South Sydney High School: Vietnam & Cambodia Adventure 2019

South Sydney High School: Vietnam & Cambodia Adventure 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Historic monuments and the colourful Old Quarter in Hanoi
  • Emerald waters and limestone islands in spectacular Halong Bay
  • Imperial history on the banks of the Perfume River in Hue
  • Ancient architecture and laid-back atmosphere in Hoi An
  • Siem Reap and the iconic temples and monuments of Angkor

Trip Summary

This exciting journey takes us through the heart and soul of Vietnam and Cambodia—diverse and fascinating countries steeped in ancient traditions and complex history. From bustling cities and colourful markets to ancient ruins; limestone outcrops and beautiful bays to grand imperial architecture and culminating in a service learning project assisting a rural community on the outskirts of Siem Reap. Starting in northern Vietnam, we take in the historical monuments and colourful Old Quarter of Hanoi before embarking on an adventure on Halong Bay—a spectacular labyrinth of turquoise waters studded with towering, jungle-clad limestone outcrops. We’ll catch the Reunification Express train south to the elegant imperial city of Hue and onto the ancient town of Hoi An. A short flight takes us across to Cambodia where we enjoy the capital before heading to the World Heritage listed Angkor Wat temples where we walk among these ancient temples and pagodas in awe of their size, age and elaborate carvings.

Suitability

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.

Itinerary

The day has arrived when you depart on this exciting adventure. Please arrive at Sydney airport 3 hours prior to your departure time. Your Singapore Airlines flight departs at 7:55 am, arriving in Singapore at 2:15pm. Shortly after you depart Singapore at 3:25pm and arrive into Hanoi at 5:55pm. 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 after your flight your guide will conduct a trip briefing in the hotel lobby. In the evening, your group visits a local restaurant to enjoy Vietnamese food at a warm welcome dinner. Overnight: Hong Ha Hotel SQ 212 13APR SYDSIN 0755 1415 MI 654 13APR SINHAN 1525 1755 (flights are subject to change)

Meals:  D

Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, is full of culture, history and the engaging contradictions of a rapidly developing and deeply traditional society. Today we take a city tour, firstly visiting Ba Dinh Square and The Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), as well as Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilt and nearby One Pillar Pagoda. Next we visit the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam built in 11th century as well as Hoa Lo Prison which was built by the French and used during the Indochina War to house Vietnamese patriots, and later during the Vietnam War it held American pilots who were shot down. The small part of the complex still remaining is now a museum where you can learn about the bitter sweet history of Vietnam. Next we visit the Vietnam History Museum, also known as the Musée Louis Finot. The Vietnam History Museum was established in the 1920s in ‘Indochinese style’ and traces the history of the Vietnamese people from the earliest times to the present day. This afternoon, we drive to Hanoi Center to explore the city's lively Old Quarter. The day comes to an end attending a wonderful performance of the Water Puppet Show. Overnight: Hong Ha Hotel Note: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum opens in the morning only and closes on Mondays and Fridays. Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilts is closed on Monday and Friday afternoon. Most of Hanoi’s museums also close on Mondays, except Museum of Vietnam Women and Museum of Vietnam Fine Arts.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we board a small high quality cruise boat. Upon boarding we check into our cabins before enjoying a delicious lunch of freshly caught fish and seafood. Our cruise begins as we head off toward South East Ha Long Bay, passing by Chicken Crock, Tiptop Island and stopping at Dark and Bright Lagoon for kayaking or bamboo boating activities. On board the boat we choose from several interesting activities including a cooking demonstration with the chef on board. Each day ends with a spectacular set-menu gastronomic dinner Overnight: Garden Bay Cruise Note: Cruise itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, tide levels and operating conditions. Swimming or kayaking excursions may be cancelled due to poor weather. Unused services are not refundable.

Meals:  B,L,D

Wake early to enjoy the sunrise, the sounds of the lapping waves, the fresh sea air and the gentle breeze or opt in for the Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck ... or sleep in. Today we cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay and visit Ho Ba Ham area by kayaking or traditional bamboo boat. We then return to Ha Long Bay to explore the biggest cave in Ha Long – Surprise Cave. The afternoon is reserved for on board activities such as learning how to carve flowers from vegetables. Overnight: on board Garden Bay Cruise

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we cruise toward the Titov Island where you can choose to swim on the Titov Island beaches or to take a short hike. We return to the boat and cruise back to the dock, where we meet our driver and transfer back to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi we have day use of the hotel in Hanoi to freshen up before boarding the overnight train to Hue. Overnight: 4 berth sleeper carriage on train

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we arrive at the Hue Railway Station where we are meet by our driver and transferred to the hotel for breakfast and check in. We take a Hue city tour to visit to the Imperial City where Emperors of Nguyen dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945. The relics inside the city are surprisingly well preserved including royal gates, temples, palaces of the Kings and royal families. This afternoon we visit the vibrant and interesting Dong Ba Market, that stretches from Trang Tien Bridge to Gia Hoi Bridge. Overnight: Romance Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we visit the quiet Thuy Bieu Village, located 6.5 km from the city centre, and famous for growing thanh tra fruit (a kind of small pomelo). We visit some of the garden houses, a unique feature of the Hue countryside, and enjoy relaxed walking around the village. We visit an old communal house, pass by several ancient ancestral temples and chat with local people. In the afternoon, we continue by road north to Hoi An. The scenery en-route is beautiful as we hug the coastline of the East Sea before winding up the spectacular Hai Van Pass. Here you can stop to admire the stunning views, north over Lang Co Beach and south over Da Nang. We arrive in Hoi An by the afternoon. In the evening you will take a short walking tour through the old streets of Hoi An. The streets are charming at night with lanterns hanging from shop fronts and café patrons spilling onto the streets. Among other things, Hoi An is famous for a particular noodle dish (Cao Lau) which we endeavor to sample during our time here. Overnight: Thuy Duong III Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we take a walking tour to the Ancient Street of Hoi An, lined with Chinese traders’ homes and wooden houses reincarnated as restaurants, cafés, and outlets for local artists, craftsmen and tailors. Hoi An, arguably the most delightful town in Vietnam, was a major sea port in the Middle Ages. Untouched in any of the wars, Hoi An retains influences from Chinese, Japanese, French and even Portuguese and British traders who stopped here between China and India. Adding to Hoi An's beauty is the Thu Bon River which winds its way through the city and out to the South China Sea. The iconic lanterns are a symbol of Hoi An old town and seem to be a part of the spirit of Hoi An. We take a lantern making class to create our own Hoi An lantern, within the home of a local craftsman, we receive a brief introduction to the history, shape, and colour of the lanterns, as well as the many stages of making them. Discover your inner skill and keep your handiwork as a souvenir of this beautiful Hoi An. In the afternoon, there is time to relax or explore further. Overnight: Thuy Duong III Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh, connecting with another flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival, you will be met by our Cambodian guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel. After getting settled into the hotel, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for a trip briefing. Phnom Penh is a bustling, multicultural city at the confluence of the historic Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac Rivers. A welcome dinner will served at Pasta Mania, a western cuisine on the terrace of a breezy terrace restaurant with sweeping river views. After the dinner you can either be dropped back at your hotel or at the night market on the riverfront. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a cyclo (2 hours). The cyclo is an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore the city. We first head to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Continue to visit the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. This afternoon, gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better. After learning about some of Cambodia’s tragic past it is time to put a smile back on your face and experience modern Khmer life. End the day with a delicious Khmer dinner at Romdeng. A charity restaurant housed in a restored colonial building where former street children are taught the principles of hospitality. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Hotel Note: To see the Royal palace and silver pagoda in Phnom Penh, visitors are required to wear appropriate clothes. Guests wearing short pans (above knee level) and sleeveless tops are not permitted.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we head overland to Siem Reap (duration 5-6 hours), the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. En route, we stop in the town of Skuon to learn about their most famous delicacy: deep-fried tarantula, which is a favourite snack of many Cambodians. When we arrive in Siem Reap we check into our hotel, and perhaps enjoy a swim in the hotel pool. Later this afternoon, we take a Tuk Tuk tour around Siem Reap. After dinner, those who are interested can enjoy some shopping at a night market where you could purchase some gifts or souvenirs. Overnight: Sokha Roth Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast, we take a guided tour of the Angkor Wat, built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. From here, continue to visit Ta Prohm Temple, unlike most other Angkor temples, has been left just it was when rediscovered: a photogenic and atmospheric maze of trees growing out of temple ruins amidst jungle surroundings, making it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors. After lunch, we visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, surrounded by an 8m high wall. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. Continue to Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur, its exterior gallery walls featuring extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Overnight: Sokha Roth Hotel Note: Appropriate attire when visiting Angkor temples is long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed within the temple grounds. Visitors can and are frequently turned away from temples when wearing revealing clothing.

Meals:  B,L,D

Enjoy your final day in Cambodia with some free time to explore Siem Reap and do some last minute shopping at Psar Chas, the Old Market, or relax into a wicker chair in a sidewalk café. This afternoon the group transfers to the airport for the flight to Singapore departing at 4:10pm and arriving in Singapore at 7:15pm. At 8:20pm we depart Singapore bound for Sydney. SQ5025 25APR REPSIN 1610 1915 SQ 221 25APR SINSYD 2020 0555 (flights subject to change)

Meals:  B

We arrive in Sydney early in the morning at 5:55am, where this wonderful adventure concludes. SQ 221 26APR SINSYD 2020 0555

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners
  • Return economy class Singapore Airways flight from Sydney to Hanoi then Siem Reap to Sydney including departure taxes
  • One way economy class flights from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh and Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh
  • Hotel accommodation Triple Share
  • English speaking local guide in Vietnam and Cambodia with medical kit
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Hanoi to Hue train journey in 4 berth sleeper carriage (1 person per berth)
  • 3 day 2 night cruise in Ha Long Bay (shared cabin) with 7-9 students it will be a shared boat, with 10+ students it will be a private boat charter.
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles used for all airport transfers and group transport

What's Not Included

  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Mineral water or drinks beyond that supplied
  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls, laundry and email
  • Entry visa fees for Vietnam and Cambodia
  • Tips

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:14 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Vietnam
Starting Point:Sydney
Activities:Adventure Touring
Service Learning Project
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5281