Help others, and treat yourself at the same time on this, on this memorable Schoolies adventure designed just for Year 12 School Leavers. Join other like minded School Leavers on this trip of a lifetime exploring the highlights of Vietnam's north including the capital of Hanoi, the famous Halong Bay as well as a hilltribe trek in the lesser visited region of Mai Chau. You'll also assist with a Community Project. This School Leavers adventure begins in Hanoi, where you will explore the many must see attractions including President Ho Chi Minh's complex, the One Pillar Pagoda and also the famous Water Puppet show. There's even time to chill in the Old Quarter or experience it from the back of a cyclo! Its then off to the remote community of Ham Yen in the Tuyen Quang province, where you will assist with some renovation work at the Phong Luu Secondary School. Staying overnight in local homestays the conditions will be basic but the cultural experience will be unrivalled. Your hilltribe trek will be in the Mai Chai region and in the Cuc Phong National Park, home to many ethnic minorities. As you wander through the jungle with your guide you'll experience local mountain life and gain a new appreciation for the simple way of life. Its then onto Halong Bay where you can swim or kayak the days away as you explore the world famous limestone pinnacles before returning to Hanoi, where your trip concludes.
This Schoolies Adventure is rated introductory level. The hilltribe trek and Community Project will require some effort and some reasonable fitness. 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.
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam! If you are arriving on day 1 you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. Please look for the World Youth Adventures welcome sign in the arrivals hall. In the late afternoon your tour guide will meet you at the hotel where a trip briefing will be held in the hotel lobby. It is then out for some fun! 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. Prior to this you will have a welcome dinner in a local restaurant and an opportunity to sample specialty dishes of the north.
Overnight in Hanoi.
After breakfast, you will visit President Ho Chi Minh’s complex, starting at the President’s Mausoleum. You continue to his humble “house on stilts”, see the French colonial Presidential Palace from outside and the 11th century One Pillar Pagoda. Transfer to 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. You will then have time on cyclo tour around Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter and walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, the focal point of the city.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Morning transfer to Tuyen Quang province. In the afternoon you will begin working on renovations of the Phong Luu Secondary School. Ham Yen is one of the poorest district of Tuyen Quang Province. The local hilltribe people have no ability to build a new classroom. Before starting a school year parents, pupils and teachers must repair and renovate the classroom by making rattan, bamboo walls annually. We aim to peel and prepare the old walls for painting as well as add some fresh new doors to the school classrooms. Currently, there are no doors for each classroom and no walls to divide each classroom.
Overnight in Tuyen Quang
Continue with our Community Project today
In the morning we aim to finish the project works before saying good bye to our new friends in this small community and driving back to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
We aim to depart Hanoi at 8am and head toward Mai Chau. Mai Chau is located in a beautiful valley with a patchwork quilt pattern of rice terraces and villages. The area is home to the White Thai people. Mai Chau is known for its stunning scenery of palms, green mountains, paddy fields and picturesque stilt houses. On arrival take some time to refresh, relax and enjoy lunch. You then transfer to Na Meo village and start your hike to Na Ho, Pu, Te village. The path will run uphill and down, through bamboo forests, terraces and farms. Along the way you will see local people at their daily work, and then will reach Buoc Village of the White Thai minority people.
Overnight at homestay in Buoc Village
Walking duration: 4-5hrs
You might be woken this morning by the local roosters but that's not such a bad thing as this is the best time of day to go for a walk and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of countryside by yourself. We'll then have breakfast and get ready to leave the village. Continue your walk to Mai Hich village with beautiful surroundings of rolling hills and towering mountains, sculpted rice terraces and friendly villages complete the morning of your trip. Drive back to Mai Chau for lunch before transferring to Cuc Phuong National Park. Arrive at Khanh village of Muong ethnic minority people, where you will spend the night. This will be an unforgettable experience as you could explore the lifestyles of local people here and enjoy the local dishes.
Hiking duration: 2-3hrs
Homestay condition: Homestay at house-on-stilts of Muong people. Dormitory style, western-style toilet. More simple & basic than in Mai Chau
After breakfast we'll bid farewell to our host family and start walking along the jungle trail to Cuc Phuong National Park. Today's walk will be tougher along the dirt trails with alot of up, and of course down! On the way you will have chance to hear and watch a lot of birds. Enjoy a picnic lunch and continue hiking to Bong, where your vehicle will pick you up and transfer us to the National Park headquarters. In the afternoon visit the Information Center and stroll around the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre. before driving to Ninh Binh
Overnight in Ninh Binh
Hiking Distance: approx.16km, around 5-6 hours
In the morning depart for magical Halong Bay. Upon arrival, we board the traditional junk and start with a cruise to explore the beauty of Halong Bay. Enjoy a freshly prepared lunch while cruising through Bai Tu Long Bay and into Halong Bay. Explore Vung Vieng village and learn about life in Halong Bay communities. Visit Vung Ha beach for kayaking, swimming, and relaxing in one of the Bay’s hidden coves. Relax back at the boat as we cruise to the place where the boat will anchor overnight. IN the evening enjoy a sunset party and happy hour on the sundeck. A cooking demonstration will offer lessons in traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Dinner will be served with authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Relax and enjoy the evening or choose from a variety of activities including board games and squid fishing.
Overnight on boat
Note: Cruise itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, tide levels and operating conditions. Swimming or kayaking is subject to weather conditions
Rise early for morning tai chi on the sundeck. Enjoy a light breakfast while cruising to Luon cave then on arrival we willl get on the kayaks and visit Luon cave (around 1 hour) before returning to the boat where we can experience a flower carving demonstration on the sun deck. Enjoy the last of the Halong Bay scenery over lunch as the boat cruises back to shore. Transfer back to Hanoi. Upon arrival, free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Those leaving today will be offered a transfer to the airport. Services conclude
Per Person, Twin Share