In September, 13 students along with 13 parents and staff travelled on a tour through Southern Vietnam. Our journey, although not with the smoothest of starts, took us on a two-week tour exposing us to local culture, cuisines, traditions and many Vietnamese customs together with visits to numerous historical sites.
Unfortunately, an error in the booking of flights resulted in an unavailability of plane tickets a week out from our departure. This dilemma was resolved with eight of us departing from Melbourne. The hardest part involved some unfortunate business class upgrades! The trip steamed ahead, however, with the whole group being united in Singapore airport, prior to our departure for Vietnam.
Our tour began in the coastal tourist town of Hoi An, before bus trips to Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Da Lat and finally Ho Chi Minh City.
Over the next two weeks, there were many highlights, some of which included attending a cooking school in Hoi An, learning how to make many traditional Vietnamese dishes; and embarking on an eco-tour in small basket boats, seeing firsthand the livelihoods of local fishermen. The shopping experience in this town was unforgettable, with people buying tailored suits, shirts, dresses and shoes. Following this we headed to the coastal resort town of Nha Trang. We had breathtaking snorkelling experiences and a fun day participating in water sports and swimming followed by a beautiful seafood lunch served on board our boat.
After an amazing bus journey through the mountainside up to Da Lat, we enjoyed the landscapes and sites whilst riding cable cars and visiting Buddhist Monasteries and palaces.
Our final destination was Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), where we took on the city, stopping at landmarks and the War Remnants Museum. Many enjoyed the trip out to the Cu Chi tunnels with some venturing into the historic underground tunnel system, giving us a deeper understanding of the Vietnam War.
To round off the experience, the group took a boat tour of the famous Mekong Delta, visiting local brick, coconut lolly and mat weaving factories.
We then proceeded to a local home where we stayed and experienced life on the Mekong, which was quite different to staying at western style hotels. Before leaving, we ventured out on an interesting bicycle tour of the surrounding village then boarded the boat for the return trip to Saigon to prepare for our departure home. We celebrated the culmination of our trip in style with dinner at a five star restaurant, where everyone reflected on the highlights of the last two weeks.
On behalf of the students and other participants of the tour we would like to thank Mr Green for all the time he put into organising and running the trip. We all had an amazing time and it was an experience that we will definitely never forget.