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JOURNEY DATES: September 23 – October 03, 2018


This journey, rich in culture and history, takes you from the archeological wonders of Angkor Wat, to the bustling streets of Hanoi, then onto the picturesque terraced terrain of Sapa — the fertile, northernmost region of Vietnam. While this region of SE Asia offer staggering beauty in so many forms, it ranks among the poorest in the world. The intergenerational post traumatic effects of the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam War are still tangible today and have resulted in extreme poverty and a lack of education. Effects of this destruction are seen in a widespread weakening of the family and community networks and a vulnerability to human trafficking, now one of the faster growing industries.

Couple your historical and cultural exploration of these magnificent yet complex countries with a deep dive into the issues surrounding poverty, gender-discrimination and human trafficking. Meet with GoPhil Foundation’s carefully vetted group of courageous change-makers, local non-profits working hard to rebuild a stronger families, communities and futures through community-driven education and empowerment programs.


  • Visit the funky French colonial town of Siem Reap, Cambodia and the famous Temples of Angkor Wat
  • Meet with three inspiring community programs working to prevent human trafficking, empow- er women and families, strengthen family units and improve the job ready skills of young people in order to help them secure bright futures and be less vulnerable to trafficking
  • Learn about the challenges that face vulnerable people, the root causes that make them prone to exploitation, and the work that is being done to support and protect people against trafficking
  • Explore the highlights of the ancient city of Hanoi
  • Travel by luxury overnight train to Sapa—renowned for its ethnic minority hill tribes
  • Learn how social enterprises contribute to the prevention of human trafficking
  • Enjoy comfortable, beautiful and authentic 4-star accommodations throughout the journey
  • OPTIONAL privately guided extensions to Luang Prabang (Laos), Halong Bay (VN) and/or Hoi An (VN) available upon request

Download Itinerary

September 23, 2018 (Sunday) • Arrival in Siem Reap, Cambodia

You will be greeted at the airport in Siem Reap and transferred to your hotel.  Enjoy the remainder of the day and evening recuperating from your long journey.

Siem Reap is a cluster of villages with a French colonial centre, and the gateway to the Temples of Angkor. These majestic temples in northwest Cambodia belong to the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. They were created by a succession of Khmer Kings who presided over an empire that dominated the region from the years 800 to 1430, reaching its peak in the 12th century. From the 15th century the temples were abandoned and forgotten by the world until their rediscovery in 1861 by French naturalist Henri Mouhot. The villages originally grew around individual pagodas, eventually coalescing into the town. Nowadays, Siem Reap offers a wide range of hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops. It also offers the opportunity to see traditional Cambodia, with dance performances, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside and boat trips on the huge nearby Tonlé Sap lake to small fishing villages.

Shinta Mani Resort is a beautifully renovated boutique property centrally located in the leafy French Quarter. Shinta Mani Resort with its “Open Doors, Open Hearts” reflects a commitment to responsible tourism.

September 24, 2018 (Monday) • Angkor Wat Temples

After breakfast, we will have a short meeting to get acquainted and to review various aspects of our journey together.  We will share some of GoPhilanthropic’s lessons learned over the years such as the value of entering into visits with an openness to “listen and learn” instead of “serve and solve” and ways to ensure we are respectful to culture and tradition while visiting.

Our local guide will discuss some of Cambodia’s more recent history and its implications on current daily life in Cambodia. They will also provide some guidance on cultural etiquette as we head out to explore this magnificent country. We will stop by the local market in downtown Siem Reap to get the lay of the land then begin to discover the stunning temples of Angkor Thom by tuk-tuk.

We will stop by Peace Cafe for a local lunch.  Then enjoy free time to explore the town or relax and have a relaxing spa treatment. In the evening, you have the option of attending the Phare Circus. More than just a circus, Phare performers use theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories, historical, folk and modern. All the performers you will see come from disadvantaged  backgrounds and are supported by Phare Ponleu Selpak to embrace their artistic talents and become the amazing artists you will see in the show. Some of the performers have even gone on to work with the internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soliel! A night not to be missed.

September 25, 2018 (Tuesday) • ‘Day in Life’ of Cambodia, Visit to HUSK

Meet with Ayana Journeys to learn about the delicate balance between the rapidly expanding tourism industry, the “giving industry” and the health of Cambodian communities.

In the afternoon you will experience authentic Cambodian life as you visit a farming village located around 16km from Siem Reap.  Learn about the local people, their customs and culture.  Following your Day in the Life experience, spend time visiting HUSK, whose program goals are to help improve the lives of Cambodian families.

Spend the remainder of the day exploring the local markets and strolling the tree-lined streets surrounding the resort.

September 26, 2018 (Wednesday) • Sunrise Temples, Free to Shine

Rise before the sun in order to catch the temples as the first rays cast light on their splendor. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

Today we will visit Free to Shine – an NGO seeks to tackle sex trafficking by empowering young women through education and helping to keep them in safe family-based environments. They support girls with scholarships, monitoring school attendance, family visits,  community education on trafficking and its root causes, and seek to work with families and support them to ensure children are brought up in family care as a first option. Free to Shine look forward to welcoming you to share their knowledge around these issues and have some activities for you to take part in to deeper your understanding of the situations these families find themselves in and the choices they must make.

In the afternoon enjoy some free time to wander or enjoy a visit to Artisans d’Angkor, where you can see a fabulous collection of local art as well as artists creating their crafts. Artisan’s d’Angkor is a Cambodian social business creating job opportunities for young people in rural areas, while reviving traditional Khmer craftsmanship, like stone and wood carvings, painting on statues and silks, lacquering and silver plating. Another site to consider visiting is the well regarded Cambodian Landmine Museum.

Free evening to take in the ambience of Siem Reap’s night life and explore the night markets.

September 27, 2018 (Thursday) • Flight to Hanoi, Vietnam

The capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade. There are many sights to see from museums to little temples, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse, plus Đồng Xuân Market, selling household goods and street food.

Set by the fabled Hoan Kiem Lake, Apricot Hotel is bound to transport you back and forth between Hanoi’s glamorous past and its modernity. Inspired by classic French architecture mixed with Vietnamese art, Apricot makes for your exquisite home away from home in the capital city of Vietnam.

September 28, 2018 (Friday) • Visit Blue Dragon Foundation

After breakfast we will head to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, one of the most well known organizations in Vietnam, with a great reputation for their work with street children and rescuing victims of trafficking. You will see first hand the work of the drop in center for youngsters who live on the street and meet with Founder Michael Brosowski and team as you hear about the issues pertinent to trafficking and how Blue Dragon are tackling these through safe spaces, education, rescue and rehabilitation, on a daily basis.

We will eat lunch with staff and children of the drop in center at Blue Dragon before an afternoon of guided sight seeing around Hanoi.

Afternoon walking tour for sightseeing in Hanoi. Enjoy a water puppet show, a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today’s Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (Blue Dragon)
  • Accommodation: Apricot Hotel

September 29, 2018 (Saturday) • Optional Touring at Leisure

Today can be spent enjoying Hanoi at your leisure before taking the night train to Sapa. (As it is difficult to take large cases on the train provision will be made to store larger luggage at Apricot Hotel until your return to Hanoi.)

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Overnight train (Deluxe Cabin)

September 30, 2018 (Sunday) • SAPA Introduction to Ethos Spirit

Sapa District is 380 km northwest of Hanoi and close to the border with China. Sapa is a quiet mountain town and home to a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples. There are mainly five ethnic groups in Sapa: Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay, and a small number of Xa Pho. Most of the ethnic minority people work their land on sloping terraces since the vast majority of the land is mountainous. The scenery of the Sapa region in large part reflects the relationship between the minority people and nature. This is seen especially in the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoàng Liên Mountains. These rice paddies are a spectacular sight at any time of year as they turn from raw winter browns to lush summer greens.

Aside from the beauty of Sapa, this area is integral to our visit and understanding the trafficking issues in Northern Vietnam. Young women from rural ethnic minorities, such as the Hmong community, are the main targets for traffickers. In addition, Sapa is so close to China, where the demand for brides and sex workers is extremely high. It is estimated that one girl from this region is trafficked every five days. Here we will get a deeper understanding into the root causes of trafficking in the region, the effect it has on families and trafficking victims and what the community in Sapa are doing to fight this.

You will arrive in the early morning and transfer to the hotel.  Rest and refresh from the train journey — enjoy a late morning spa. Lunch at your leisure.

This afternoon/evening you will meet Ethos Spirit, an ethical social enterprise working with local guides from the ethnic minority Hmong tribe. Phil, Hoa and their team will share some interesting insights into the lay of the land in Sapa, its history, the current state of affairs and what this means in real terms for the tribes in this area. You will learn about the migration and settling of the Hmong people, persecution and rights of local ethnic minorities and the risks and prevalence of trafficking in the region. This will be a great opportunity to ask questions of knowledgable people living locally. Today you will also be briefed on your next two days activities.

Nested amongst the slopes of North Vietnam’s mountainous region is Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa, built in the style of a traditional chalet in perfect harmony with the natural scenery. This stone & wood construction blends seamlessly with surrounding environment, overlooking Indochina’s highest peak, Mount Fanxipan

October 01, 2018 (Monday) • SAPA Full Day Trekking (with option for homestay)

You will enjoy trekking through the rice paddies and steppes of Sapa, meeting local people, seeing local crafts, cooking and eating together in the homes of the Hmong people and also have the opportunity to experience a homestay should you wish.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Victoria (or option for homestay with Hmong guides)

October 02, 2018 (Tuesday) • Visit with Pacific Links

You will have the opportunity to freshen up ahead of your transfer to Lo Cai. In Lo Cai we will meet with renowned NGO Pacific Links who work with Vietnamese women to protect them from trafficking and assist with rehabilitation for those who have been trafficked. They tackled trafficking through ensuring young women have opportunities via scholarships, vocational training, job placement, summer camps, after school clubs, counter trafficking and safe migration awareness (for employees and employers). They also have reintegration shelters and support and training packages for returnees. In addition, they work with international businesses to address supply chain issues train them and help them ensure their workers are protected from trafficking and know their rights.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Victoria

October 03, 2018 (Wednesday) • Return to Hanoi

(1) Return to Hanoi for your onward journey back home OR (2) Stay on for optional trekking extensions or to Luang Prabang, Ha Long Bay or Hoi An, (VN).

  • Meals: Breakfast


$3995.00 per person (double occupancy) 

$750.00 single supplement 


Optional extensions available to GoPhil’s NGO partners in Luang Prabang, Laos and/or Hoi An are available. Pricing available upon request.


  • Accommodation with breakfast
  • All private transfers and transportation including internal flights
  • Entrance fees where noted
  • English speaking guides
  • Meals as indicated


  • Flights to and from destination and departing countries
  • All airport taxes
  • Other meals and drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Other services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips/Gratuities


“Listen and Learn” instead of “Serve and Solve”

We will share some of GoPhilanthropic’s lessons learned over the years, such as the value of entering into visits with an openness to “listen and learn” instead of “serve and solve,” and ways to ensure we are respectful to culture and tradition while visiting. Learn how GoPhilanthropic Foundation selects the programs that they support. We will discuss both the opportunities and ethics of the use of photography in our journeys and explore ways to best capture and celebrate their dignity.

Recent History and Modern Day Challenges – a Local Perspective

Our local guides will provide insight into the historical and political influences that impact day to day life in SouthEast Asia. During our stay in each country we will enjoy discussion topics with them ranging from religion, war history, and societal challenges. Our guides will also provide valuable information regarding cultural norms and etiquette.

Vietnam Topics

  • The effects of the American War and rebuilding
  • Current issues impacting education, economics, and vulnerable populations

Cambodia Topics

  • History, meaning, and reconstruction of the temples of Angkor Wat
  • Pol Pot, the effects of the Khmer Rouge regime, and current day politics

Laos Topics

  • Buddhist religion
  • Monastic life, including the dawn alms processions

The Inspiration to Make a Difference

When visiting with grassroots programs in each of the countries, we meet with the founders or integral staff members who are inspired to make a difference in the lives of those they are supporting. These discussions will give us the chance to better understand the needs in the communities and how these founders have chosen to drive positive change for the future. This is a valuable opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts with respect to effective community development. Our Journey: Reflections At the end of the journey, you may wish to share your thoughts and reflections on what you experienced — the most difficult or inspirational moments, and the visits that made the most significant impressions during the journey. You may also wish to explore possible ways to engage further with the people and organizations you have visited.

Ready to join the GoPhil Journey to Southeast Asia?

Join us from September 23 – October 03, 2018, for an in-depth look at the link between poverty and human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Click here to register today!