From the tribal villages of Sapa, in North Vietnam, to modern Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in South Vietnam, this active, cultural, and humanitarian adventure to a land made famous by the Vietnam War will fascinate and humble you. Vietnam today is a country at peace and the friendly Vietnamese people are part of a culturally rich, unique, and diverse civilization who live in a natural setting that overwhelms you with its sublime beauty.
If you grew up in the 1960s, you will remember the effect the Vietnam War had on our lives. It was a tumultuous time and those of the “Baby Boomer” generation learned to question much about government, politics, virtue, honesty, culture, and the media. The Vietnam War influenced my own decision to go into the Peace Corps, and subsequently my determination to launch my own women’s adventure travel company. I wanted to share my experiences and educate travelers about other cultures. I believe very strongly that travel is one of the greatest tools we have for world peace; it breaks down barriers and fosters understanding like nothing else can.
After 28 years in the adventure travel business, I feel it is extremely important that AdventureWomen offers adventure travel trips for women which allow them to experience more than just visiting a country. We have designed this Vietnam tour (and Cambodian extension) to include a humanitarian focus, along with active and cultural highlights of both these fascinating countries. Throughout our Vietnam adventure vacation, we visit many non-government organizations (NGO’s) to meet and talk with local Vietnamese and Cambodian people who are working to ease the hardships of Vietnamese people in rural areas of the country. As a group, we donate timber and metal roofing to a Vietnamese children’s orphanage to help build housing. In the Mekong Delta, we donate a sampan to a farming family so it is easier for them to take their produce to market on the waterways. These small charitable donations and humanitarian acts allow us an opportunity to give something back to the culture and the country we are visiting.
We embark on this extraordinary travel adventure to Vietnam by flying via Hong Kong to Hanoi, North Vietnam. Throughout our Vietnam holiday, we experience the unique activities of North, South, and Central Vietnam: a Vietnamese cyclo tour takes us through the French colonial architecture of Hanoi; we take the overnight train to Sapa to hike and interact with various ethnic peoples and learn about their distinctive crafts; visit emerald-colored, terraced rice fields in the serene countryside, tended by graceful women in straw conical hats; boat the Perfume River in Hue and the Mekong Delta; and take a walking tour of the narrow cobblestone streets of Hoi An.
Cultural highlights include a water puppet show in Hanoi; a cocktail party and interaction with local Vietnamese artists; visits to pottery and carpentry villages; a visit to northern villages where minority peoples still live in stilt houses and weave textiles on ancient looms; and more. Vietnam’s centuries-old culture provides us with a remarkable selection of traditional activities and local interactions.
A visit to the Viet Cong’s Cu Chi Tunnels, and the realities of the “American War” (as the Vietnamese refer to it), is an emotional day for any American over the age of 40. Whatever your politics, Vietnam and the USA are forever bound together in history by the Vietnam War. We explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong hid and lived underground during the war. Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon), and much more await us on this uniquely designed, in-depth journey customized especially for AdventureWomen.
At the conclusion of our Vietnam vacation, you will also have an opportunity to continue our adventure with a 4-day/3-night optional extension to the amazing Buddhist temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the surrounding countryside.
This Vietnamese and Cambodian adventure is a chance to be graciously welcomed as guests of the local people, to absorb the Vietnamese and Cambodian culture, cuisine, the art of their craftspeople, and the history, religion and nature of these two remarkable countries. Local guides accompany us throughout; our hotels are luxurious and well-located; and we eat wonderful culinary delights in the best restaurants.
Although the war is not forgotten here, the healing power of time is evident in the warm and smiling faces of the Vietnamese and Cambodian peoples. And, perhaps most importantly, AdventureWomen has a wonderful opportunity to play a very welcomed role in conveying the value of international friendship and the spirit of kinship that comes from person-to-person interaction via our humanitarian projects while we visit these two fascinating and historic countries.
Won’t you join AdventureWomen for this remarkable journey