This Vietnam summer service trip to Southeast Asia is your chance to discover the unique and elegant beauty of Vietnam. Rewarding volunteer projects with children and an organic farming community will help deepen your understanding of our host nation. This high school trip to Vietnam is led by our amazing staff, who are there to provide guidance and reflection on the impact of the work we do throughout the program and promote the value of empathy and cultural sensitivity. As you explore the country and immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture, you will be treated to flavorful foods, spectacular views and exhilarating adventure. With a sense of adventure and a giving attitude, this summer volunteer program will leave as strong of an impact on you as the communities you’ll be working with.
About This Program
What It’s Like
The perfect balance of meaningful service projects, cultural immersion and unforgettable adventures.
This program requires an open mind to experience a different culture, new foods and comfortable hotels.
35 Community Service Hours
A letter of completion detailing the program's service hours and projects will be issued after the program.
Everybody participates together in each project. Specific projects are confirmed in late spring and are similar to those described.
A professional guide accompanies the group to assist, educate and immerse the students into the local culture.
Basic hotels and one overnight train with private cabins.
Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Includes all recreation and activities listed.
Deluxe motor coaches and one overnight train.
Up to 24 participants.
• Help with renovations and interact with the students at a school for the deaf.
• Rappel down canyon walls and waterfalls in Dalat Canyon.
• Learn about organic farming and how to plant rice on a local farm.
• Kayak and swim the turquoise waters in Ha Long Bay.
• Entertain children with activities at an orphanage for disabled children.
• Learn to SCUBA dive and snorkel in the Hon Mun Marine Park.
• Explore the vast Cu Chi Tunnel network.
• Learn from professional chefs at a cooking school.
You will have the opportunity to help renovate a classroom by painting and helping with other beautification projects. Additionally, you will interact with these children by playing games and other activities.
About Khiem Thinh Nhan Chinh School
The Khiem Thinh Nhan Chinh School for the deaf is a non-profit school run by The Hanoi Red Cross Organization in downtown Hanoi. The school accepts children from ages 3 to 7 when they are still in the early stages of hearing loss. These students learn a range of life skills such as body language and other communication skills so they can be prepared for life’s challenges.
Get ready to use that green thumb! You will learn what it takes to be a real Vietnamese organic farmer: learn to prepare the soil for proper planting and how to properly sow the seeds. Work alongside local farmers and witness firsthand the benefits of this way of life. You will have the opportunity to learn about local farming methods, crop rotation and how to use traditional Vietnamese farming tools and equipment.
About the Organic Farming Experience
Organic farming in Vietnam is very important, as it helps to protect biodiversity, balance the natural ecosystem and preserve the environment. This farm is a member of the Farmers Association of Hoi An which supports local farmers to produce organic rice and vegetables using organic fertilizers. Besides the increase in produce quality, farmers also receive material support and underwritten produce allowing for higher prices compared to the market price.
You will bring joy and cheer to their day by entertaining the children through storytelling, playing games, and teaching them new fun activities. You’ll leave your mark on the orphanage as you help with adding a new pathway to the orphanage grounds and assist with painting and other restoration projects.
About Ky Quang Pagoda Orphanage
This orphanage has been housing and feeding children who have been orphaned or who have disabilities since 1924. They house approximately 200 children who are living with a variety of mental and physical ailments.
Layers of history are all around you and reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation. The charming capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments that include the Temple of Literature (the spiritual home of Confucianism), the One Pillar Pagoda and the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Explore the history of the Vietnam War while touring the Hanoi Hilton, the Vietnamese POW prison that held Americans during the Vietnam War. Learn the traditional Vietnamese art technique of lacquer painting with a professional artist. You will make your very own traditional Vietnamese painting to bring home. Lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards, more than 600 temples and pagodas add to the appeal of this city. Sample local Vietnamese delicacies and wander around Hoan Kiem Lake.
This is Vietnam’s most popular tourist hub. When you see the beauty that leaves you breathless and in disbelief, you will know why. Picture emerald waters dotted with towering, limestone island mountains. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must to explore and enjoy the natural wonder of Vietnam. On your cruise of the emerald bay, you will have the opportunity to kayak and swim in the tranquil waters and explore the Sung Sot Cave with its stalagmites and stalactites. Top off your day by seeing the city at night via cable car and the Sun Wheel Ferris Wheel.
Hoi An was once an international trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries for ships coming in from Japan, China, and the West. Hoi An offers a glimpse into the well-preserved culture and heritage of Vietnam’s wealthiest city. Learn to cook at The Morning Glory Cooking School as well as learn the delicate art of silk lantern making: a traditional art form that the Vietnamese have practiced for centuries. No visit to Hoi An would be complete without a ride in a coracle boat (round shaped boat) through the mangroves and waterways. Soak up the sun and enjoy the water with your friends on the picturesque beach of An Bang as you gaze out into the South China Sea.
We fly into Nha Trang, a stunning resort city with shoreline to the east and surrounded on three other sides by picturesque mountains in the distance. This modern city offers remarkable promenades with a selection of boutiques and shops and a vast array of restaurants to choose from. Relax and unwind at the Thap Ba Hot Springs and explore the local night market. View the city by way of a local cyclo ride, Nha Trang’s version of the rickshaw. SCUBA dive or snorkel in the Hon Mun Marine area. (For your safety, all SCUBA operators restrict participants with certain medical conditions. Please ask about your own circumstances if applicable.)
Located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Dalat is where we move from ocean views and sandy beaches to gorgeous views of lakes, waterfalls and the countryside. The moderate climate makes it a superb place for our adrenaline-fueled activities. Enjoy an exhilarating canyoning adventure by rappelling down waterfalls, sliding down natural water slides and zip lining in the Dalat Canyon. After a long day of adventure, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese foot massage to unwind!
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and known for its French colonial-like architecture, labyrinth of small streets full of markets and shops, and for playing a crucial role in the turning point of the Vietnam War. Modern skyscrapers tower over temples that are centuries old. As your time in Vietnam winds down, we tour through the Cu Chi Tunnels which played an important role in South Vietnam’s strategy during the war. Pick up one more souvenir in the Binh Tay Markets before flying home.
This colonial-style hotel, in the Old Quarter, is a welcoming and comfortable start to our time in Vietnam. The Quoc Hoa Hotel rooms are air-conditioned and have Wi-Fi.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Centrally located and close to the waterfront, the City Bay Palace Hotel has Wi-Fi and air conditioning and a large rooftop terrace for the group to meet and spend time together.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Surrounded by shops and restaurants, the Lotus Hoi An Hotel is a 5-minute walk from Nha Trang Beach. Rooms have Wi-Fi and a beautiful pool with sundeck and city views.
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Surrounded by shops and restaurants, the BIDV Hotel is a 5-minute walk from Nha Trang Beach. Rooms have Wi-Fi and a rooftop pool with sundeck and city views.
Overlooking the Xuan Huong Lake, this European-style hotel is close to the city’s greatest treasures. All rooms at the Dalat Plaza Hotel have Wi-Fi. Dalat offers a cooler temperature as we are in the mountains.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Queen Ann Hotel is centrally located and just minutes from the bustling Ben Thanh Market, every room is air-conditioned and has Wi-Fi.
Flight to Hanoi, Vietnam
We begin this trip with a chaperoned group flight from New York to Hanoi. Our trip leaders greet you at the airport and are with you from check-in onward. Everyone has the opportunity to begin trip bonding before we even land. For our many travelers from outside the New York area, we require all participants to join our group flight to Vietnam and are happy to assist you with arranging connecting flights at suitable times into New York.
Separate from the airfare to and from this program, there is an additional $350 USD fee for an internal flight from Hoi An to Nah Trang.
Return Flight Home from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
For your return from Ho Chi Minh City, you fly on a chaperoned flight to New York. For travelers from other areas, we help you arrange transfers at suitable times after the group has cleared customs and immigration in the USA.
Vietnam Entry Regulations
Trip Members require a Vietnamese Visa to Travel to Vietnam: The Vietnamese government has strict guidelines to enter the country. This requires the completion of an e-visa that must be purchased prior to arriving in Hanoi and must be presented upon check-in for your flight. You will need a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining beyond the date of your departure. You will also need at least one blank page in your passport. For American and Canadian citizens: we will obtain the e-visa through our land provider in Vietnam on your behalf.
Where We Stay
We carefully select clean and comfortable accommodations with the needs of our students in mind. While our volunteer programs do not stay at luxury resorts, we do know that a good night’s rest, in your own bed, is key to performing your service hours well and having enough energy to enjoy the day’s activities. For this reason, and also to maintain the close group bond and to uphold the quality of this program, we do not offer any homestays.
Meals & New Cuisines
Eating well while away from home is an important part of a summer’s success. Part of your travel experience will be immersing yourself in the local cuisine and culture so please bring with you an open mind and a willingness to try new things. In Vietnam, your mouth will water over authentic spicy local dishes. Local favorites for you to try include Vietnamese noodle soups called Pho, incredible springs rolls called Goi Cuon and baguettes (Banh Mi). They also have North American style options on the menu.
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive experience in this area.
On this program we will have large containers of clean water for you to fill up your own water bottles as needed.
We recommend you follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and consult with your physician for current immunizations and medication required for travelers to Vietnam. These recommendations may change from time to time. We will send you detailed information in March (or upon enrollment if later) regarding the current recommendations for this itinerary.
You will only need one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in the packing list that will be sent to you prior to departure. You will have the opportunity to do laundry at your convenience by dropping off your laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go.
Included in your program tuition is all lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, recreation & entertainment listed, airport transfers in designated times, gratuities & taxes.
Not included is transportation to and from the program, internal flights, and personal spending money for snacks, souvenirs, and laundry. We also make available optional travel insurance that is not included, but highly recommended.
Please contact us with any questions. We are happy to hear from you!