Carleton University Vietnam Service Learning Project

Carleton University Vietnam Service Learning Project

Trip Highlights

  • 12 days working alongside the Yen Lam Secondary School community and the Sapling Centre
  • Cruising and kayaking the emerald waters and thousands of limestone islands in Ha Long Bay
  • Explore the vibrant and bustling Old Quarter in Hanoi

Trip Summary

Vietnam is a heady mix of stunning natural beauty and rich culture that you won’t soon forget. Arriving in the vibrant city of Hanoi we discover some of its highlights as well as the bustling market streets of the Old Quarter. We then set off for 12 days of service learning in a small community in the ?? province, located 190kms?? North West of Hanoi. This region is home to ethnic minority groups such as Red Yao, Tay, Nung and Mong. Their main source of income is agriculture. The people of this region are very poor, with an average monthly income of USD$15.00. The Ham Yen district that lies within this province is the poorest of all districts. It has 22 schools that require assistance. Our work will focus on the Yen Lam Secondary School and the surrounding community. The Yen Lam school has ?? students attending from ages ? to ? years of age, and is a boarding school for ?? students. Recently with government funding the school completed renovation work to the classrooms, but unfortunately the funds ran short and they could not construct a toilet block for the boarding school. Currently a very rudimentary make-shift toilet block has been made. The school community requested that we work along-side them for one week to build a new toilet block. We shift our focus in the second week to assist at the community sapling centre, where fruits and vegetables are grown for the community. We will assist with gardening and maintenance in the orange and tea gardens. If we have time remaining the community kindergarten will welcome us to complete some minor renovations of their facilities. Following this enriching experience we travel the World Heritage Listed Ha Long Bay. On board a traditional junk for three days we explore the stunning beauty of the bay, discovering the villages and communities that live on the bay, kayaking into hidden covers and relaxing on the deck. Our Vietnam experience draws to an end but not before one more day to explore Hanoi before departing for home.


These adventure tours sometimes may visit remote areas where facilities are often basic. Many of these trips sometimes involve some camping or basic lodging. These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. To enjoy these adventures we suggest reasonable fitness and health, a moderately active lifestyle and have a positive attitude. Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.


The Carleton University group arrives in Hanoi, please look for the WORLD YOUTH ADVENTURES welcome sign in the arrivals hall. You will be met and transferred to the hotel. This afternoon, your tour guide will meet you at the hotel where a trip briefing will be held in the hotel lobby. Enjoy the unique performance of a water puppet show, a traditional art form closely linked with the agricultural roots of the Vietnamese people on the Red River Delta. It is performed in a pool of water, with the water surface being the stage. The puppeteers stand behind a screen and manipulate the lacquered wooden puppets using long bamboo rods and strings hidden beneath the water surface. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra provides musical accompaniment. You will enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant and an opportunity to sample specialty dishes of the north. Overnight in Hanoi.

Meals:  D

After breakfast, we visit President Ho Chi Minh’s complex, starting at the President’s Mausoleum and continue to his humble “house on stilts”, see the French colonial Presidential Palace from outside and the 11th century One Pillar Pagoda. Visit the Ethnology Museum which gives an excellent overview of the country's ethnic groups. The large outdoor area features genuine houses and compounds as built by the many different ethnic groups. In the afternoon visit the Temple of Literature. Take a cyclo tour around Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter and walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, the focal point of the city. Overnight in Hanoi.

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast we drive ??km north west in a private air conditioned vehicle to Yen Lam Community in the ?? province. We visit the community where we'll be doing the service learning project over the next 12 days. A warm welcome from the community as we take an orientation of the community and work site. Overnight in ??.

Meals:  B,L,D

Over the course of the next 12 days we work for up to 6 hours a day alongside volunteers from the community to build a new toilet block for the boarding school as well as help out with the maintenance at the sapling centre in the orange and tea gardens. If we have time we will also help with some renovation work at the community kindergarten. On the last evening we enjoy a celebratory dinner with the community. Overnight at ??

Meals:  B,L,D

Following a sad farewell, we drive 190kms to Hanoi in a private air-conditioned vehicle. Overnight in Hanoi.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning depart for Ha Long Bay. Upon arrival, board the traditional ‘junk’ boat that will cruise through Ha Long Bay. The cruise through this magnificent natural environment, a labyrinth of emerald waters studded with towering limestone islands will surely be a highlight of the trip. Eating fresh seafood and spending the afternoon swimming, kayaking and exploring some of the secluded beaches, caves and grottoes in the area. Return to the junk for dinner and overnight aboard the junk in private cabins. Overnight aboard boat.

Meals:  B,L,D

Start the day with Tai Chi exercise followed by coffee, tea and light breakfast pastries that are served in the dining room on board the junk. Transfer to a day boat and begin to cruise to Lan Ha Bay. Explore the Dark Cave and Bright Cave by kayak. Back to the day boat for a multi-course lunch. Cruise further to the Ba Trai Dao which is the most secluded and untouched area for swimming and relaxing on the beach or discover the area by kayak. Return to main boat for an afternoon of relaxation on the junk. Overnight on boat.

Meals:  B,L,D

Rise early to take Tai Chi on the sundeck and to enjoy a light breakfast while cruising to Luon Cave. Kayak for 1 hour to explore Luon Cave before returning to the boat. Enjoy the Ha Long Bay scenery over lunch as the boat cruises back to shore. Drive 3 1/2 hrs by private air conditioned vehicle to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.

Meals:  B,L,D

A free day to further explore the Old Quarter of Hanoi and complete last minute shopping. This evening attend the farewell dinner. Overnight in Hanoi.

Meals:  B,D

Following breakfast you transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Canada. Trip concludes.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 20 breakfasts, 18 lunches and 21 dinners
  • Airport transfers (day 1 and 21 only)
  • Comfortable accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Private air conditioned vehicles (16 + passengers on a 45 seater bus)
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Expert bilingual guide throughout
  • Medical kit
  • 3 days and 2 nights full package on junk in Ha Long Bay (shared twin/double cabin on shared junk) with kayak (2 pax per kayak)
  • Mineral water on vehicle on days with transfer and sightseeing only
  • The cost of materials, equipment and wages of a local tradesperson to oversee the project work.

What's Not Included

  • International airfares
  • Visa fees
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, alcohol etc
  • Tips and gratuities


Duration:21 Days
Starting Point:Hanoi
Activities:Service Learning, Touring and Kayaking
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG3670