Vietnam Educational Travel - History Tour

Learning Programs with Lifelong Impacts: DET in Vietnam

August 4, 2022

In our latest installment of ‘Learning Programs with Life-long Impacts: DET in…’ we introduce a carefully tailored historical learning itinerary in Vietnam. Most recently we spoke about our community impact program in Cambodia, and an environmental awareness and sustainability tour in Indonesia. Our 10-day history tour in Vietnam takes visiting educational groups from Hanoi all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City.

And it’s not just any history tour. Our Discova Education Travel (DET) team has specially designed this educational program to provide more depth than the standard history excursions here. Student groups delve into the infamous Vietnam War and its consequences. They receive privileged insight into the country’s complex past with exclusive talks with war veterans and access to places that few, if any, casual tourists get to see.

What does the program entail? 

The 9 days/8 nights program begins in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Here student groups spend the first day of insight listening to a historian’s expert knowledge about Vietnam’s past, and explore the popular B-52 Victory Museum, Air Force Museum, and the famous Hao Lo Prison. The next day they head northwest to Dien Bien Phu, where they are introduced to underground hideouts and tunnels designed during the First Indochina War.

Cemetery site at Dien Bien Phu
The A1 National Martyrs Cemetery, the resting place of 644 soldiers who fought and died in the historic Dien Bien Phu Campaign in 1954


After their northern Vietnam history exploration, educational groups head to Hue to discover the rich past of the Imperial City and the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). The DMZ was a site of intense fighting during the Vietnam War, and students learn how the DMZ still impacts local people today.


Cu Chi Tunnels activity
Visiting groups can experience navigating the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh first-hand


Finally, students will continue on to Ho Chi Minh City, where they will discover classic historical sites, but also visit the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels and get privileged insight into the Vietnam War from a veteran. In the countryside that was once a stronghold of the North Vietnamese army, the veteran tells of his experiences and life after the war.


Who is this historical program designed for? 

This whirlwind tour is perfect for high school students, and the historical expert talks that take place along the journey can be extended and designed to be more in-depth for university students with specific curriculum needs. When students visit Dien Bien Phu, for example, a specialist on a specific discipline or topic can go along with the group instead of a tour guide, delving into more detail about the city’s past. The overall itinerary is designed to be flexible so that it can be tailored and personalised according to different educational wants and needs.


Imperial Citadel in Hanoi
The Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long in Hanoi was built in the 11th century and is a vast royal complex worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status


What’s more, for each region the student groups visit, a different tour guide leads them. We’ve planned the program specifically this way so that students receive personal insight and experience from those who were born and raised in the respective regions.


What makes this history tour different?   

Vietnam has an intriguing recent history, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of historical tours and excursions on offer here. What makes our educational travel itinerary here different? Insider access to sites and stories most will never get to experience.

For one, most tour groups don’t venture further north than Hanoi. During Discova’s educational program here, students explore the much-less visited tunnels and hideouts of Dien Bien Phu.


Tunnels and underground hideouts of Dien Bien Phu
An entrance to Dien Bien Phu's underground tunnels and hideouts


In Hue, after the DMZ tour, students visit the RENEW organisation. RENEW was founded in August 2001 by the government of Quang Tri Province and international NGOs in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by leftover Vietnam War cluster bombs and other munitions in the province. Students are invited to see the display room containing old munitions and are educated on the efforts of the organisation and its impact. 

This is not a tourist activity and is an exclusive Discova product, so for students to get access to this experience is particularly special.


Vinh Moc Tunnels Central Vietnam
An entrance to the Vinh Moc Tunnels near the infamous DMZ


Finally, in Ho Chi Minh City, students will meet a Vietnamese war veteran who will guide them through the Cu Chi Tunnels that lie beneath the city. The veteran recalls his own experiences here and life both during and after the Vietnam War.


What have past educational groups learned from the program?   

After studying the Vietnam War in textbooks, foreign students are often left with a certain impression and expectation of Vietnam. Hanh Nguyen, our Sales Team Leader for DET, notes that visiting educational groups are then often surprised by the contrasting nature of modernity and historical influences in the country.


Tan Dinh Church in Ho Chi Minh City
The distinctive pink Tan Dinh Church is an unusual sight in Ho Chi Minh City

Hanh says that the program leaves students with a clearer understanding of the impact of politics on people, and what can be done better in the future. When educational groups have seen the devastating effect of war, they are often left with greater empathy and a desire to extend that compassion across cultures.


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