summits a report to the Rangers. Accommodation: Cat Ba Eco Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we further support the Cat Ba National Park in the conservation and protection of habitat, by designing and installing sign boards with slogans to raise visitor awareness about protecting ecosystems and some helpful facts about the national park. We walk into the forest with the Rangers to setup the sign boards along the trekking route from National Park to Viet Hai village. By mid afternoon we board the boat back to Cat Ba town. This evening, we celebrate the trip with a farewell BBQ dinner under the stars in the garden of Cat Ba Eco Lodge. Accommodation: Cat Ba Eco Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, you have free time at leisure until we transfer to the pier to take the ferry back to Hai Phong where you will be picked up and transferred back Hanoi. In Hanoi we visit the Temple of Literature. It was the first university in Vietnam and students still come here to burn incense. You will find a peaceful atmosphere tinged with incense smoke, and sunken lotus ponds populated by fish and turtles. Next visit is Hoa Lo prison (if time permit), built by the French and used during the Indochina and Vietnam Wars, is now a museum with displays where you can learn about the bitter sweet history of Vietnam.We transfer to Hanoi international airport for your departure flight at 11:55pm. VN 787 21APR HANSYD 2355 1315 22APR ( flights subject to change )

Meals:  B

We arrive into Sydney at 1:15pm, where our adventure concludes. VN 787 21APR HANSYD 2355 1315 22APR ( flights subject to change )

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 05 breakfasts, 04 lunches, 05 dinners
  • Return economy class Vietnam Airlines flight from Sydney to Hanoi return - including taxes
  • Hotel accommodation twin share
  • 2 x English speaking local guides with medical kit
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles used for all airport transfers and group transport

What's Not Included

  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entry visa fees for Vietnam and Cambodia
  • Tips


Duration:7 Days
Starting Point:Sydney
Activities:Adventure Touring
Service Learning Project
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5475