WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Your adventure will begin in Cambodia, where you will join fellow trail members. After a day of acclimatising and recuperating from your travels you will begin your placement.
Day 29-56: Teaching and community development OR beach conservation OR a combination of both projects. OR Marine Conservation & Diving (additional cost applies)
At this stage of the project, you will get the chance to participate in a volunteering project: teaching and community development or beach conservation or if you can't decide a combination of both projects.
Teaching and community development
You will be teaching in a school for underprivileged children, where you will make a vital contribution to their lives. Your work schedule will cover a comprehensive, varied and enjoyable teaching programme which will engage you fully with your pupils and will awaken your creativity and initiative. You are sure to gain huge satisfaction from inspiring these underprivileged children, bringing joy and fun to their lives, whilst enhancing your own skills and experience significantly. You can also gain a TEFL BTEC certificate for an additional fee if you spend the four weeks conducting the teaching work.
This project work is conducted on the private island of Koh Smach where you will be living in true castaway style, in simple semi- permanent structures based right on the beach overlooking the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Day to day activities may include snorkel surveys to assess coral reef damage and fish population size and structure, patterns and extent of resource use by villagers, environmental awareness campaigns within the local village, community development work including refurbishment to village infrastructure, language teaching in the village community, silt trap monitoring, village clean-ups and recycling scheme development and beach clean-ups.
You will become adept at surviving on this remote island wilderness, cooking over open fires and swaying in your hammock each night under a spectacular star studded sky. Through immersion in local culture and activities with the local village, you will assess how reliant the local villagers are on the coastal ecosystem for their livelihood and may gain an insight into the impact of global warming on the threatened marine and coastal communities. You will discover the rich cultural heritage of the Khmer communities as you work alongside them on environmental education programmes and community development activities. Discover the rich blend of Buddhist and Hindu spiritualism infusing their daily lives and is epitomised in majestic mainland temples and elaborate ceremonies and rituals of this fascinating country. By carrying out this valuable beach conservation work, you will have the opportunity to gain a BTEC qualification in Tropical Habitat Conservation for an additional US$416 (to complete this course you need to be on the island for a full four weeks).
An additional cost of US$160USD / 70GBP applies to take part in the beach conservation placement to cover internal transport costs
Marine Conservation & Diving
The project works to safeguard these natural marine resources, working side by side with the local community assisting in the management and sustainable use of the resources within the established community fishing area, as well as providing much needed teaching resources and care work for the community itself.
The project incorporates a number of different elements, all of which combine to not only give you an insight into the workings of the local community and economy, but also lend a hand in protecting rapidly diminishing species.
The marine project involves joining a scuba diving research team that monitors the marine ecosystem and collects data on the reef, coastal breeding grounds and the abundance of important species. This data is then used to help maintain a proactive conservation strategy. Volunteers learn about seahorse and invertebrate species, as well as collecting valuable data from seahorse surveys. There may also be the opportunity to assist with educational awareness programmes for local children, providing them with workshops on responsibility and helping in island and beach cleanup days.
You may also find yourself teaching English in the island school, providing much needed education and support. With nearly a third of 7-14 year olds unable to attend school, this is a fantastic opportunity to get close to the local children and make a real difference to their future prospects. You will dance, sing, and play games as well as teach them English. Literacy is crucial to education, and in providing them with vital skills, you can provide them with hope for a future of choice.
To participate in the scuba diving project work you will need to be qualified to Advanced Open Water or equivalent, with dive training available in-country at the project site. Please see the extended project cost information for prices for dive training in the warm tropical seas of Cambodia!
An additional cost of US$792GBP applies to take part in the marine conservation & diving placement
Day 28: Phnom Penh
Return to the city to relax and prepare for the journey to Vietnam.
Day 29-31: Ho Chi Minh
Venture into this vibrant and industrious urban centre with its bubbling and exhilarating vibe. Visit the War Remnants Museum containing eye-opening exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. See the pastel-hued pagodas and pick up some real bargains from the tiny merchants and traders of the many side streets and alleys. Take a day tour of the Mekong Delta, home of many rice fields and floating markets. Gaze up at the arching ceilings of the Halls of Mandarins, as you breathe in the exotic aura of this testament to Vietnam's past rulers.
En route to Hanoi you will have the chance to encounter several of Vietnam's most diverse towns and villages. Nha Trang offers sand-boarding on huge dunes and sunbathing on the fabulous beach – for a combination of relaxation and a real adrenaline rush! Hoi An is a stunning little town with Chinese influences around every corner. Famous for its tailors, you could stroll past a delicate Chinese temple with colourful lanterns lining the streets, and drop in to a tailor to get measured up for your new suit or ball gown made from Thai silk! Along the way, visit Hué and see the imperial tombs, the old citadel and take a boat trip on the Perfume River. See the unimaginable splendour and fantastical elegance of the Royal enclosure, and the Forbidden Purple City.
Day 35: Hanoi
Explore Hanoi, by taking a walking tour of this vibrant and colourful city of a million bicycles, picking up a last few souvenirs. Visit the Temple of Literature, one of Hanoi's finest historical sites and Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum.
Day 36-37: Sapa
Travel by night train and then by bus along the winding road into the clouds to reach the highland resort of Sapa.
Day 38: Travel back to Hanoi by train and bus
Day 39-41: Halong Bay
Explore Halong Bay with a two-day boat trip along this spectacular coast with its enormous limestone caves, dense jungle and monolithic islands. The area boasts incredible biodiversity with a fantastic array of wildlife including antelopes, monkeys, lizards and bantams living on some of the offshore islands.
Day 42: Hanoi
Return to Hanoi to do some more last minute shopping and prepare for your homeward journey.
Day 43: Fly home!
**This itinerary is very flexible and subject to change. It is intended as a guide. You and your fellow travellers will change the itinerary according to your interests and depending on how you are progressing.**
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