On the 1st of April, thirteen students from Year 11 and 12 set off on a two week journey across Vietnam, accompanied by teachers Jess and Rachel. After many delays due to flooding, three flights and lots of waiting at airports, we arrived two days later in Hanoi City. From Hanoi we travelled south, down to Cuc Phuong National Park, Hoi An, to the Mekong Delta and finally Ho Chi Minh City.
We spent the first day exploring Hanoi’s old French quarter in rickshaws and travelling to a small farming village called Dong Trieu. Here we visited a local school, played a game of soccer with the Vietnamese students, rode bikes through the friendly village, tried rice farming and spent the night in a beautiful little homestay overlooking the fields. Our host family served us an incredible feast; steaming bowls of noodle soup, freshly fried spring rolls, Vietnamese salad, fragrant rice, stir fried vegetables, tofu sauteed in tomato and fresh fruits.
We spent the next three days in Cuc Phuong National Park, volunteering in the Endangered Primate Rescue Center and hiking through the lush jungle. Following our stay in the jungle, we made our way to Hoi An, on a 16 hour train trip overnight. Although many of us were not looking forward to the overnight train, sleeping in small four-bed cabins on a moving train turned out to be one of our favourite experiences.
We spent our three days in Hoi An learning how to cook Vietnamese food at a cooking class, exploring the city and waterways and venturing out to the lantern lit streets to the night markets. Our next stop was a small homestay by the riverside on the Mekong Delta before spending our last 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City. We spent our time in Ho Chi Minh exploring the city during the day and famous Ben Thanh marketplace at night. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and extraordinary experience that has formed amazing bonds between us. We would like to say a huge thank you to Vietnam School Tours and our inspiring and enthusiastic Vietnamese tour guide Thoi, to Jess and Rachel for caring for us and for an unforgettable two weeks in Vietnam, and lastly, thank you to the the school for such an incredible opportunity.
Ella Hart – Yr 11 Student
Rachel and Jess enjoying a Choco Pie.