lotus flowers

Indochina Journey (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam)

31 December 2012 to 21 January 2013

A professional study tour for educators encountering the diversity South East Asia’s cultures; from the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, to the ancient World Heritage cities of Laos and on to Vietnam, from Hanoi to Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh and the Mekong delta. The tour program encounters several of the world’s ancient cultures, with a life style undergoing rapid change and enormous growth, yet contrasts with pockets of traditional life unchanged for centuries. There are visits to the great cultural sites of Indochina as well as to local villages, schools, (the group will assist with Lao’s ‘Big Brother Mouse’ literacy project for remote villages), markets, and a unique opportunity to engage with local peoples in Vietnam’s delightful imperial city of Hue.

Day 1: 31 December 2012, Adelaide - Singapore

Depart Adelaide International Airport with Singapore Airlines at 18:15 Arrive Singapore at 22:55 and walk to the Ambassador Changi Transit Hotels right in the terminal. (T2 and T3).

Day 2: 1 January 2013, Singapore – Siem Reap

Depart Singapore with Silk Air at 08:40 Arrive at Siem Reap Airport at 09:50. Visa on arrival.


Millennium of Glory-the Faces of Angkor

Out of the Killing Fields-new hopes in a new sunrise

Siem Reap is the nearest town to the incomparable Khmer temple complex of Angkor. Today’s touring begins directly from the airport. Ever since 1860 when the explorer and naturalist Henri Mouhot rediscovered the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, the beautyand majesty of these World Heritage buildings dating between the eighth and the fourteenth centuries, has exerted an enduring fascination; (which has yet to extend to curriculum!!) Angkor was the centre of the Khmer civilisation, which at its height stretched as far west as the present day Thailand and Myanmar, (Burma), and north to Wat Phu in Laos. It was both the power base of a mighty military and political force, and the heart of a rich and sophisticated civilization. The stone temples of Angkor were palaces for thegods, a recreation of the universe, and a visualization of a doctrine that united king, god, the land and people, in a material demonstration to ensure harmony between earthly and cosmic forces.

We will visit the “Great City” of Angkor Thom, at the centre of which is the Buddhist temple complex of the Bayon. Pierre Loti, a 19th century French explorer’s first impressions aptly describe a scene just as engaging today. I looked up at the tree covered towers which dwarfed me, when all of a sudden my blood curdled as I saw an enormous smile looking down on me, and then another smile on another wall, then three, then five, then ten, appearing from every direction. I was being observed from all sides. Thesculptural reliefs here give a detailed insight into the daily life, histories, and kingship of the Khmer peoples. Other site visits include the Phimeanakas Temple within the Royal Palace enclosure (if renovation is completed), Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King.

Day 3: 2 January 2013, Angkor

Early this morning we will drive beyond the main Angkor complex to one of the glories of Angkor; Banteay Srei, or the citadel of women as it is sometimes described. Of particular interest here are the exquisite deep-relief carvings on the temple pediments depicting scenes from the Hindu epic poems of the Mahabharata and Ramayana in characteristic red sandstone. Our second visit will be to Banteay Samre – featuring elaborate architecture in the style of Angkor Wat.

This afternoon we will visit a selection of temples, including the Royal City of Preah Khan, which was perhaps a kind of university with a pantheon of Buddhist, Shivaite and Vishnavite deities combined with local guardian spirits of the land. We will continue our visit with the Ta Prohm Temple which the “Angkor Conservancy” left in a carefully preserved state allowing modern visitors, like the first European adventures, to experience the Angkor complex locked in the embrace of the jungle. Our later afternoon tour is dedicated to a visit of the most famous temple - Angkor Wat at sunset. (Angkor Wat is the only temple to face west, and this means that the façade is illuminated in the late afternoon-perfect for photography).This splendid architectural work was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. Our visit will give us insight into the cosmic geography, a concept with the sacred Mt Meru at the centre, with moats, open expanses and walls symbolizing the surrounding mountain ranges and oceans as visualized in the sacred texts of both Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Throughout the temple, a sculptural program illustrating the lives of the gods, apsarases, great historical episodes, and events of the cosmic realm are revealed on the walls as we progress through the monument.

Day 4: 3 January 2013, Angkor

A free day at leisure or you may choose an option. (Please see the prices for the optional programs at the end of the itinerary)

Option 1: To Tonle Sap Lake:

Drive to Lake Tonle Sap where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. You will witness the real life of the people on the lake and its floating villages. The Tonle Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season. During the dry season it is roughly 2,500 km2, swelling to about 4 times in size during the wet season: 10,000 km2! We will board a boat and visit the Chong Kneah village where we’ll see floating houses, a school, farms and even a floating hospital, Mangrove forests and daily life on the water.

Option 2: Kbal Spean

After breakfast we drive through the rugged mountain scenery to Kbal Spean, known as the River of 1000 Lingas. This place offers at first sight no particular attractions except the natural environment, but a careful looking will enable us to discover the impressive riverbed covered by many Lingars. They are carved in stone in the past to sanctify the water and thank the gods for their gifts. Bas-reliefs depict scenes from the Brahman pantheon such as Vishnu lying, or Brahama born out of a lotus. Kbal Spien: located at around 30 km from Angkor is a natural stone bridge overlooking the "1000 lingas river", There are in fact plenty of lingas and linga stands chiselled on the riverbed. To reach this unique place we walk for 30 minutes in the jungle. Depending on the river levels we will find a completely different scene, in the dry season of our visit we can see the carvings really well but there is very little water, in the wet season is quite difficult to see the carvings but there some beautiful and refreshing waterfalls.

Option 3: Cambodian Cultural village start from 14:00-20:00

Visit the Cambodian Cultural Village. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different cultural heritage and characteristics of 19 multi races. At each village, the visitors will be able to enjoy the excellent wooden houses, carving in stone, traditional performances in the different style such as: “Apsara Dancing “ This is an elegant dance for ladies. It can be seen on the wall of temples in Cambodia , the dance tells the story of the Khmer civilization during Angkor era. The Apsara Dancer's clothes and jewellery defines sophistication and rich culture. Khmer farmers also make their living by fishing in the lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. This dance shows all the activities of farmers when they go fishing. The peacock dance originates from Pailin since there are lots of peacock and peahens there. The Kola people are one of the minorities living in Pailin district in Battambong Province, the west of Cambodia. Most of them believe that the king's birth always brings luck for them. They perform this dance every NewYear or National Festival. Umbrella Dance, Circus, Coconut Shell Dance, Chum Nor Kadek Dance (Harvesting rice), Charming Scarf Show, Traditional wedding ceremony and more... (Performance schedule according to the day)

Option 4: Sunrise Children’s Village

The Sunrise Children’s Villages are two orphanages located in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Australia Cambodia Foundation was started in September 1993, by Adelaide – born Geraldine Cox, following the first visit by Geraldine and a friend in 1993. The orphanages are now known as Sunrise Children’s Villages and they care for hundreds of orphaned and disadvantaged Cambodian children. Their third Sunrise Children’s Village has commenced construction in Sihanoukville. The Australian corporation, Computershare, has generously donated more than US$500,000 to realize this dream for a third centre, through its worldwide staff giving program, for which they are very grateful. This centre will give a home, medical care and education to more than 100 HIV affected children. Support of these orphanages through child sponsorship is an amazing gift that continues to give life, hope, education, health and a future to those who had nothing. Participants will visit the local market to purchase and donate some much-needed items to assist Geraldine’s work.

Please view their video “We Can Be” on YouTube which presents the Anthem for Sunrise

Following your optional tour, why not visit "The Colours of Cambodia"? It is an art gallery located up the street from The Red Piano Restaurant in the Market area. It is funded by a Singaporean businessman. The gallery sells water colours painted by gifted local children who, due to their intellectual and artistic talents, will have free education including university. All sales go to the program. A painting costs about $10-15USD and for an additional $8-10 they will frame it with matting and glass... same day!!!

Overnight stay at Hotel in Siem Reap

Day 5: 4 January 2013, Siem Reap – Vientiane


Out of the past - Emerald Cities and Silken Thrones

In the footsteps of Big Brother Mouse - toward literacy for all

Today we take a short flight QV 522Y 10:05 - 13:00 (stopping en-route at Pakse) to the charming city of Vientiane, meaning ‘City of Sandalwood.’ It is the capital and largest city in Laos, situated on the Mekong River.

Arrival at Vientiane’s Wattay Airport. Visa on arrival.

In the afternoon, we visit the oldest, Wat Sisaket with thousands of ancient Buddha images, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image (now in Bangkok). Enroute to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and gilded sacred structure of That Luang Stupa. Later you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own ‘Arc de Triumph’. You have the option to visit the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the American [Vietnam] War era. A spectacular view of theMekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day.

Accommodation at hotel in Vientiane

Day 6: 5 January 2013, Vientiane - Luang Prabang

We fly QV111 09:15 – 10:10 to Luang Prabang, famous for its historic temples and beautiful mountain setting. ‘Luang Prabang’ is the crown jewel of Laos and formerly called Lanexang and is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted the entire town of Luang Prabang as a World Heritage Site.

On arrival, visit the Royal Palace Museum which hosts a range of interesting and sacred artefacts.

We begin our walking tour, taking in some of Luang Prabang’s hidden secrets, walking down the quiet back lanes leading to Wat Xiengthong. Along the way we stop at Wat Chomkhong, which is known for its decorative carvings. This area contains a mixture of beautiful old French Colonial buildings, and traditional old Lao houses, which you will have time to admire. We pass by the Fine Arts School, where we can see some of the quality artwork on display. We will also visit Wat Visoun, known as ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. From there we will walk a few steps up to Wat Aham, which is known for its two large Banyan Trees. Then we visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre which gives us a further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos (closed on Monday). Late afternoon we will visit Wat Pha Baht Tai to enjoy the sunset or stretch your legs to climb Mount Phousi, which offers a spectacular sunset and a panoramic view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. Afterwards, strolling through the night market (open between 5pm-10pm) setting in downtown selling a large variety of local textiles and ethnic handicrafts.

Return to the hotel

Accommodation at hotel in Luang Prabang

Day 7: 6 January 2013, Luang Prabang

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning ritual of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms from the faithful residents. This procession is unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the tradition in its original form. Monks in Burma and Thailand also continue the tradition, but the setting of Luang Prabang is indeed beautiful. Afterwards, we have the option of visiting the local morning market, before returning to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we drive out of the town where we may stop to visit Khmu, Hmong and Lao Loum villages, representing the main ethnic groups of Laos. This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. Within the park area is a sanctuary for the Asiatic 'Moon' Bear, an endangered species in the region thanks to poachers, traders and traditional herbal medicine demands. The bears are incredibly playful and very well looked after. You will be able to stop by the sanctuary during your trip to the falls if you are interested. We then return to Luang Prabang by lunchtime.

After lunch, we take a local boat to visit the spectacular Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims, and continue down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. Arriving back there by late afternoon. (Hint: don’t climb to the higher cave-the track is very strenuous and there is little to see. The lower cave is much more worthwhile).

This evening we visit a local village, where we have arranged a traditional Baci Ceremony, involving the tying of strings to ones wrists which aims to keep ‘bad’ spirits away and bring good luck.

Enjoy dinner tonight at the local Roots & Leaves restaurant with a traditional music and dance performance.

Accommodation at hotel in Luang Prabang

Day 8: 7 January 2013, Luang Prabang – Hanoi

The day’s study program starts with a visit to the Big Brother Mouse shop (this is a charitable program to bring literacy to remote and very poor village schools. to select and (privately) purchase some books for the village visit. On our previous Indochina Journey, we also brought a range of school materials from Australia to give to the children through this program), We then head north by car along route 13, before taking an unpaved road to Ban Khia Luang village, We have ample time to visit the school, play with the children and watch them enjoy their new books. We also take some time to explore the rest of the village, where you can see magnificent local weaving and visit the local temple. Later, we drive back to Luang Prabang and stop en-route to visit of Ban Xanghai, where the local specialty of rice wine is produced. Lunch at local riverside restaurant.

Late afternoon flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi with Vietnam airlines VN930 17:05/18:20 or with Lao airlines QV313 17:10/18:10 Pre-arranged Visa (included in tour price) on arrival.

Meet at the airport and then transfer to our hotel in Hanoi for check in. Evening free to explore the myriad local restaurants and shopping markets.

Accommodation at hotel in Hanoi

Day 9: 8 January 2013, Hanoi

The themes for Vietnam include

Continuity and change – a landscape of many colours.

Following breakfast we begin our city orientation tour. Visit: Ho Chi Minh’s residence, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature, built in the 11th century as Vietnam’s first university. We have lunch at a local restaurant and a walking tour to explore the old city with opportunities for shopping. In the late afternoon we take a cyclo tour of the famous old quarter and then experince The Water Puppet Theatre.

Day 10: 9 January 2013, Hanoi – Halong Bay

Early breakfast at hotel. Drive to Ha Long Bay, which is listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. “Dragon Descending to the Sea“, as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Ha Long Bay has more than 1.000 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. Enjoy a relaxing 4 hour boat trip through Ha Long Bay, with a fresh seafood lunch which is prepared and served on board. Following a shore excursion to a series of spectacular and scenic natural caves, our boat returns to shore where we board our bus to return to Hanoi in the late evening.

Day 11: 10 January 2013, Hanoi

Free day for individual activities. The Ethnographic Museum is a wonderful resource for the acqusition of teaching resources and ideas, or you may wish to explore more of the city to places such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (must be organised through the agent in advance), the “Hanoi Hilton“ (Infamous American War period prison for American prisoners). There‘s also the very good Museum of Art, housing a collection of Vietnamese artists‘ work from French colonial through to contemporary times.

Tonight is a great chance to dine in any of the famous local restaurants, from street cafes to fine French Indochinese cuisine. You might try KOTO, a teaching restaurant founded by Australian-Vietnamese Jimmy Pham which provides street and disadvantaged youthwith an opportunity to acquire skills and live a life of dignity and happiness. KOTO has evolved greatly since the early days and Jimmy is very pleased to say these philosophies remain prominent in everything they do. KOTO provides empowerment, a safe environment,professional skills, knowledge and protection. KOTO trainees provide the smiles. They believe street and disadvantaged youth should have access to holistic and vocational skill development opportunities, in a nurturing environment, where each family member builds self-confidence and is empowered to live a life of dignity and happiness. As a social enterprise that provides positive change to the lives of street and disadvantaged youth, their vision is to be increasingly internationally prominent and successful, allowing them to spread their model to more communities. “Wherever there is abandonment, neglect and abuse, we will be there. We are a family who cares about all others and where big smiles bring the promise of love, compassion and security. We work hard because we believe we can make a difference and because we love our organization for all it represents”. Dining here will help in more ways than one!

Day 12: 11 January 2013, Hanoi – Hue

Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Ha Noi domestic airport for VN1543 (12:20 – 13:30) to Hue, the former Royal City of the 13 ruling Nguyen dynasties. Check in at our hotel in Hue (time permitting). This small city of 300,000 people represents a fusion of the oldand the new. Ideally placed a short motor bike ride from the South China Sea to the east and the mountains separating Laos, the city moves with a dignified rhythm. This parallels the gentle flow of the Huang Giang River which provides a logical separation for the two distinct parts of the city and a vibrant water way for a commerce and culture.

Hue continues to be viewed as the cultural and educational capital of Vietnam. Visitors are welcomed and Hue spiritually and gently personifies the virtues of a Buddhist way of thinking and being. This part of the journey is designed to give participants the opportunity of connecting authentically with some of the daily aspects of Vietnamese life.

Begin the afternoon’s orientation program with lunch at a local restaurant. Then drive to visit the Imperial Citadel and Tu Duc Tomb, before returning to the hotel in the early evening.

You can explore the many and varied restaurants for dinner in the vicinity of the hotel before returning to meet some local Hue students and our mentors for this part of the program to plan for a range of activities which include.....

Moods of Hue – Winter in the Old Imperial Capital of Vietnam

Following tomorrow morning’s boat trip on the Perfume river, the next 2 ½ days of the study tour program have been prepared by Yenly Gabb. Yenly Thi Nguyen-Gabb was born, raised and educated in Hue, and although living in Australia for the past seven years, she continues to visit and draw on Vietnamese culture and family. Yenly has prepared a program of engagement that provides both choice and insight and will lead you for this part of your journey. By meeting family, friends and associates, participants will select from the offers available for their daily program. Importantly, participants will be paired with a local person to enact their choices. This opportunity to build understanding and friendships will be a vital outcome for this part of the professional study tour. The themes for the Hue program include…

My home – My family

An opportunity to visit and meet the local guide’s family. Experience the local routines of purchasing daily foods from the market and assist with the preparation of foods. Enjoy the strong importance of family as members come together with you to dine. Draw on the families’ experiences and insights. Join with them for their daily routines and engagements.

My Beliefs – My Cultural Strength

Visit the guides’ place of worship. Negotiate to participate in Buddhist rituals and ceremonies. Capture a sense of the profound importance of world view in this journey of being and learning.

Education and Aspiration

With your guide visit a kindergarten / school – primary or high / university. Meet with students and teachers. Question and be questioned. Conduct an impromptu Aussie flavoured lesson or simply watch and note. Your guide will ensure that sensitivities and protocols are observed to avoid embarrassment.

From the past comes strength for the future

Spend time gaining a snippet of historical Hue, and become absorbed in the imperial narrative of your guide. Ask to visit the local museums, art and craft centres.

The simple pleasures

Explore Hue as a passenger in a cyclo. (pedi-cab) A journey to the old Japanese Bridge gives a brief glimpse of the strong connections between these two Asian cultures over many centuries as well a fleeting impression of the surrounding rural areas. Ask to visit the exquisite silk embroidery workshop where demonstrations and sales of superb fabric and presentations are available. A quick night ride past the citadel and over the bridge crossing the Perfume River provides a different perspective with the city lights on. Take a delicious Vietnamese coffee over lunch with your guide and friends. Soak up the ambience of daily life. Go shopping. Your guide will know where to find local prices and assist you to bargain respectfully. ie fabrics, traditional wear, crafts, brass items, musical instruments, utensils, books and music. Learn some language – your guide will be intent on practising their English with you. Ensure that you also take the opportunity to learn a little Vietnamese too. .Browse numerous small galleries to discover a beautiful mix of traditional and contemporary arts - canvas and lacquer wear. Arrange for the more sumptuous pieces to be freighted to your home. Negotiate to spend time learning the finer art of Vietnamese food preparation and cuisine or enjoy some down time in a massage performed by blind exponents of the craft. Enjoy pillion on motor bikes (at your own risk) to nearby villages – or coast line. (Helmets are compulsory). Take a risk and ask your guide for her/his special place to share with you.

Whole Group Activities

• Night cruise on the Huong Giang (river conditions permitting) with accompanying traditional instrumental and vocalists in traditional costume and on board evening meal.
• Visit to Hue orphanage – run by the Buddhist nuns – look, listen, learn and contribute
• Visit to other imperial tombs – river transport to Ming Mang Tomb for a guided tour.
• Experience Royal cuisine while dressed in appropriate Vietnamese attire
• Farewell evening meal

Daily conditions will be factored into schedules placing safety and wellbeing as high priorities. The Moods of Hue require participants to be patient, understanding and resilient and accept that the Vietnamese relationship between Heaven and Earth is in continual flux. Above all enjoy.

Accommodation at hotel in Hue

Day 13: 12 January 2013, Hue

This morning we continue our orientation of Hue by taking a boat trip on the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue.

We return to our hotel and are met by our Hue student hosts and mentors to begin the afternoon program. Note: there will be some small personal incidental expenses such as cyclo rides, lunches etc. We will provide detailed expectations in the Pre-Departure Briefing.

Following the afternoon program the whole group meets at our hotel. Thence to a local restaurant chosen by our Vietnamese hosts for an evening meal. Group de-briefing session to report and share experiences – what has been learnt.

Day 14: 13 January 2013, Hue

Following breakfast, we are met by local mentors and students to commence the day‘s program. Following the day’s activities, the whole group will meet at the hotel and thence to an evening meal. The whole group then embarks upon an evening river cruise with traditional artists. Group returns to Hotel for de-briefing and to report and share the day’s experiences – what has been learnt.

Day 15: 14 January 2013, Hue

At the end of the day, the whole group with mentors and students gather for dinner at our hotel – guest speaker if available at the Hotel – thank you and farewell. Group de-brief.

Day 16: 15 January 2013, Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

Following breakfast depart for Da Nang. The scenic 4 hour drive via Hai Van pass offers spectacular views of mountains, the sea, idyllic beaches and villages. Visit the very good collections of the Cham Museum on the way. Lunch at local restaurant.

We continue further south to the charming history city of Hoi An. Known to early Western merchants, Hoi An was one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Hoi An has a distinctive Chinese atmosphere with low, tiled-roof houses and narrow streets; the original structure of some of these streets is still virtually intact. Many of these houses were constructed of rare timbers and decorated with lacquer panels engraved with Chinese characters and pillar carved with ornamental designs. During a leisurely discovery tour on foot you will visit some of these history merchant and community houses, places of worship and famous bridges. Return to hotel.

Accommodation at hotel in Hoi An

Day 17: 16 Jauary 2013, Hoi An

Free day for optional activities

Option 1: Half-day cooking class at the Red Bridge Cooking School

We start the day (8.15am / 1.30pm) with a drink at Hai Scout Café (98 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An Ancient Town) – our meeting point.

Visit Hoi An’s colourful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later.

We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy.

On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef’s, before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration).

After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked.

Recipes (our food contains no MSG):

-/ Making fresh Rice paper
-/ Fresh Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp
-/ Crispy Hoi An Pancakes with Shrimp, Herbs & a Peanut Sauce
-/ Seafood Salad with mixed Vietnamese Herbs served in Half a Pineapple
-/ Vietnamese Eggplant in Clay Pot
-/ Food Decoration – Tomato Rose & Vietnamese Cucumber Hand Fan

* Lunch includes the above meals as well as: Steamed Ocean Fish on a bed of Freshly Chopped Vegetables (not included in the demonstration)
* A vegetarian lunch can be provided on request. Finish at approximately 1pm / 6.00pm – transfer back to central Hoi An.

Option 2: Half-day as local farmer (HALF DAY ORGANIC DISCOVERY TOUR)

You could spend a year in Hoi An and not discover all of its charms. However, if you only have a few days and you want to experience the delights of the local countryside then the half day Organic Discovery Tour is a good option. Tra Que is a charming little village located just a few kilometres from Hoi An. The village is named after the sweet scented vegetables they grow in the village, and are used to spice up famous Hoi An dishes, like the local noodle dishes Cao Lau and My Quang, or Hoi An Pancakes (Banh Xeo).

The half day "Organic Discovery Tour" is available everyday - with both a morning and afternoon program available.

PROGRAM: 8:30am or 3:30pm

After a short drive through the local countryside we arrive at Tra Que Village, and the home of your host, Mr Tuan. A welcome drink of freshly picked fruit-juices is waiting, before we take a walk around the village and learn about the history and customs of this charming village. We walk through the market gardens where hundreds of local farmers work their fields using the traditional methods of hundreds of years ago - no electrical machinery here. We return to the home of Mr Tuan, and this is where the real fun begins. Everyone is given farming instruments, and we set about joining the farmers in preparing the land for sowing. Our guide describes the traditional farming methods while we help fertilize the garden using seaweed from the local river, and then water it usinghuge tin cans strapped to our back. Time is then spent picking vegetables and herbs, and learning how to wrap them to prevent damage. Many of the local herbs are used by the farmers for traditional village medicines It's now time to try are hands at making the village specialty named “Tam Huu” spring rolls - using the local herbs and vegetables we have just picked or Xeo Cake ( Banh Xeo). We then sit down and enjoy a lovely local meal.


1. Tam Huu Special traditional dish of Tra Que organic Village
2. Cha Gio Spring rolls- market vegetables wrapped with fresh rice paper and pan-fried
3. Banh Xeo Gia Dinh Cam Ha Crispy Cam Ha Pancakes with Shrimp, Herbs, Bean Sprouts & a special home make sauce
4.Ca Nuong La Nghe Grilled Fish in Tra Que Vietnamese Saffron Leaf
5.Canh Thit Bo (Thit Heo) Hoi An Beef (or Pork) And Organic Vegetable Soup
6. Com Tra Que goi la chuoi Steamed Fragrant Rice of Tra Que in Banana Leaf
7. Trai Cay Theo Mua hoac Banh Dau Xanh Hoi An Fruit Salad or Hoi An special cake

1.00pm or 6.30pm - Back to Hoi An

Morning Tour
1 drink (non-alcoholic) - welcome
Village entrance fee
Local guide
Foot Massage
Farming course
Leaning how to making special family Dishes

Afternoon Tour:
1 drink (non-alcoholic) - welcome
Village entrance fee
Snacks & Fruit Salad or Special cakes from Hoi an
Local guide
Foot Massage
Farming course

Day 18: 17 January 2013, Hoi An – Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City

A free morning before our 1130 check out and transfer to the airport for lfight VN 1317 1330-1440. On arrival and after transferring to the hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to begin exploring the environs.

Day 19: 18 January 2013, Ho Chi Minh

City tour: Thien Hau Pagoda, Chinatown, former Presidential Palace, Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Continue to visit War Remnants Museum, a lacquer ware workshop and a local market.

Accommodation at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

Day 20: 19 January 2013, Ho Chi Minh

Drive to My Tho in the heart of the Mekong delta, famous for its vast rice fields and most beautiful landscapes. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda en route and stop by the bank of Tien Giang river. Take a boat trip on Mekong River to Phoenix Island where local handicrafts and sweets from coconuts are being produced. Enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and traditional life music and songs performance. A short ride on a horse carriage to a typical local house to taste some homemade honey-tea. Proceed by small sampan boats through the small canals and side arms of the river to observe the daily life along the river banks with a stop and short leisurely walk at the Turtle Island. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before driving back to Ho Chi Minh.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Ho Chi Minh

Day 21: 20 January 2013, Ho Chi-Minh-Singapore

Free morning before 12:15 departure to Singapore, arriving at 15:15

Depart Singapore At 22:45

Day 22: 21 January 2013, 12:13 Arrive in Australia

Total cost person twin share AUD 4995.00
Single Supplement AUD 895.00
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