Willetton Senior High School Vietnam Service Journey

Willetton Senior High School Vietnam Service Journey

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Hanoi’s vibrant streets & historical sites with expert guides
  • Assist a remote local school in a worthwhile 5 day service community project which will improve the lives of the residents greatly
  • Embark on a 4 day trek through the remote hilltribes in Sapa
  • Personal development. Develop leadership qualities whilst gaining independence and resilience
  • Cruise through UNESCO World Heritage listed Ha Long Bay
  • Return home with a rich insight into the culture, traditions and society of Vietnam

Trip Summary

Without a doubt travelling through the rural and urban settings of Vietnam is one of the finest ways to discover the country’s charm, culture and stunning landscapes. Traveling with our local guide we gain a wonderful insight into Vietnam and its people. We start the adventure by taking in the historical and cultural highlights in and around Hanoi. We then head on a 3 hour drive to the breathtaking valley of Tuyen Quang with its deep valleys, thickly forested mountains and a variety of ethnic minority groups. You will be guaranteed a huge welcome when you start your service learning project at a local school. We will work side by side a local labour force and the local community to improve conditions at a remote local school in need. From here we travel to the hill station of Sapa. We have a day to explore this fascinating village town before embarking on a 4 day trek through remote hamlets and hill tribe villages while staying in dormitory guest stays. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand the lifestyles of rural Vietnam. We return to Hanoi before driving to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ha Long Bay where we set sail among the limestone pinnacles and admire the grottoes, caves and sheltered water ways. We return to Hanoi before flying home to Perth. Throughout your time in Vietnam, you will be discussing with your guides the local geography, biology or history and learn about the complex cultures of Vietnam. Participating in this learning experience will not only greatly help a remote community in need it will contribute greatly towards your studies and personal development. This is truly a life-changing Service Learning experience!


After so many months thinking, preparing, and planning for your Vietnam adventure to begin, the day has finally arrived! Please make your way to Perth Airport to check in for your flight to Hanoi via Singapore. **please note your check in will be the night of Friday 13th April 2018 SQ 216 PERTH TO SINGAPORE DEP 01:10 ARR 06:35 SQ 176 SINGAPORE TO HANOI DEP 09:20 ARR 11:40 On arrival in Hanoi you will be met at the airport by your expert local guide and private coach and transferred to our centrally located hotel. We will check in and freshen up before heading out to begin our exploration of Hanoi. Your guide will have a full trip briefing with you in the hotel, out lining your movements over the coming days. The briefing will also include a language lesson so you can learn some phrases to use over the coming weeks. Hanoi is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, full of culture, history and the engaging contradictions of a rapidly developing and deeply traditional society. We enjoy a walking tour to explore the vibrant Old Quarter. Here many tiny streets join to sell a huge diversity of products. In the old days, each street bore the name of the product sold - “Shoe Street”, “Noodle Street” and the like. Today, the streets sometimes sell a variety of items, but often the names are accurate. The Old Quarter also houses some of the most interesting art galleries and fashion houses. We will walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, visit Ngoc Son Temple and you then have tickets for a performance of Hanoi's famous Water Puppet Theater, a series of 17 stories presented by 11 puppeteers whom traditionally performed during the monsoonal period when rice farming in the Red River Delta was not possible. The stories reflect their way of life and dreams as well as providing respite from their demanding work schedule. We will have a low key dinner at a local restaurant and an early night after your long flight. **Please note the flight timings are correct at time of publication. The flight timings should be checked prior to your departure.

Meals:  D

Today we have the full day to explore Hanoi. After breakfast at our hotel we head out to Ba Dinh Square and start our day visiting the historical and cultural highlights to be found in Hanoi. Our visits will include The Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilt, the Temple of Literature and the nearby One Pillar Pagoda. This afternoon we also visit the Museum of Ethnology, which gives an excellent overview of the country's ethnic groups, their customs and ways of life before we head to the North.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast we depart for Tuyan Quang province and Ham Yen. Tuyen Quang is a very mountainous region with large rivers, pristine forests and some of Vietnam's most diverse flora and fauna. The main source of income for the residents is agriculture and the average monthly income is US$15. Tuyen Quang is home to the Red Yao, Tay, Nung and Mong minorities. Tourism is still very new and subsequently the hotel facilities are basic, yet clean and practical. This scenic drive takes around 3 - 4 hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. For the following five nights your accommodation will be at a guesthouse in Tuyen Quang town. This region is very remote and the services and infastructure is very limited. Please consider this information prior to arriving. Your accommodation whilst here will be clean and comfortable however rudimentary and not at the same standard as hotels in the city. After lunch we will head to our project site, the Diem Tran Khong satellite school, located approximately 8km from your guesthouse or 30 minutes drive depending on the condition of the local roads. The students and staff will be expecting our arrival and we will be welcomed into their village, prepare for lots of noise, singing and above all appreciation for the work about to get underway. We will meet with the local foreman who will take us on a tour of the site showing us what work we will be doing and also to conduct a thorough safety briefing. The group will be divided into smaller work teams and each assigned separate tasks. You will not need any specific skills or experience, just the willingness to participate and the ability to roll your sleeves up and get a little dirty (you should wear suitable clothing that you do not mind getting dirty), all for a great cause. There will be a local professional builder supervising the project and ensuring we get all the work completed on time and on budget. Regular breaks along with drinks and fresh fruit will be provided so as to keep energy levels high. In the late afternoon we will return to the guesthouse where there will be time for rest and reflection and dinner. Overnight Tuyen Quang Guesthouse

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we will transfer by private vehicle to the to the project site. There will be a good deal of flexibility in the hours that you work each day, but it is anticipated that you will be involved in labor work for up to 6 - 7 hours a day. You should bring a pair of study workman’s gloves with you from home and wear clothing which you do not mind getting dirty. The people from the village will be very receptive to your visit and the improvements which you are making that will bring real long term benefits to the entire village. The project is set up alongside our Travel, Give, Grow concept offering unique experiences to help foster respect for the natural world as well as the diverse peoples and cultures that live in it. This style of travel helps develop confidence, resilience, tolerance, problem solving abilities, team work, fitness and key life skills. Overnight Tuyen Quang Guesthouse

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we wake early and embark on the drive to the old French hill station of Sapa. The drive will take around 6 hours depending on traffic and the condition of the road. This is a good time to see the changing scenery as we head into the mountains and catch up on rest. Ethnic minorities or ‘hilltribe’ people as they are otherwise know inhabit the mountainous regions of Vietnam such as in Sapa. Each group is distinguished by its own dress, language and culture and there is 15 separate groups that make up the population of over 4 million minority people. This afternoon we have the opportunity to explore this hill station founded by the French in 1922. Sapa is located at around 1600mtrs above sea level and is much colder than the cities below. We can arrive and be covered in a blanket of clouds and mist. Sapa is currently going through a period of rapid developement and the environmental and social impact are there to see. We have the opportunity to wander the streets and visit the many markets dotted around town. Tonight we have some down time to prepare for our 4 day trek. Overnight Sapa Charm Hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we enjoy breakfast at our hotel and have a gear run through before heading off on the first day of our trek. We transfer just out of town for our start point and hike at the base of Fansipan Mountain. We travel a short steep uphill section to a village of Red Dao peoples. The Red Dao peoples are famous for their beautiful embroidery and rich culture. We may have the opportunity to visit a local house and learn more about the customs and ancient traditions still followed here. The trek continues through bamboo forest and lush jungle before we stop and have a picnic lunch by the river. This afternoon we wind up and down to our overnight stay in Seo Trung Ho, home of the Red Dao. Our trek enables us to experience life in the rural hill tribe villages of Vietnam. It will be challenging at times, especially if it has been raining, and this is what makes it such a rewarding experience for the group. The ability to overcome adversity and the camaraderie built up by the group will be something that stays with you for years to come. We stay in rudimentary communal dormitory style accommodation consisting of a wooden hut and mattress with individual mosquito nets. We suggest you take a inner sheet with you. Tonight our group will be split into 2 dorms very close to each other. Each morning we wake to the sound of people heading to the fields and enjoy breakfast with our hosts. Overnight dormitory guest stay** *Trekking approx 10km over undulating terrain between 700mtrs and 1100mtrs above sea level, 5 - 6 hours **When on the trek in Sapa the communal equipment will be transferred by vehicle and porter. You will be responsible for carrying your personal belongings and water in your bush walking backpack. Each dorm stay has only 2 toilets so some patience will be required

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we wake to the sound of the nearby river and have breakfast before packing up our gear and heading back out on the trail. After a short descent, the trail rises steeply and leads along the valley providing awesome views to the river below. We stop for a picnic lunch and descends over 600mtrs to the Muong Hoa River located at the bottom of the valley. Our overnight stay is at the Ban Ho village, home to the Tay ethnic group. The Tay people are known for their stilt houses and lovely cuisine. Overnight dormitory guest stay** *Trekking approx 11km over undulating terrain between 400mtrs and 1200mtrs above sea level, 5 - 6 hours **When on the trek in Sapa the communal equipment will be transferred by vehicle and porter. You will be responsible for carrying your personal belongings and water in your bushwalking backpack. Each dorm stay has only 2 toilets so some patience will be required

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is a day of up and down the side of the nearby mountain. We leave Ban Ho treking uphill to Nam Toong Village of the Red Dao peoples. The beautiful scenery here is spectacular. We pass farming communities and Buffalo tending to the fields. We cross over the river by way of a suspension bridge and break for lunch. After lunch we can walk a short distance to the Xa Pho ethnic group before continuing to Thanh Phu. Overnight dormitory guest stay** *Trekking approx 10km over undulating terrain between 400mtrs and 700mtrs above sea level, 5 - 6 hours **When on the trek in Sapa the communal equipment will be transferred by vehicle and porter. You will be responsible for carrying your personal belongings and water in your bushwalking backpack. Each dorm stay has only 2 toilets so some patience will be required

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we continue our trek along a dirt trail through a small pretty rice valley. We trek through rice fields to Nam Nhiu Village where we will stop for lunch nearby a small school. After lunch we get spectacular views over Nam Cang Valley with its terraced fields. On arrival at Nam Cang we will be met and transfer to Sapa breifly before heading to Lao Cai train station for our night train to Hanoi. train ride is a great opportunity for everyone to really take in and reflect on the previous nine days as a group. *Our accommodation is in 4 berth cabins in air conditioned sleepers. We will book the whole cabins so they are for Willetton High School students exclusive use. The trains are clean and comfortable but not at the standard you would expect in Australia.

Meals:  B,L,D

We arrive in Hanoi early this morning and after breakfast we depart Hanoi for Ha Long Bay (3hr drive) in our private air conditioned coach. Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay you will be transferred by motorized boat to our junk', which awaits us in open water. Once you have settled in we can begin our cruise around the majestic Ha Long Bay and out into the Golf of Tonkin. After lunch your captain will moor off a secluded beach where you can relax on the sand. In the afternoon we will visit a floating fishing village. There will be a cooking demonstration on board in the late afternoon. Later as evening descends you may take in the views of the top deck before you enjoy a delicious meal using beautifully prepared fresh ingredients straight from the sea. We then find a secluded place to anchor for the night. Accommodation: Syrena Cruise Built in accordance with traditional Vietnamese style and modern luxury, Syrena Cruises have maintained the high standards of luxury cruising in Halong Bay. The Syrena Cruises offer a total of 17 luxury cabins & suites accommodating a total of 34 passengers.

Meals:  B,L,D

Early risers can enjoy a Tai Chi class on the sundeck. We will continue to enjoy cruising through the Bay passing magnificent geographical formations, we will explore the Sung Sot cave (Surprise cave) which is one of the highlights of Ha Long Bay. Buffet brunch is served on board before the vessel cruises leisurely back to the dock where our coach is awaiting your arrival. We then drive directly to Hanoi Airport for the flight home departing Hanoi International Airport. MI 653 HANOI TO SINGAPORE DEP 18:45 ARR 23:00

Meals:  B,L


Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • International flights ex Perth
  • Teachers traveling from Willetton Senior High School
  • 12 breakfasts, 13 lunch, 13 dinners.
  • Hotel, communal dormitory stay and guesthouse accommodation
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles used for all airport transfers and group transport
  • Expert English speaking tour leaders in Vietnam who will carry a group medical kit
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in the itinerary
  • Trek crew for Sapa trek
  • Private Ha Long Bay Cruise with Syrena Cruise including life jackets
  • Minimum 2.5 ltrs drinking water per day, 3 ltrs on trek days
  • Sleeping bag and trek permits
  • Overnight train in private 4 berth air conditioned cabins
  • Tips approx AUD$50

What's Not Included

  • Mineral water beyond that supplied
  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls laundry and email
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory
  • Project materials and labour force estimate to be fund raised by the group


Duration:15 Days
Activities:5 day Community Project
4 day trek
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4799