Explore A More Authentic
Central Vietnam!


Rural community development in Vietnam

Key Features

  • Spend two weeks in central Vietnam and discover varying coastal landscapes and be a part of initiatives to preserve cultural heritage

  • At the invitation of local communities, explore the newly established UNESCO Ly Son - Sa Huynh Geopark in Quang Ngai Province

  • Stay with families at different stops along the way and learn about deep-seated cultural values through taking part in daily life

  • Learn about Vietnamese culture, history, and religion through the eyes of the communities we visit

  • Contribute to the local economy and build partnerships to support community-based eco-tourism initiatives grounded in the principles of social justice

Program Information

March 14 - 30, 2020

$ 2,999 per person


  • Lodging for 16 nights in a variety of hotels, guesthouses & homestays

  • Ground & sea transportation

  • All programed activities, including admissions (temples, parks, etc.) and local guides

  • Programed meals (38 B,L,D)

  • Trip to islands off the coast of central Vietnam and other excursions


  • Airfare

  • Visa

  • Immunizations/personal medical expenses

  • Travel insurance

  • Independent travel


  • Travel Days are March 14th & 30th. We will arrange transportation and accommodation upon your arrival in Da Nang, as well as transportation to the airport on the 30th

  • The price quoted is for double occupancy - those wishing to stay in their own room will be charged an additional $150 for the trip

  • A Prorated rate is available on a case-by-case basis for those that can only participate in part of the trip

  • We need a minimum of 8 partcipants to run the trip

Study abroad on Cham Island in Central Vietnam


This trip is for people who like to be active while they are traveling. There will be a moderate amount of walking. We also will use different types of local transportation, which may include trains and boats.

Da Nang

Da Nang is the most livable city in Vietnam and will be our jumping-off point to explore different areas of the central region. When we pass through the city, you will have time to explore the sandy beaches and the bustling urban center.


We will start our trip in the historic city of Hue, which was the national capital from 1802 to 1945. This will include visits to key UNESCO World Heritage Sites to begin to understand the history of Vietnam and the role of the Nguyen Dynasty. Our time in Hue will also allow time for us to enjoy the beautiful scenery and sample the famous foods only found locally.

Cham Island

Cham Island is a series of eight islands that make up the Cham Island Marine Protected Area - a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During our stay on the island, we will enjoy the beaches, learn about the island's unique approach to community-based environmental management, visit local artisans, and tour the reef and island sites by boat.

Ly Son - Sa Huynh UNESCO geopark

We will visit different sites in the Quang Ngai Province to showcase the newly certified Geopark. Most notably, this will include the Ly Son Islands and Go Co Village in the south of the Province. Together, we will hear directly from locals that made this project a reality, enjoy the unique landscape, and try some of the delicious foods only available during harvest.

Hoi An

To end our trip, we will visit the historic town of Hoi An. The well-protected city center was a trading hub in Southeast Asia in the 15th to 19th centuries, and today is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will have the opportunity to explore Old Town and handicraft villages in the surrounding area, sample the famous Hoi An cuisine, and relax at the end of our trip.


Our lodging reflects the areas we stay. We will support community-based tourism activities whenever possible, which includes locally owned guesthouses and homestays.

Community Partners

We developed our program in Vietnam with a multitude of local partners. This trip highlights three of our closest partnerships, and will allow us to visit communities that are not accessible to most tourists.

Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area

One of our lead partners in our education and community-driven development programs in Vietnam has been the Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area. It is a government agency that oversees local tourism efforts and the conservation of the Biosphere Reserve. Dr. Chu Manh Trinh, a researcher at the MPA, plays a fundamental leadership role in strengthening all of our programs. He started working on the island in the 1990s and introduced models for community-based environmental management and sustainable livelihoods development. His passion for local communities and asset-based community development (ABCD) led to the partnerships we established in the Quang Ngai Province.


At the request of Doan Anh Duong, a private company focusing on heritage conservation and tourism, we held a variety of workshops on asset-based community development (ABCD) over the last three years. The goal was to introduce strategies to build trust and work directly with local communities to better understand the wide variety of resources in the province. Ultimately, we hoped that community members would lead the development agenda going forward and that the private sector and government would work together for the conservation of the region.

These efforts led to the establishment of the Ly Son Marine Protected Area and the newly formed UNESCO Geopark. On the small island in Ly Son, participants used the ABCD framework to begin to map sites of geological importance and understand what was of value to the local community. We will experience these unique sites, and stay in homestays that have since been established on the island. The small island has since banned resort development, to preserve local heritage and support the livelihoods of residents. Our work in Ly Son naturally expanded to other parts of the province, including Go Co Village in Sa Huynh District.

Go Co Community School & Co-Op

Go Co Village, a part of the UNESCO Geopark, is our newest partner and quickly gaining notoriety locally for their hospitality, innovative co-op model, and their beautiful village on the central coast. Local leaders have taken community-based environmental management to the next level in the formation of their newly established co-op. Members of the co-op work together to manage agricultural resources, fisheries, community-based tourism activities, etc. This benefit-sharing approach allows for sustainable livelihoods and thoughtful conservation practices. Their goal is to preserve local knowledge and make it possible for their kids to move home one day if they wish. Many have had to find work outside the village, often moving to urban areas to support their families.

We will be the first tour group to stay with local families in the village. They are excited to teach us about a new model for cooperative community development and showcase the newly established Go Co Community School, which aims to connect tourists and students with local knowledge.

Partnerships are essential for community development in central Vietnam

Trip Leaders

Ashley Hollenbeck   Executive Director, Institute for Village Studies Affiliated Faculty, Western Washington University

Ashley Hollenbeck
Executive Director, Institute for Village Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Western Washington University

Chu Manh Trinh   Researcher, Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Chu Manh Trinh
Researcher, Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Diem Kieu   Nguyen   Project Manager, Go Co Co-Op & Community School Advisor, UNESCO Ly Son - Sa Huynh Geopark

Diem Kieu Nguyen
Project Manager, Go Co Co-Op & Community School
Advisor, UNESCO Ly Son - Sa Huynh Geopark


Ready to join us?