Vietnam and Cambodia – Faith Based

An educational adventure in Vietnam and Cambodia offers an incredible spectrum of experiences. from palaces to pagodas, from ornate french architecture to an elaborate network of tunnels. Your “junk boat” will drop Anchor for A night near Ha Long Bar, a unesco world heritage site. the ancient capital of Angkor, with 70 magnificent ruins in a forested zone of more than 200 square kilometers, is one of the grandest wonders of Indo-China.

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Program Snap Shot

Program length:  13 days
Estimated All Inclusive Price:  $5,995

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Help disadvantaged children improve their English
  • “Sail the Ankor” on a Chinese junk boat, marveling at Ha Long Bay
  • Visit the famous oating school at Cug Van Floating Village
  • Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels from the inside!
  • Visit Cheoung Ek, known more famously as the “Killing Fields” of Vietnam
  • Travel through time at Ankor Wat, the number one attraction in Cambodia
  • Learn to cook Cambodian style in Siem Reap
  • Experience the diversity and excitement of the Ankor Night Market

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Full Program Itinerary

Day One Depart for Vietnam

Gather your Hanoi-bound travel team and board your overnight flight!

Day Two Welcome to Vietnam
Settle into incredible Hanoi—home to nearly 8 million people—as you explore the city and surrounds with your National Guide. Take a “cyclo ride” to a typical market in Hanoi’s “Old Quarter,” which is home to an fascinating array of Vietnamese food culture. The ancient characteristics of this District makes an unforgettable impression
Day Three 

  • We will begin today at Birla Village. This famous orphanage houses 150 disadvantaged children, with whom you will spend the morning interacting and teaching English. In the afternoon, you’ll explore Hanoi by bike—the absolute best way to experience this city. From busy streets to a giant lake, lush gardens and exquisite villas, you’ll see many signi cant historic sites and interact with locals. See the 6th century Tran Quoc Pagoda—the oldest pagoda in Vietnam – located on an island in the middle of the lake, and the Quan Thanh Temple, one of the Four Sacred Temples of ancient Hanoi.

Day Four 
  • This morning we will visit Ba Dinh Square, where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. The nearby museum explains the signi cant life of the “Father of Vietnam.” As you gain and understanding of this history, you will also explore French architecture as a future of Hanoi, of which the nearby former Governor’s Residence is a ne example. You’ll also explore the One Pillar Pagoda and hear the legend of its love- inspired construction in the 11th century. This afternoon we will transfer to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s “8th wonder of the world.” Immediately evident is the “dragon’s tail” across the bay, consisting of 3,000 spectacular stone outcroppings. Aboard a traditional junk boat, we’ll enjoy a sumptuous, fresh local dinner as we sail along Angkor, then drop anchor and comfortably overnight near a remote island.

Day Five 
  • Transport by boat is very common in Vietnam, and today we continue sailing through Ha Long, visiting Sung Sot Cave. After a fresh seafood lunch we’ll visit Ba Ham Lake for a 10 swim and kayaking with locals. Then we’ll visit the incredible Cug Van Floating Village and attend the oating school to understand how life works for those who don’t live on dry land. Tonight we’ll again dine and sleep onboard the junk.

Day Six 
  • Rise with the sun on the ocean, then visit Tortoise Island and Man’s Head Island. We’ll kayak to Bo Nay Cave and Luon Cave. After lunch we’ll visit Tu Long Bay, Teapot Island, Chopsticks Island and Bai Tho Mountain before returning to Ha Long Wharf. Then we catch the afternoon ight to Saigon, where our local guides will introduce us to this fascinating city.

Day Seven 
  • A City of many palaces, you’ll marvel at the juxtaposition of yesterday’s oating world and the colonial grandeur
    of Saigon. You will not only begin to comprehend the communist history of Vietnam, but you’ll also witness Notre Dame Cathedral, which was closed by the communist regime in 1975, but today ourishes again. There will also be an opportunity to explore both low and high arts, as you witness the simple brilliance of indigenous crafts prior to taking in the Fine Arts Museum. This evening, we will discover the colorful and diverse collision of cultures that happens at the Ben Than Night Market—easily one of the best night markets in Asia, where locals of all descriptions can shop for whatever they need and enjoy a wide array of regional and ethnic foods.

Day Eight 
  • In the Cu Chi Region we will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built rst as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the American war. Here, the North Vietnamese waged guerrilla warfare; you cannot help but marvel at the ingenuity and resilience evidenced here: secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms. Af rmation of the human will to endure abounds. We’re all able to explore the rst level of tunnels; the more adventurous may explore the deeper second, and even third levels. After lunch we’ll cross the border to Cambodia and set out for Phnom Penh City.

Day Nine 
  • Nothing creates a more enduring and haunting impression than coming face to face with mankind’s greatest evils. Cambodia’s dark side is on full display for our edi cation at the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This sobering educational center is housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center. Next, we’ll visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Later, gratefully, our spirits will soar as we arrive at the humanitarian organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (for the smile of a child). Here, street children are provided education and job training (yes, these children must work to survive), gaining skills for a brighter future, sparing them from scavenging the municipal dump. We’ll have lunch at the center’s training restaurant, which supports the children’s training. Careful not to get cultural whiplash as we move to the Royal Palace, which houses the Silver Pagoda, named for its 5000 heavy silver or tiles. We’ll view its collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze before trekking up a hill to Wat Phnom Temple to observe faithful locals as they come to pray for good luck. Dinner will be back aboard a junk as we observe the city’s riverfront come alive by night.

Day Ten
  • An early start today allows us to see the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer Style, housing an incredible collection of artifacts from the 4th–13th centuries. Then we’ll board a ight to Siem Reap, the gateway to dozens of millennium-old temple ruins from the Khmer Empire, nestled between rice paddies and the Siem Reap River. We’ll take Tuk-Tuks to Angkor Wat, a magni cent 12th century temple. Inside, Hindu mythology is detailed in stone carvings and bas-reliefs, which our guides will illuminate in detail. There is also a history lesson here, as well as art and engineering lessons.

Day Eleven
  • This region is a mecca to the faithful, and understanding the importance of these ancient temples is a way of understanding the soul of the Cambodian people. Today we begin at the beautiful pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei. This is the best preserved temple in Cambodia, displaying the nest examples of classic Khmer art. We’ll also visit a local pagoda where Buddhist monks celebrate a rare private blessing for us, wishing us health and a safe journey. Then we visit the Bayon Temple, with grand 54 towers and enigmatic carved faces, beautiful punctuating the center of Siem Reap City. As each temple seems more grand than the last, we’ll nd Ta Prohm arresting for an entirely different reason. This famous temple has been left as it was discovered, overgrown by jungle trees and vines, slowly crumbling into dust. This afternoon we will gently bicycle the back roads, through ancient villages and places very few tourists ever tread. We’ll stop and interact with local communities and learn about their way of life in this remote place. We’ll taste local dishes and produce, and make friends with people utterly unlike any we’ve ever known.

Day Twelve
    • Today we will visit community organizations in Siem Reap to understand more about their lifestyles, history
      and circumstance. Later, we will meet with school children at the village school and engage in a meaningful service project. Lunch will be unconventional and wholly educational, as we experience a Khmer cooking class and dine on the fruits of our own labor. After an afternoon with the children, we’ll return to our hotel to prepare for our farewell dinner, after which we’ll visit the lively Angkor Night Market, which provides many opportunities to select nal local handicrafts and sustainable souvenirs.

Day Thirteen
  • Departure day is the ultimate moment for re ection, taking time for journaling and integration of what you’ve seen and learned. We’ll enjoy some unstructured time after breakfast before we transfer to the airport for our ight back home.