Volunteer in Vietnam
Vietnam has long been one of Asia’s best-kept travel secrets, but especially in recent years the country has developed out of its turbulent history into an intriguing and multifaceted travel destination. A land of great natural beauty, Vietnam is also a place where tradition and modern life intermingle. The opulent palaces and temples of Vietnam’s ancient cities are as much a part of the cityscape as the bright and chaotic street markets, where mopeds zip and rickshaws hurry by.
At a glance
- Age: 18 years and above
- Duration: 3, 5, or 7 weeks
- Language: Good knowledge of English
- Starting Dates: Once per month from Feb. - Oct.
Volunteer in Vietnam: your destination
The Vietnamese people will make a lasting impression on you. Whether it's the woman with the conical straw hat or the lanky little boy cruising in a boat on one of the many rivers, Vietnam's people are sure to give you a smile and a warm welcome when you volunteer in Vietnam.
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
Your stay in Vietnam will consist of a 3-week adventure tour of the whole country, followed by an optional 2 or 4-week volunteer project. The capital city of Hanoi, also known as the city of lakes, is located in the fertile delta of the Red River. Discover the temple of literature from the 11th century, the foundation stone of the first university of Vietnam, or Hanoi's famous landmark, the tortoise pavilion.
Green parks and lively markets are interspersed with modern skyscrapers and a glittering nightlife – Hanoi is a fascinating mix of old and new and the perfect place to volunteer in Vietnam!
The first 3 weeks: Adventure tour of Vietnam
Days 1-5 Hanoi/Halong Bay
Our partner organisation will take you from the airport in Hanoi to your hotel. That evening, you will get to know your fellow travellers at a special supper, where you will be served typical Vietnamese food. The next morning, you will depart for the UNESCO-protected Halong Bay. You will spend the night on an excursion boat, and you will have the chance to spend your time on a canoe tour (optional, for approximately £7 / US$11 / €8), a visit to a cave, swimming, and night fishing.
Back in Hanoi, you will have a varied schedule: a city tour, water puppet show, and about two hours of Vietnamese instruction.
Accommodation: Hotel and Boat.
Meals provided during these days: 4x breakfast, 2x lunch, 2x supper.
Days 6-8 Valley of Mai Chau
Your adventure tour of Vietnam will continue with the opportunity to explore the Mai Chau Valley and meet the Thai people who live there. You will have lunch in a traditional house on stilts, go on 3 trekking trips through the valley, along rice fields or in the tropical rainforests (the tours can take up to 6 hours, note that the paths can be steep and strenuous) and visit the villages of Hang Kia and Van.
You will be staying under very simple conditions with a local Thai or Hmong family, which will most certainly offer you some homemade rice wine! You will then return to Hanoi, where you will catch the night train to Hué (travel time: about 12 hours).
Accommodation: Host family
Meals provided during these days: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 2x supper.
Days 9-10 Hué
After a night’s train journey from Hanoi to Hué, you will spend a day and a half exploring the ancient city, which was once the imperial capital of Vietnam, before leaving for Hoi An by car.
Meals provided during these days: 1x breakfast.
Days 11-14 Hoi An
A programme rich in contrasts awaits you in the ancient city of Hoi An. After a walking tour of the city on the first day, you will be free to explore the town on your own. Walk through the streets, stroll along the market, or go on a bike tour to the beach. On your second day in Hoi An, you will visit a local orphanage, where the children enjoy playing games and taking part in other fun activities with volunteers. The last morning in Hoi An will be free time. Afterwards, you will travel onward to Nha Trang by train (travel time: about 10 hours), where your adventure tour of Vietnam will continue.
Meals provided during these days: 4x breakfast.
Days 15-17 Nha Trang
In Nha Trang, you will have the chance to relax on the beach or try out various water sports. Go for a dive underwater, or just snorkel on the surface. A visit to one of the nearby islands is also possible. A huge variety of pubs and restaurants will guarantee terrific nights out. From Nha Trang, you will travel via night train to Ho Chi Minh City (travel time: about 9 hours).
Meals provided during these days: 3x breakfast.
Days 18-21 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
You are free to do whatever you please in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, after the guided tour on the day of your arrival. Worth visiting are the War Museum, the Reunification Palace, and the many pagodas and vibrant markets in the town.
In Ho Chi Minh City, you will be staying in a simple hotel. On day 21 of the programme, you will fly back to Hanoi, where you will begin your volunteer work. If your trip will come to an end after the adventure tour, you will fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City back to your home country.
Meals provided during these days: 4x breakfast.
Volunteer in Vietnam
- Activities: As a volunteer in Vietnam your work may include: teaching English, helping with free-time activities for children, helping with child care and mealtimes, cleaning the facilities, language and motor function training for children with disabilities, renovation work.
- Free Time: Usually at the weekend during the volunteer work.
- Duration: 3 weeks (adventure tour only), 5 weeks (3 weeks adventure tour + 2 weeks volunteering), 7 weeks (3 weeks adventure tour + 4 weeks volunteering).
- Application: At least 2-3 months before departure. We are happy to receive your applications much earlier than this, as the number of programme places is very limited. Upon request, it may be possible to apply later to volunteer in Vietnam.
- Starting Dates: Once each month February - October, at the following dates: 14 Feb., 21 Mar., 25 Apr., 23 May, 27 June, 25 July, 22 Aug., 26 Sept., 24 Oct. 2011.
From May through October the weather in the entire country is very hot, and it is also the rainy season in the south.
- Practical Experience: Not mandatory, but certainly an advantage.
- Other: A police background check is required. Since you will be entering a completely new cultural region, patience, adaptability, independence, and travel experience are very important. A great deal of personal initiative is essential as you volunteer in Vietnam. Please Note: On location in Vietnam, if you decide to take part in a project where there are no other volunteers, our partner organisation have to book a private room for you. In this case, you will be responsible to pay an extra cost of about £250 / US$400 / 300€ to our partners on location.