KIS JeJu Laos Service Learning Adventure 2019

KIS JeJu Laos Service Learning Adventure 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Working alongside the Ban Nong Jong community to construct dormitory residences for High School students
  • Marval at the stupas, pagodas and golden temples in the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang
  • Picnic and swim at Kuang Sii waterfalls
  • Visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center
  • The beautiful sunset views of Luang Prabang and the Mekong River from Mount Phousi
  • City tour of Vientiane

Trip Summary

Laos is known for its fascinating ancient history and thriving Buddhist culture, and is one of the least developed nations in the world. We arrive in the capital of Vientiane, and continue our journey to the World Heritage listed Luang Prabang. Here we learn about the rich Buddhist culture, visit both natural and historical sites and enjoy the laid back atmosphere as the Mekong River drifts by. Just 40 minutes by long boat up the Mekong River from Luang Prabang is the village of Ban Houayon. This farming subsistence community is made up of a mixture of Lao Loum and Hmong minorities - all of whom live in poor conditions. We will help the local High School community to build a dormitory residence that will enable 40 students from surrounding villages to stay in the village during the school week and avoid the long walks to and from school each day. The current dormitory residences are very basic and uncomfortable. We guarantee that your contribution will create a lasting change for the students of this Laotian school.

Suitability

Our service learning adventures can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable level of health and fitness. For the community project part of your trip you will not require a certain level of strength or physical ability, just an enthusiastic and positive attitude. A project manager will direct and distribute the workloads among participants on a daily basis. There is no pressure to exert yourself physically beyond your limits during the project but you should be prepared to give 6-8 hours of physical labour each day.

Sample Itinerary

We depart Incheon at 6:00pm and arrive in Vientiane at 9:50pm Sabaidee! Welcome to Vientiane, Laos. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your World Youth Adventures representative in the arrivals hall. Since the group arrives into Vientiane later in the evening, you will drive first to a restaurant for a quick light meal and then to the hotel. Overnight: Vientiane Golden Sun Hotel, Vientiane

Meals:  D

After an early breakfast at the hotel, we take a private transfer to the airport for the short flight departing at 9:10am and arriving in Luang Prabang at 10:00am. On arrival, you will be welcomed by your World Youth Adventures guide and driver and transferred by private vehicle to check in at the Sala Prabang. You will have the trip briefing at the Sala Prabang. Luang Prabang is a World Heritage Town and the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lane Xang. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its beautiful temples. Today we take a city tour starting with a visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre to observe valuable artifacts and traditional clothing and implements from each of the 20 ethnic minority groups which inhabit the Luang Prabang area. We enjoy a tour of the city's oldest temple, Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong where you can see the impressive “tree of life” mosaic set in colored glass. We’ll visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we visit The National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture throughout the ages and we climb up to Phousi hill to see the sunset and also panoramic of Luang Prabang. From there, we transfer to have dinner at local restaurant. Overnight: Laos Wisdom Hotel Internal Flights ( flights subject to change ) Vientiane to Luang Prabang 0910 1000

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at our hotel, we walk down to the pier to access the Mekong River. The group is to be at the pier by 8:30am, where we board a traditional Laotian long boat called a Song Thaew (the entire group can ride on one long boat) and cruise upstream for approximately 40 minutes to reach Ban Nong Jong village. It is here where we spend the next three days assisting in the build of an adobe based construction that will be the dormitory for students from surrounding villages. Currently the students stay in very basic bamboo huts with no electricity or running water. The new dormitories will have a significant impact on the living standards of these students, making their home environment during the week much more conducive and complimentary to study and learning. When we arrive in the village on the first day we will take a tour of the village and the project site where we will get an introduction to the building process and our work objectives. We’ll be divided into working groups that rotate at the various working stations as the day progresses. We have a fruit break mid morning and a two hour lunch break. Families from the village will host lunch. You will be split into groups of three students and assigned a family for the time you are working in the village. The homes where the meals will be taken are within close proximity of each other. This is a unique and wonderful immersion opportunity and we encourage students to embrace the experience, show gratitude for the meals prepared and try to communicate with their hosts, learning some Lao phrases and teaching some English or Korean phrases. In your backpack on service days pack: > Water Bottle/s full with water (filtered water will be available for you to top up your water throughout the day in the village) > Wet weather jacket > Sun hat > Sun screen > Sun glasses > sturdy work gloves Wear old clothes, joggers/runners or walking boots that you are happy to get dirty. You are working with mud and so we guarantee that your clothes and shoes will be covered in mud. Please dress conservatively - long shorts or pants and a t-shirt covering your shoulders, otherwise you may offend the community if you are dressed inappropriately. On the last date, late in the afternoon the community will conduct a Baci Ceremony to show thanks for your help and to give blessing for a healthy life. We return to the work site again in the afternoon stopping at 4:30pm to ensure we are in the long boats no later than 5pm, arriving in Luang Prabang by 5:40pm. Dinner is taken each night at the night markets (at students expense). Overnight: Laos Wisdom Hotel

Meals:  B,L

Following breakfast we travel 1 hour south of the town to the famous and picturesque Kuang Si waterfall. Once we arrive, we enjoy a short walk through the beautiful forest to Kuang Si Waterfall and pass the Asian Bear Rescue Centre, a conservation centre that rescues animals from the wildlife trade. The turquoise colour of the water with a backdrop of white limestone cliffs gives the waterfall a magical appearance. We hope to enjoy a swim in the beautiful natural pools, walk around the falls, climb up to the top of the falls and take a picnic lunch in front of the falls. On return, you stop to visit local villages of Lao ethnic groups. Visit Ban Thapane (Kamu), Ban Ou (Lao loum) and Ban Na Ouane (Hmong) villages. You will learn more about the lifestyle of these people. En route to Luang Prabang we stop to visit the Living Crafts Centre “Ock Pop Tok” a place where you can meet weavers and learn about textiles, while helping keep these local traditions alive. Overnight: Laos Wisdom Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

We wake early to participate in the Alms Giving Ceremony on the streets of Luang Prabang, an awe-inspiring sight. Hundreds of monks from the 35 temples of Luang Prabang walk in silence, meditating as they collect their daily alms from devotees. This is the Buddhist practice of making merit, a symbiotic relationship between the monks and alms givers. Tell your guide a day in advance if you wish to make an offering so that they can prepare some food for you to hand over to the monks. Here are a few things to keep in mind to respect the ritual - > If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance to observe the ritual in silence. > Remove your shoes during the ceremony. Dress conservatively. Cover your shoulders, chest, and legs. > Do not make eye contact with the monks or touch them. Bow your head to show respect to the monks. > Be silent and keep your phone on silent. We return to the hotel for breakfast, or the group may decide to join the locals for a bowl of delicious noodle soup after the alms giving ritual. After breakfast we head to the morning markets, to see the local people showcase their products such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea, vegetables and hill tribe weaving. After lunch we take a private group transfer to the airport to take the flight to Vientiane. Our connecting flight to South Korea is not until late in the evening and so we take 2-3 hour tour of Vientiane. We explore the hidden charm of Vientiane with various historic sites including Vat Phra Keo - one of the most impressive and interesting temples in Vientiane. It houses many Lao treasures such as a gilded throne, Khmer Buddhist stone tablets, wooden carvings, bronze frog drums and palm-leaf manuscripts. We also visit Vat Sisaket; Pha That Louang - the most important Laotian religious site and Patuxay - the most prominent landmark in the city which offers an excellent panoramic view of the city. We return to the airport for the flight departing at 10:50pm. Internal Flights ( flights subject to change ) Luang Prabang to Vientiane 1405 1445

Meals:  B,L

This morning we arrive in Incheon at 5:45am

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 6 nights in twin share hotel room
  • internal transportation in air-conditioned private vehicles
  • arrival & departure airport transfers
  • western English speaking guide and local English speaking guide
  • group medical kit
  • all entrance fees and permits as per the itinerary
  • private boat trip on the Mekong River to and from Ban Pal Lueng
  • domestic flights between Vientiane and Luang Prabang return
  • Baci ceremony and project expenses

What's Not Included

  • international air tickets from South Korea to Laos and airport departure taxes and fees
  • Visa
  • items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls etc
  • tips and gratuities for guides, drivers, etc
  • travel insurance (compulsory)
 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:Laos
Starting Point:Vientiane International Airport. From 20 Students
Activities:Service Learning
Adventure Touring
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5553

KIS 2019 students touring Luang Prabang Laos

Day 02

Date: 10 March 2019

Location: Vientiane to Luang Prabang

Activity: Fly from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, city tour.

Weather: Low of 17 / High of 30 degrees Celsius. Sunny

Local guides comments: The group arrived safe and sound and got their first taste of local Laos food. It was straight to bed for an early morning flight to Luang Prabang. Once we arrived, we kick started the day with our Luang Prabang sightseeing tour by visiting several Buddhist temples, the Royal Palace, and watched the sunset over the city from the top of Phusi Mountain. After dinner the group headed out to the night market for a bit of shopping and fruit smoothies.



Laos Service Learning Project KIS 2019 |  <i>KIS</i>

Day 03

Date: 11 March 2019

Location: Nong Jong Village

Activity:  Service work at Nong Jong village

Weather:  Very warm and sunny with a high of 36C

Local guides comments: Today was the first day of the project. We took a beautiful morning boat ride down the Mekong to the village of Nong Jong. Once at the village we got familiar with our work site and got amongst it. Students got the mudpits ready, mixed plaster, sifted sand, and cut straw. During lunch students met their homestay families and got to try some of the delicious food that the families had prepared for them. We got back to work in the afternoon, switching between jobs at the work site. After a great long day of hardwork, we boarded the boat back into Luang Prabang and are off to the night markets for dinner.

Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Students were great today and they all worked hard. No injuries. Overall a great day.



KIS JeJu Laos Service Trip 2019 |  <i>KIS</i>

Day 04

Date: 12 March 2019

Location: Nong Jong Village

Activity:  Service work at Nong Jong village

Weather:  High of 36C and sunny!

Local guides comments: Today was the 2nd day at the project site. Again we took our Mekong boat ride to Nong Jong Village. We split up into our teams and got to work plastering the walls, making mud bricks and building up the walls. For lunch we enjoyed time at our homestay families, eating some delicious sticky rice and local foods. After lunch we went back to the project site, working incredibly hard to get as much done on the student dormitory as we could. We rinsed off all the mud in the nearby pond, and boarded our boat back to Luang Prabang. Tonight we will head back to the night markets to sample some local Laos food.

Destination Leader / Teacher comments: The kids really demonstrated that they are capable of doing great things when working together towards a noble goal. Great team effort. They will be so proud when they see the last brick being placed tomorrow.


KIS 2019 Laos Service Trip |  <i>KIS</i>

Day 05

Date: 13 March 2019

Location: Nong Jong Village

Activity:  Service work at Nong Jong village

Weather:  High of 39C and sunny.

Local guides comments: 

Today was the last day of the project. Once again we travelled on our daily Mekong boat ride to the village. This morning we finished building the last remaining wall, plastered both the inside and outside of the building and made sure the building site was all cleaned up. The group did an amazing job and it was so rewarding to see the dormitory practically all finished.

We had an amazing communal lunch at the village community center. In the afternoon, the group got to experience the Basi ceremony, where the entire village came out to say goodbye and wish us good luck.

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

The students were amazing. They worked hard, laid the last bricks in the construction and were presented with an amazing and heartfelt ceremony led by the village elders. It was a great day.

 


KIS Laos 2019 Service Trip |  <i>KIS</i>

Day 06

Date: 14 March 2019

Location: Luang Prabang

Activity:  Waterfall day

Weather: High of 37C and sunny.

Local guides comments: 

After several days of hard work, the group had a great relaxing day exploring some more of the cultural and natural beauty of Laos. In the morning we stopped at several local villages to learn how they make hand woven scarves, bags and clothes among many other handicrafts. We then had a beautiful lunch overlooking a waterfall. We walked through the Moonbear sanctuary, where the bears were all sleeping and relaxing in their hammocks. Then on to see the majestic Kung Si waterfall and go for a swim. On the way back we stopped at a local (and only) Buffalo dairy in Laos to sample some homemade Buffalo milk ice cream and cheeses. We then headed back to Luang Prabang for a final group BBQ dinner! 

 

Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Everything today went perfectly. The students are happily exhausted.


Laos 2019 Service Trip KIS |  <i>kis</i>

Day 06

Date: 15 March 2019

Location: Luang Prabang to Vientiane

Activity:  Alms Giving, Flight to Vientiane, city tour and flight to South Korea.

Weather: High of 36C and sunny.

Local guides comments: 

This morning we got up early for morning alms, where the students got to participate in the famous tradition of giving sticky rice to the many monks in Luang Prabang. After, we walked through the morning markets to sample the various fruits and vegetables for sale. We then went back to the hotel for breakfast and to pack up everything. Our next stop was the UXO musuem, to understand more of the history of the "secret war" and its effects on the country even today. After lunch we hopped on a quick flight back to the capital Vientiane. We met our local tour guide who showed us around the major highlights of the city. We had a final dinner and then was back to the airport to head back home. Overall this was an amazing trip, the students worked incredibly hard and learned a lot too. We wish them safe travels home.