Embark on an enriching Southeast Asia journey, immersing yourself in its rich history, diverse cultures, and breathtaking natural beauty. Explore the haunting relics of the Khmer Rouge era in Phnom Penh and marvel at the ancient wonder of Angkor Wat. Make a difference by building and installing water filters, providing clean water to rural communities. Experience an unforgettable overnight stay on a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay, complete with kayaking adventures on its turquoise waters. Navigate the vibrant streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and bustling Bangkok metropolis. Take a canoe ride at one of Thailand’s famous floating markets and forge a bond with majestic Thai elephants, working alongside their caregivers. Master the art of Thai cooking with a taste of curries and Pad Thai. Immerse yourself in hill-tribe village life, sharing in their daily routines and traditions. Conclude your journey with a memorable feast in Bangkok, reflecting on the cultures, history, and experiences of your transformative four weeks in Southeast Asia.
Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam
June 26 - July 24, 2024
*Airfare for group flight from Los Angeles additional
- Experience the Diverse Cultures of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam
- Learn About Elephant Conservation in Rural Thailand
- Build and Install Water Filters in a Cambodian Village
- Explore the Cities of Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok
- Overnight on the Stunning Waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay
- 25 Hours of Community Service
Unveil Stories of Cultural Heritage
Learn about Cambodia’s tumultuous past as you acclimatize to Southeast Asia, visiting ornate temples and palaces. Understand the complexities of a country striving to rebuild after tragedy. To glimpse Thailand’s cultural origins, we travel north to hill tribe country where tribes have managed to retain their own language, customs, mode of dress, and spiritual beliefs for centuries. In Hanoi's Old Quarter, immerse yourself in the enchanting tales of Hoan Kiem Lake's mythical past, wander through Dong Xuan Market's vibrant maze of local life, and experience traditional water puppetry.
Our program begins with Project Clean Water. Students will build bio sand water filters, and install them in the homes of a rural Cambodian village. Jumping into our elephant service work we start a three-day training course in Kanchanaburi. We learn and practice elephant trainer’s tasks and responsibilities while educating ourselves about conversation efforts in place for Thailand’s elephants.
Visit Three World Heritage Sites
Embark on an overnight excursion on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, where more than 3,000 islands jut out from the emerald waters. Experience a breathtaking view of Angkor Wat at sunrise. Larger that the five boroughs of New York City, this ancient complex tells the story of history through elegant carvings in a maze immaculate structures.
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate, and cultural differences. You will receive this packing list in the comprehensive Welcome Packet that is sent to all students after they enroll in a program.
Most of our destinations, with the exception of the mountainous regions in the north of Thailand, can be described as hot and humid. Daytime temperatures in the summer months usually fall in the mid-80s (26°C), with an average humidity of 66% to 82%. In the northern hill country temperatures can fall into the 50s (10°C), and it can get quite chilly in the evenings. In Vietnam, you can expect balmy temperatures, cooled off by quick rain showers. In Cambodia, you will arrive in the midst of the green season, where rice paddies glisten and afternoon downpours bring relief from the humidity.
ARCC has been operating programs in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for several years, and we have built relationships with a variety of individuals, small communities, and organizations who enjoy hosting ARCC student groups. In this program, we construct bio-sand water filters from cement and then install them in rural communities for families who would not otherwise have access to purified water. We also participate in an elephant service project at a nature preserve and elephant sanctuary.
Our three destinations are relatively clean and safe places to travel. However, ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your trip to Southeast Asia. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more complete information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website. Our leaders carry a full first aid kit and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
During this program, we sleep in a variety of accommodations: small hotels, dorm-style hostels, boat, and sleeper train.
We use a variety of transportation including private vans and busses, overnight sleeper trains, and coaches.
We will have the opportunity to sample traditional cuisine such as noodles (like Pad Thai), curries, spring rolls, and fresh fruits. We will also be taking a cooking class to learn how to cook all of our favorite dishes!
Vegetarians and medical dietary requirements (i.e. allergies) are catered for. Students should inform ARCC of any dietary needs before the start of the program.
ARCC recommends that you bring an additional $75 of spending money for each week of travel. Most cash should come home, but you will want some personal money to pay for airline baggage fees at the airport, souvenirs/gifts, laundry, extra snacks, and emergencies (lost items, clinic visit, etc.). Most students opt to bring a small amount of cash, as well as personal debit or credit cards.
As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card freezes.
Be sure to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place. If you lose your passport and you have a photocopy, it is much easier to replace.
Yes. You will need visas to enter Vietnam and Cambodia. For Vietnam, you must purchase your visa in advance. There is a visa information section in the forms that you will receive once you enroll in this program to explain how to do so. For Cambodia, you don’t need to get it before departure. Upon arrival in the country, you will buy a visa, which costs about $30. For Thailand, US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for this program (unless you plan on staying in Thailand before or after the program).
All of our destinations fall within a single time zone. While on your program, the time will be 11 hours behind New York (Eastern Time), 12 hours behind Chicago (Central Time), and 14 hours behind San Francisco (Pacific Time).
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, it is important that you bring a backpack as your main piece of luggage. During the program, the group will be navigating through airports, on and off buses, up and down stairways, and taking short hikes on unpaved paths. Everyone must be able to carry all of their own belongings which is more comfortable and efficient with a backpack.
We have the chance to live amongst some people who have the very basics for survival. With education being a tool to better their lives, basic school supplies are welcomed with open arms. Pens, pencils, notepads, and books are widely accepted. Soccer balls are also an incredible way to cross the cultural border and share smiles. Because of limited space on our vehicles, ARCC would ask that every person bring no more than a gym bag of goods to donate.
Have questions? Speak to one of our Program Directors, give them a call at (415) 332.5075 , they love talking about their trips!