Another successful Vietnam Study Tour has taken place during the 2019 Winter Semester. Students explored and experienced Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay.

The subject

The study tour is an optional elective and part of the subject Tourism and Hospitality International Study Program (THS3ISP). The objective of the study tour is to examine and observe the cultural, social and environmental aspects as a tourist, the impacts of government policy and the legacy of war.

The assessment tasks include:

  • Case study relating to war and ethics
  • Daily reflective journal of personal experiences
  • Report evaluating the differences between the hotel and restaurant standards of Australia and Vietnam
  • Group presentation based on photo journal on a given topic

The students

This year, nineteen students went on the Vietnam Study Tour, 13 females and 6 males, of which four international students. The students were accompanied by Paul Strickland, lecturer at LBS and program director – Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management, and Lisa Murphy from the LBS admin team.

The study tour

The study tour started with a tour through Ho Chi Minh City where students visited the Central Post Office and Opera House, both colonial-era architectural masterpieces, followed by the Reunification Palace, so-called for the building’s integral part in the reunification of the country after the war.  Students also visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, who not only served as living questers during the Vietnam War but also as supply routes and hospitals for thousands guerrilla fighters. The trip was combined with a visit to the War Remnants Museum for a firsthand look at the Vietnam War through the eyes of Vietnamese people.

The Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City organised a lecture about Vietnamese culture, food, religion and the differences in study techniques. The Vietnamese students organised interactive games, hosted morning tea and gave a vocal performance followed by a cooking demonstration at Mandarin Restaurant. Before traveling to Hoi An, there was time to visit the site of Australia’s Nui Dat Task Force base, Nui Dat SAS Hill, the Long Tan Cross at the War Memorial, Australian War Graves, Long Tan battlefield and Vung Tau city – the arrival port for Australian troops. This may be the last time students gets to see the Nui Dat SAS Hill in its current form as it has started to be quarried.

Lecture at Vietnam National University
Lecture at Vietnam National University

In Hoi An, a former trading port, is famous for its restored architecture, homemade silk, expert tailors and delicious noodles and seafood. Here the students visited Chua Ong Pagoda, built in 1653 in honour of the Chinese general Quan Cong who is worshiped as a symbol of loyalty and justice. Students also visited Phuc Kien Assembly Hall to see a temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea, the 200 years old Tan Ky house and took a boat trip along Thu Bon river to the Red Bridge Cooking School for a five-course cooking lesson. While in Hoi An, students also visited My Son, the former capital of the ancient Cham civilisation who ruled Vietnam from the 2nd until the 13th century and attended not-for-profit charity restaurants.

Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An
Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An

From Hoi An, the students travelled to Hue – the Imperial City of the former Emperor. They enjoyed a tour of the city and boat trip on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda. After visiting Hue the tour continued to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Students visited the Temple of Literature, built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius, Hoa Lo prison and the Old Quarter’s 36 streets.

Towards the end of their two-week study trip, students went on a boat cruise through UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay. The cruise included a visit to the Tien Ong Cave, which covers an area of 1000 m2, a cooking demonstration, squid fishing and a visit to Cua Van floating fishing village.  The study tour ended when students returned to Hanoi with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex where they heard about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule.

Kayaking at Halong Bay
Kayaking at Halong Bay

Student feedback

We asked two students for feedback about the trip and both had an amazing time.

I absolutely loved everything about this trip! The culture, the food, the consequences of war and the diverse tourism products and services available.

My daily reflection and photo journal will be a treasured memory for years to come. I knew no-one in the beginning and made lots of friends. I would definitely recommend this study tour to anyone.

I learnt so much during this once in a lifetime experience!

The study tour was extremely interactive. Everything we did, one of us [a student] was involved in everything, if not all of us. I loved seeing the diverse countryside, the cities, the jungle, the fields and of course the beach and water.