Vietnam and Cambodia Expedition – summer 2014

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“Forty-four students in three teams went on expedition for a total of 32 days this summer. The adventure began in the mega city of Ho Chi Minh/Saigon where the students were immediately immersed in the local culture, noise and traffic. Students organised all accommodation and transport and managed the entire budget for the whole expedition. We went on a trip to the Mekong delta and explored the floating markets and indulged in some mud fishing. Ho Chi Minh city also houses the War Remnants Museum which highlights the experience of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War. They of course do not call it that!

We then headed off on overnight trains to the beaches of Nha Trang and then the Yok Don national park for our 3 day acclimatisation trek in the jungle. We also had the opportunity to have a ride on an elephant!

Teams then arranged transport across the border into Cambodia where our main 5 day trek was to take place in the Ratanakiri forest. This was an amazing opportunity to get up close with the jungle, sleep in hammocks and see amazing sights. The trekking was long and hard and we were really able to immerse ourselves in jungle living.

We then proceeded to Siem Reap to the temples of Angkor Wat. We decided to see the sunrise over the main temple and then to visit the temples on mountain bikes so that we could cover more distance. The scale, beauty and complexity of the temples is truly staggering. The shopping and nightlife was also great fun. So many markets and so much great stuff.

After the magic of Angkor we sourced transport to the capital Phnom Penh where we continued our rest and relaxation with more retail therapy and sight-seeing. We then set off on a local bus to help out at an orphanage for six days. This was seen by us all as the highlight of the whole expedition. The little children were delightful and we made many friends. Our task was to paint the main dormitory building and clear an overgrown football pitch. We finished the week by having a party with the children.

We set off to the great beaches of Sihanoukville, but the weather conspired against us as it rained all day and night. Then it was back to the capital to see the tragic recent history of the civil war in Cambodia and the terror and genocide that the Khmer Rouge inflicted. It was difficult to comprehend the atrocities that were carried out in the Killing Fields and S21 prison that we visited. Cambodia has thankfully moved on a long way from that, just as Vietnam has done from its recent history.

We all miss our adventure greatly and I, for one, am determined to return one day soon.”

For more information about the school’s Adventures and Expeditions please login to the Parent Portal and select the Year Group link.