Cambodia and Vietnam!

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Deeply Impactful.

Quo’s Cambodia and Vietnam adventure presents an incredible spectrum of eye-opening experiences.

From war to peace. From city to jungle. From palaces to pagodas. From modern cathedrals to ancient temples. From ornate French architecture to an elaborately-engineered network of underground tunnels.

Open your heart and mind to the grand sights, rich flavors and joyful people of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Consider how impactful it is to learn about ancient global religions from inside their holiest temples.

Imagine how meaningful humanitarian service becomes when you can see the gratitude and joy in a child’s eyes.

Picture the ancient capital of Angkor, with 70 magnificent ruins hidden throughout a dense and misty tropical forest.

Envision yourself immersed in a thoroughly foreign culture as you visit a floating village and shop at a floating market.

Prepare to embrace history, culture and the grandest wonders of Indo-China!

This powerful experience builds compassionate leaders, expands world views and creates more actualized global citizens.”

Peg Thomas, Quo Co-Founder & CEO

Program Snap Shot

Smaller Group. Bigger Impact!

Program Length:  12 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $4,995
Departure Dates:
Week of July 8th, 2019

Minimum Group:  15 Paying Travelers

Program priced to depart from ORD and JFK


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Meaningful humanitarian service encounters
  • Compare and contrast diverse global religions in ancient temples & pagodas
  • Examine the American/Vietnamese conflict from new perspectives
  • Explore definitions of Community in impoverished villages
  • Gain academic perspective in historically significant settings with specialized guides
  • Contemplate humanity’s dark side at the Genocide Museum in Tuol Sleng
  • Visit Cheoung Ek, known more famously as the “Killing Fields” of Vietnam
  • Investigate the Cu Chi Tunnels from the inside
  • Accept friendly Buddhist blessings at a special ceremony
  • Exchange Q&A with Buddhist monks
  • Take a bicycle tour through the Mekong Delta
  • Visit a floating village & market where marginalized people overcome hardship 
  • Travel through time at the magnificent Ankor Wat
  • Observe regional industries and traditional building techniques
  • Cruise the Mekong River at sunset
  • Learn to cook Cambodian style in Siem Reap
  • Experience the diversity & excitement of Asia’s famous night markets

Vietnam travel

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Full Program Itinerary

Day One: At last, it’s Departure Day!

The adventure of a lifetime begins as you gather your Saigon-bound travel team and board your overnight flight!

Day Two: Welcome to Vietnam!
  • Once we arrive, clear customs and make instant friends with our incredibly welcoming Travel Manager, we’ll settle into incredible Saigon.
  • This fascinating city is home to more than 10 million people!
  • We’ll explore the city and surrounds on a colorful city orientation tour, taking in the highlights and most vibrant aspects of Saigon.
  • You’ll notice right away the various impressive styles of architecture represented in the city. We’ll visit significant examples of French Colonial architecture, such as the lavish Opera House.
  • We’ll also explore the modern face of this historic city, such as its vibrant riverside developments.
  • An unforgettable impression emerges as we encounter local culture, observe distinctive public art and, if we’re lucky, glimpse examples of traditional dance.
  • Tonight, a welcome dinner, Vietnam-style!
Day Three: Explore Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)!
  • Your day begins with a visit to the Reunification Palace. The palace takes us back to the Vietnam War. It was here that the first Communist tanks arrived in what was then Saigon on April 30th, 1975. The palace stands as a symbol of the fall of Saigon and little has changed since then.
  • Our next stop is the picturesque colonial General Post Office, which is constructed with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. It may be a post office today, but this structure is one of the most famous and important in Vietnam.
  • At the War Remnants Museum, you will see the brutality of the Vietnam War as many interactive displays document the suffering of the Vietnamese people. If your family or community has a personal history with the Vietnam War, this program will be particularly resonant – and your introduction to this history begins in earnest at this museum.
  • One of the most memorable sites in Saigon is the magnificent Jade Emperor Pagoda. This Taoist temple was actually built by the local Chinese community in 1909, and because it is still heavily in use it remains one of the most important shrines in the city.
  • This evening we will get our first taste of Night Market culture, and we’re starting with one of the biggest & best in Asia: the Ben Than Night Market!
Day Four: Mekong Delta
  • The Mekong Delta, known to locals as the “Nine Dragon River Delta,” is a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands in south Vietnam. It is home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies. Boats are the main means of transportation here, and every moment is filled with memorable sights.
  • Our group will leave the city and drive into the immensely scenic countryside, where we’ll take a boat out to the islands.
  • We’ll dock on land and undertake a cycling tour so we can meet and interact with locals.
  • Here, we’ll feel a million miles from civilization. We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch & learn about life in this distinctive environment.
  • You’ll enjoy a unique opportunity to visit a Cao Dai Temple, where we’ll learn about this relatively obscure religion and have the opportunity to inquire about their traditions.
  • Every community has its version of commerce and industry, typically rooted in the resources that are readily available. This afternoon we’ll learn about this region’s dynamic & flourishing coconut industry.
  • Also, we’ll view production techniques of (and practical applications for) traditional rice paper.
  • Local materials also influence the way building styles develop. We’ll have the opportunity to understand traditional and modern construction techniques used locally.
  • In addition to tons of fun, we’ll enjoy heaps of cultural immersion with local people. There are few better ways to connect with a new culture than to observe their traditional styles of music and dance, especially when it’s unlike anything you’ve encountered before!
Day Five: The Tunnels of Cu Chi
  • This day will leave an indelible, life-long impression on you, and might shift your thinking about the power of humans’ survival instincts.
  • In the Cu Chi Region, you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French, and later expanded during what is known here as the American War.
  • Here, the North Vietnamese waged guerrilla warfare. You cannot help but marvel at their ingenuity and resilience: secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas, meeting rooms. Affirmation of the human will to endure abounds.
  • Our entire group will explore the first level of tunnels; the more adventurous may explore the deeper second, and even third levels. Prepare to crouch!
  • After lunch, we’ll cross the border into Cambodia. This border crossing presents an excellent opportunity for American students to encounter what it’s like for many people who migrate across borders. Our Travel Manager will help us navigate the checkpoints, acquire our visas and gain entry to Cambodia.
  • After walking across the border with our luggage, we’ll board a new motor coach and set out for Phnom Penh City.
  • Once we reach the city, we’ll check into hotel, enjoy a leisurely dinner and unwind with an evening of much needed  rest & relaxation, in preparation for tomorrow.
Day Six: Phnom Penh
  • Today, Cambodia’s dark side is on full display for your edification at the solemn Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
  • This somber and meditative educational center is housed in a former school, which was taken over by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 and used as its main detention center. Known officially as “Security Prison 21,” for four years this was the site of brutality, torture and more than 18,000 political executions (more than 100 per day).
  • Next, this narrative continues as you visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
  • In our time of increasing global extremism, students will have an opportunity to witness the darkest aspects of authoritarianism, dictatorships and the erosion of human rights. Our highly-trained local guides will help us assimilate the magnitude of the brutality that occurred in these places. Carefully guided discussion and reflection helps students process these acutely sobering experiences. There are vitally important lessons to be learned here, relating to history, human nature, bad governance and the darkest political and social impulses. These experiences present students with the opportunity to decide for themselves what place such lessons have in their world view and personal journey.
  • This afternoon, be careful not to get cultural whiplash as we shift gears and proceed to the Royal Palace, which houses the Silver Pagoda, named for its 5,000 heavy silver tiles.
  • Next, you’ll trek up the hill to Wat Phnom Temple to observe faithful locals as they come to pray for good luck.
  • This evening, we will make our way to the Mekong River to enjoy a sunset cruise.
Day Seven: Siem Reap
  • This morning we’ll transfer to the airport and board our flight to Siem Reap.
  • Once we arrive in this distinctly different region of Cambodia, we’ll discover quickly why this is considered one of the most exotic and mysterious destinations on earth.
  • We’ll board small motor taxis called tuk-tuks for a scenic drive into the densely forested countryside, bound for a visit to the astonishing Ta Prohm Temple, or “The Tomb Raider Temple.”
  • You will recognize Ta Prohm from movies and video games – it’s the site of an epic battle that’s been raging between nature and architecture in the Cambodian jungle since the 12th century. Strangler fig trees took root in the stones of the temple and wound through the structure, creating an astonishing merger of nature and architecture.
  • The most atmospheric ruin at Angkor, Ta Prohm will be high on your all-time travel hit list. As you explore the maze-like corridors and iconic tree roots, remember that these ruins look today very much the way many of the monuments of Angkor appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them in the 20th century.
  • Late this afternoon, we’ll return to our hotel to freshen up before dinner. Then, a night market visit. You’re welcome to shop, snack, explore… or maybe you’ll want to indulge in one of this region’s famous foot massages?
Day Eight: Sunrise at Angkor Wat
  • Very early this morning we will again board our fleet of Tuk-Tuks, this time headed to the iconic Angkor Wat — the most magnificent of this region’s temples.
  • Inside the 12th century Angkor Wat temple, Hindu mythology is detailed in stone carvings and bas-reliefs, which our guides will illuminate in detail. There is a powerful history lesson here, as well as art and engineering lessons.
  • What is it? Built by Suryavarman II (1113–1152), Angkor Wat is the earthly representation of Mt. Meru, the Mt. Olympus of the Hindu faith, and the abode of their ancient gods.
  • Relatively few people see this breathtaking sunrise view of the temple. Also, the grounds are far less crowded in the morning, so we can more easily walk up the towers of the temple to survey the misty landscape and spectacular vistas. Added benefit: the morning is much cooler!
  • We’ll return to the hotel with enough time for a swim before lunch.
  • This afternoon, we’ll see the Grand Gate of the royal complex, Angkor Thom. This is the ancient Angkor capitol city, and it will leave you in awe.
  • This visit is perfectly summed up by this quote: “Angkor Thom is undeniably an expression of the highest genius. It is a three dimensional materialization of Buddhist cosmology, representing ideas that only great painters would dare to portray.”
  • After we explore the main gate, we’ll proceed to the richly decorated Bayon Temple, which stands at the center of Angkor Thom.
  • There are 50 towers surrounding Bayon Temple, connecting more than 200 giant stone faces, each more than 12 feet high and portraying the same serene smile, with eyes closed, representing an all-knowing state of inner peace, “forever in a state of Nirvana.”
Day Nine: Day of Service
  • This morning, we’ll walk through rice paddy fields to arrive at Kompheim Village.
  • Our Travel Manager will introduce us throughout the village, while providing more information about the approximately 600 people living here.
  • Join in a touching and personal Buddhist blessing ceremony in the local pagoda, after which we will participate in a Q&A with the local monks.
  • Next, we’ll will enjoy an instructive cooking demonstration and gather to eat lunch with the villagers.
  • This afternoon we will meet with an NGO that works with local women, making toys and clothing. We will learn about their sustainable skills training and the impact this community has on the local region. (Feel free to shop their products to support their efforts!)
  • You can meet personally with the locals working to help improve the living situation for dozens of vulnerable families.
  • Finally, we’ll have a powerful and memorable school visit! You’ll have an opportunity to participate in an English lesson, play games and sports, snack with the students, learn a traditional craft, and participate in cultural and storytelling activities. You’ll no doubt learn some Cambodian phrases, learn about students’ lives here, gain some powerful insights and make some new friends!
Day Ten: Floating Village
  • We’ll begin this morning by mounting bicycles for a ride into the countryside. This is our cycling adventure to the ancient temple of Banteay Srei.
  • Banteay Srei is a 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
  • Known as “The Citadel of the Women,” Banteay Srei is considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of Angkor art. The temple, and all the art it contains, is carved from local stone with an extraordinary pinkish hue, and features some of the finest stone carving found anywhere on Earth.
  • This afternoon, we’ll encounter an entirely different aspect of Cambodian tradition and culture, as we visit a floating village and floating market!
  • Here we’ll observe handmade homes and market stalls, rafts and improvised boats, where hardworking families carve out a life under extraordinary circumstances, and commerce thrives.
  • These villages exist because, for political reasons, community members are banned by the government from owning land. Therefore, on the watery margins of society, they create communities. Despite considerable hardship, families and commerce thrive.
  • Not only is this an incredible opportunity to see a phenomenon that simply does not exist back home, we’re also observing the determination of marginalized people to survive and provide for their families.
Day Eleven: Modern Cambodia
  • This morning we will depart Siem Reap for a breathtakingly scenic and educational journey back to Phnom Penh.
  • Along the way, our Travel Manager will help us not only reflect on all we have seen and done, but we’ll also put these experiences in context. Through discussion and Q&A, we’ll clarify lingering questions and consider the implications of the challenging realizations we’ve made along the way.
  • This is the perfect time to take a personal inventory of not only the life we will soon return to back home, but also the meaning we ascribe to the lives we’ve touched, encountered and learned about along the way.
  • There is no way to travel the world without being changed by the people we meet, the history we observe and the inspiration we feel minute-by-minute, mile-by-mile. The well-examined experience in Cambodia & Vietnam will serve as a valuable resource in your personal life, your academic endeavors (your college application process!), and your lifelong sense of self.
  • Upon arrival in Phnom Penh this afternoon, we’ll proceed to the modern riverside waterfront area of the city. With its parks, promenades, restaurants, shops, markets, museums, galleries and the Royal Palace, we’ll have a final opportunity to investigate the modern commercial heart of Cambodia.
  • This evening, we’ll don our nicest attire for a very special farewell dinner, followed by a phenomenal performance of traditional dance and national costume that will perfectly punctuate the adventure we’ve enjoyed in Cambodia and Vietnam!
Day Twelve: Departure Day
  • Departure day is the ultimate moment for reflection. This morning we’ll have a leisurely breakfast, pack our bags and leave a little time for journaling, discussion, comparison of perspectives and integration of all we’ve seen and learned.
  • We’ll bid farewell to Asia and head to the airport to board our late morning flight back home.
  • As we cross time zones we’ll make up many hours, so after nearly 20 hours of travel, we’ll still arrive home on the same day!