Vietnam – Cambodia Alumni Opportunity

An Exclusive Professional Development Opportunity For Go Global NC Program Alumni!

Become a participant in a people-to-people professional development program to Southeast Asia, offered exclusively to Go Global NC’s program alumni and guests.

This program will be a step back in history and a look at life today that will provide you with an unrivaled depth of cultural understanding of Vietnam and Cambodia.  You will spend 12 days immersed among the people to learn about the culture, history, food, environment, and landscape of the countries.

You will learn to connect with the countries beyond the history of war. Sail overnight on a traditional sailing junk in Halong Bay. Witness the heights of Cambodia’s past at Angkor Wat and its bright future with some local enterprises working to create change.

Upon completion of this program, you will have increased your ability to understand the Vietnamese and Cambodian histories and cultures, will be more culturally competent, and will be able to use what you learned in your community and workplace, including to help develop global-ready students in your classrooms.


On arrival at Ho Chi Minh City airport (SGN), meet your local guide and transfer to hotel.

With a population of nearly eight million inhabitants and an almost equal number of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles all competing for space on the ultra-busy streets, bustling and noisy Ho Chi Minh City (still known as Saigon) is a metropolis on the move. The most western of Vietnamese cities, it is a city of contrasts; a place where ultra-modern shopping malls and fashionable restaurants vie for space with local retailers selling their wares and quiet roadside cafes making delicious Vietnamese iced coffee (cafe sua da) and other liquid refreshments. There is always something going on in Ho Chi Minh City, and a friendly roadside cafe is the perfect place to take five, enjoy a coffee and absorb the dynamic scene unfolding around you.

Ho Chi Minh City is packed with first-rate museums and some elegant French-era colonial architecture, including the Central Post Office and the stunning Saigon Opera House. Away from the city center, Cholon, where the treasure trove of temples are best explored on foot, is one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in Southeast Asia; and Ben Thanh Market is the perfect place for retail and souvenir-hunting.

Based on your arrival time, step out for a guided cultural tour starting with the Reunification Palace. Formerly named the Presidential Palace, this important city landmark was assured its place in history on April 30, 1975, when the first North Vietnamese tanks rumbled past, signaling the Fall of Saigon and ultimately the end of the Vietnam War. It is now a museum complete with period meeting areas, war rooms, and a basement communication center. After your visit, walk the short distance to the city’s striking French colonial-era post office. Hotel de Ville de Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall, is another of the city’s most prominent buildings.

Meals included: None
Accommodation: Liberty Central

The Mekong Delta is a rich fertile region of farmland interlaced with countless waterways that are crisscrossed by rice paddies. You will explore one of the country’s most enchanting landscapes as you transfer to the region by coach and then motorized sampan (a flat bottomed wooden boat) into the “rice bowl” of Vietnam.

Exploring Ben Tre, one of the lesser-visited provinces in the Mekong Delta, you will cruise along the Ham Luong River visiting small factories that provide an insight into how the local economy works. Stops include a brickworks, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand; a salt refinery; a coconut processing workshop where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every part of this versatile nut is made into food and other products; and a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom – you can even try weaving yourself!

Stop at a peaceful village for a short walk to see more of local life in the community and then travel by bicycle or xe loi – a design of cyclo (bicycle taxi) used only in the Delta – through fruit orchards before stopping at a riverside restaurant for a delicious lunch. The lunch will feature local specialties such as elephant ear fish and river shrimp. There will be time to explore the garden or wander along the riverbanks with your guide before taking a row boat along narrow canals back to the main boat. Return to the pier in Ben Tre and transfer back to your hotel for a free evening.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Liberty Central

After early breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, transfer and check in to the hotel in Hoi An. Explore Hoi An at your own pace.

Located about 20 miles south of Danang, the sublime riverside town of Hoi An is a feast for the eyes. Devoid of most forms of motorized transport, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town of this ancient port is ideal for exploring on foot. Discover beautifully preserved old merchant houses, atmospheric temples, and lively markets as you stroll through the back streets of this enchanting destination.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hoi An Historic Hotel

You may choose to add an optional tour from the selection below or spend the day exploring on your own.

Optional Tour:
Half-Day Visit to Ancient Ruins of My Son (6 hours, $32 pp)

Meaning “Beautiful Mountain” in Vietnamese, My Son was once the most important city in the Champa Kingdom, the center for both intellectual and religious activities as well as the burial place of choice for the Cham kings. My Son received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 and is considered one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia. Discovered by French archaeologists in the late 19th century, the site then consisted of nearly 70 temples, many of which were in remarkably good condition until the Vietnam War when the area surrounding the temples was subjected to intense bombing. About 20 structures still stand today, and the complex remains a place of rural tranquility and a delight to explore. From Hoi An (25 miles east of My Son), journey through rustic countryside, passing fields of rice and small market towns.

Note: The final approach to the temples requires an approximately one-third mile walk through lush vegetation before finally emerging at the main site.

Optional Tour:
Half-Day Visit to Tra Que Village Farming Community by bike (5 hours, $50 pp)

Start the day with a short drive to the village of Tra Que. Located on the edge of Hoi An, this small settlement is renowned for its organic gardens crammed with wonderfully fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables. Observe local farmers as they go about their daily business and learn a little about their customs and traditions. Then it’s time to help prepare the land for sowing and planting. Traditional farming implements in hand, you will help fertilize the ground using seaweed from the nearby river and then water it using twin watering cans supported on a bamboo pole across your shoulders before finally assisting with the picking and packaging process. You will be rewarded for your hard work with a revitalizing herbal foot massage. Then have fun making Tam Huu, spring rolls made with local herbs and vegetables, and enjoy a scrumptious meal using locally produced ingredients and age-old family recipes.

Optional Tour:
Half-Day Countryside Tour by Antique Vespa (Private/5 hours, $130 pp)

Depart from Hoi An, ride over the bridge to Cam Kim island into the beautiful rural countryside and along the river. Then stop at an Ancestral House and a traditional boat builders yard before we set off to explore the sleepy island villages. We will zig-zag through breathtaking scenery of rice paddies and farmland, stopping along the way to learn from friendly local families the art of mat weaving, farming and how to make (and eat) the perfect Banh Dap (rice cracker). After our snack, we will ride out to the riverside and cross a spectacular and adrenalin-pumping 330-yard bamboo bridge to the opposing landscape of the seaboard side of the island. Making our way to the coast at the mouth of the Thu Bon river, along roads lined with Casuarina pine and cashew nut trees and riding into a small village, we will stop at a local café for local drip-coffee and learn the art of coffee roasting. Then it’s up high and over the new bridge offering spectacular panoramic views of Hoi An, which takes us to the coconut palm-fringed Cam Thanh and to a delicious local lunch at a picturesque setting in Hoi An.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hoi An Historic Hotel

After breakfast, we will meet our guide and transfer to Hue via Hai Van pass. Upon arrival, we will embark on a leisurely bike ride (or cyclo ride) of about 6 miles on flat roads around Kim Long village where you can immerse yourself into the greenery of a “Garden City.” Slow down to see Hue’s unique landscape-architecture, philosophy of gardening, and the Mandarin and village temple and handicraft workshops on the way. You will be welcomed to an ancient Garden-House of a three-generation family who will share with you their lifestyle and traditions and will warmly invite you to help cook and enjoy an authentic home meal. Indulge yourself with a relaxing herbal footbath before returning to Hue by boat. This is an enriching view into Hue’s best-kept heritage!

In the evening, we will explore slow living through a slow food tour on cyclo, a Vietnamese bicycle taxi. It will provide an insightful introduction to typical Hue gastronomy. Warm up with a welcome drink and light finger food at a charming bar. Your guide will provide basic introduction about Hue cuisine and teach you some “survival” Vietnamese language. You will then experience a vegetarian restaurant where you can see Buddhist traditions imprinted in Hue’s food art. Farther and farther away from the tourist quarter, in a laid-back cyclo ride, the night tranquility will show you the inner soul of Hue.

Suddenly, the street food stalls come into sight and a crispy Hue styled pancake or
lemongrass skewers will be worth a try. Sweet soups may be your dessert. Hue’s varieties of colors and flavors will be a promise of a sweet ending for a sweet night! Take it easy and make it fun.

Meal included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Saigon Morin Hotel

Situated on the banks of the romantically named Perfume River, the town of Hue is known as the Imperial City of Vietnam. As the capital of the Nguyen dynasty’s empire from 1802 until 1945, Hue was the religious, economic, and cultural epicenter of Vietnam for more than a century. For many, exploring the moated citadel on the northern banks of the river is a highlight of their visit to the city. The Forbidden Purple City was built by Emperor Gia Long in the early 1800s with his exquisite private residence within its walls. The fortress has suffered from both natural and manmade destruction over the years, including cyclones and battle damage during the Vietnam War; yet the enclosure remains extremely palatial and received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993.

Hue city tour: We will start with a visit to the tombs of emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. Located in attractive settings along the banks of the Perfume River, tombs of emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty were not just designed as their final resting place. It was a place the emperors would come during their twilight years to enjoy recreational activities. Of these tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc is considered to be the most magnificent. Tu Duc lived a life of excess and this is reflected in the grandeur of the traditional architecture, majestic walkways, and ornate pavilions that fill the grounds of his mausoleum. In contrast, Emperor Khai Dinh was effectively a “puppet emperor” for the ruling French colonialists and this is evident in the eclectic mix of European and Vietnamese styles that influenced the design of his final resting place.

After returning to the city, we will visit the Imperial Citadel. Built between 1804 and 1833, this heavily fortified structure is still very much the centerpiece of modern-day Hue. Despite a checkered history, the fortress remains superbly intact. Then we will enjoy a late lunch at local restaurant, and then take an overnight train to Hanoi, with a packed dinner box.

Meal included: Breakfast, Lunch and Packed Dinner
Accommodation: Overnight train (sharing 4-berth cabins)

We will arrive early at Hanoi’s train station and transfer to The Ann Hotel for breakfast and to freshen up and prepare an overnight bag for the cruise. You will be able to leave your larger bags at the hotel. We will journey to Halong City, about 2.5 hours, and then board a junk (ancient Chinese sailing ship) for our cruise on Halong Bay at Tuan Chau International Passenger Port. Enjoy welcome drinks while the Cruise Manager provides your safety briefing.

Discover the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, which is a beautiful place and an archaeological site. Covering an area of more than 1,000 square miles with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, the cave is one of the finest caves in Halong Bay. In addition to a buffet lunch, join an exciting “Master Chef Competition” and fruit carving demonstration, and learn skills to make authentic Vietnamese food. Then enjoy dinner onboard and admire the sunset over enchanting Halong Bay while the boat anchors for an overnight stay. Retire to your cabin or join the staff for squid fishing.


  • Port authorities insist on advance registration including full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, and passport number. At check-in, a valid passport is required. Port authority may deny boarding if these conditions are not met.
  • Inclement weather, tide levels and operating conditions at sea may force changes in cruise itinerary and schedule at any time.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Overnight onboard Bhaya Classic Cruise

Start your day early with a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck with complimentary tea and coffee. Rejuvenate your body and mind with the slow movement of Tai Chi and enjoy the dawn on the bay. Light breakfast will be served onboard. Then you will visit the beautiful Cua Van floating village, by either kayak or traditional rowing boat, to discover local life on the water. Later, enjoy brunch onboard while the boat cruises through Lom Bo Islet, Soi Sim Island, Hoa Cuong Islet, Chicken Cock Islet, and Ba Hang Village. We will disembark at Tuan Chau International Passenger Port and return to the hotel in Hanoi. You will have free time for the rest of the day to explore on your own.

Meals included: Brunch
Accommodation: The Ann Hanoi

We will check out and depart for a service learning experience at the Hoa Sua School for Disadvantaged Youth. You’ll meet with the hospitality students and teachers and then proceed to help prepare lunch for the group. You will be divided into two groups, and each group will work with a different set of hospitality students. You will then work with the banquet services students to set up dining tables for lunch.

After lunch, there will be a presentation and Q&A at Hoa Sua School. You’ll visit classes and talk with disadvantaged students, meet the school’s representatives, and see the videos introducing the school’s activities. This will be followed by an interactive session with the teachers/management. Before departing, you may want to buy handmade products at the school’s showroom, which helps support the program.

Then we will transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, meet your local guide and check in at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: Tara Angkor Hotel

Step out for a guided cultural tour. Start with a boat trip to Tonle Sap Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia, the heart of the Cambodian fishing industry, and the lifeblood for millions of Khmers living on and around it. Every year during the monsoon season, the Mekong River changes direction, forcing water back into Tonle Sap Lake and brings nutrients that fertilize the rice fields and support the breeding of 200+ fish and other species. You will see the authentic way of life in one of the floating villages of the Tonle Sap and how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side.

Then, we will visit Angkor National Museum, a profound cultural landmark in Siem Reap and a world-class museum that showcases the Golden Era of Khmer Kingdom. Nearby is the Cultural Mall, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike for the lifestyle recreation services it provides for the community.

We will have an early dinner at Marum restaurant by Friends International, a place that trains disadvantaged youth. After dinner, we will experience Phare, the Cambodian Circus: “Uniquely Cambodian, Daringly Modern!” It is more than just a circus – Phare performers use theater, music, dance, and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian historical, folk, and modern stories. The young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Tara Angkor Hotel

After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit Ta Prohm Temple, a temple that has been left primarily in its natural state since its “re-discovery” by French explorers. Surrounded by jungles, its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees, which envelop the stone like tentacles. It is one of the largest temples at Angkor, dedicated in 1186, and renowned for its mystical charm.

We will visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, “The Great City,” and continue to Bayon to experience the last capital of the Khmers, with it’s the Bayon temple, Elephant Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very center of Angkor Thom and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive bas-reliefs (sculptures) but the highlights are the “faces”, more than 200 of them: silent but with the famous half-smile playing on their lips. PJ de Beerski wrote of them; “Godliness in the majesty and the size, mystery in the expression.”

Lunch on your own.

Then we will visit the Angkor Wat Temple, the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all the other Khmer temples, in that it faces west and is inspired by 12th Century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylized on the modern Cambodian flag. Conceived by Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build. It is generally believed to have been a funeral temple for the king. It has been occupied continuously by Buddhist monks and is well preserved. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides, each telling a story. The most celebrated is the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, which is located on the east wing. In it, the Naga serpent is said to be twisted by demons and gods to spurt out the elixir of life. Following the visit to the temple, you will be free to have dinner on your own.


During the visit of the Bakan tower of Angkor Wat Temple, visitors are required to wear appropriate attire, covering shoulders and knees, as this temple is still considered a sacred site (no shorts, miniskirt or short trousers). Children under twelve years old are not allowed to climb up this tower. It will be closed on the Buddhist Sabbath Days, the Buddhist religious days and four days a month in accordance with the Lunar Calendar.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Tara Angkor Hotel

In the morning, we will depart to visit Samatoa Center. Samatoa has fashion-forward clothing and accessories. Since 2003, Samatoa has been bringing lines of quality, affordable eco-friendly products to the world and has built a solid reputation as an industry leader in natural fibers. Samatoa was built on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic efficiency, social equity, and protection of the environment. It was after numerous experiments and research conducted in remote villages that Samatoa revived a forgotten expertise in Cambodia. They are pioneers in the field of ethical couture in Asia and have received the UNESCO award of excellence for a Sarong made from Lotus fabric.

We will then return to Siem Reap to a development project that teaches young adults stone and wood carving, lacquer application, and other traditional Khmer arts at Les Artisans d’Angkor. This is a heart-warming reminder that progress in Cambodia can go hand-in-hand with the renaissance of traditional crafts. Artisans d’Angkor offers some of the finest arts, crafts, and silks available anywhere in Southeast Asia. After that, we will have a final group dinner and transfer with a guide to Siem Reap International Airport for a flight back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Tara Angkor Hotel

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer by your guide to the airport for your journey home. Your return flight to the US can be scheduled to depart at any time after 6 p.m. on this date from Ho Chi Minh City.

Meals included: Breakfast


What’s included: program costs, lodging, all in-country transportation, travel health insurance, most meals, and an online orientation prior to travel to guide you through the program and answer your questions.

Cost per person twin-sharing (same-sex roommates will be assigned if you are traveling alone)
Cost for single supplement

Fill out this Participant Agreement and Application Form and secure your place on this professional development experience with a $100 non-refundable deposit.

Deadline to apply, February 10, 2019
Final payment due March 1, 2018.

Deposit applied to program costs.
Cancellation policy: 100% program fee refunded before March 1, 2019; 50% program fee refunded between March 1 – April 1, 2019; no refunds after April 1, 2019.

Program Costs Included:

  • Accommodation as per above (except during overnight transfers) with daily breakfast
  • Halong Bay: join-in cruise, private cabin
  • Economy class flights from Saigon to Danang, Hanoi to Siem Reap and Siem Reap to Saigon
  • Train ticket from Hue to Hanoi (sharing 4 berth/cabin)
  • Day-use hotel in Hanoi, including breakfast after overnight train journey
  • Transfers as specified in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Meals as specified in itinerary (drinks are not included)
  • Bottled water and cool towel provided on transfers and sightseeing
  • Entry fees for various visits and tours except optional tours proposed on July 14
  • Service of English-speaking local guide
  • VAT Government tax and services charge

Participants are responsible for:

  • International flight to and from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
  • $25 Visa for Vietnam (paid at airport upon arrival)
  • Some meals, and optional excursions as specified in the itinerary

International flight:

Because group bookings are unavailable during this time, participants will be responsible for booking their own international flight to and from Ho Chi Minh City. You may book your own flights or contact Key Travel, a nonprofit booking group Go Global NC is working with that specializes in humanitarian travel flights. Go Global NC’s designated agent at Key Travel, Kaelin McMenamy (, can help you explore the best available flights and rates.

If you choose to use Key Travel, first complete your application and then contact Kaelin by email and let her know you are part of the Go Global NC group to Vietnam.

If you chose to book the flight yourself, you must arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN), Vietnam on July 11, 2018 and can depart anytime on July 23, 2018.

As always Go Global NC will be available to you at any time to answer your questions and help you out along the way. If you have any question please contact Nick Rau at or 919-237-7960.