Volunteer trip to Bac Son, Lang Son, Vietnam

After finishing semester 1’s final exams and submitting successfully two universities’ online applications, I and my two friends decided to take a volunteer trip to a mountainous area so we could sightsee and contribute to our society at the same time.

Volunteer for Education (VEO) is an organization providing many volunteer programs to mountainous areas in Vietnam such as Ha Giang, Phu Tho, and Dien Bien. This is the first time we participated in this activity so we chose Lang Son – a province that is not far away from Hanoi and is home to some ethnic minorities like Hmong.

Our tour group stayed in a local family’s stilt house. It is very clean, comfortable, and warm. There is only one room on the second floor which is divided into three parts: two parts for sleeping, the remained part in the middle is for gathering and chatting. One special thing in the Lang Son people’s stilt house is that men’s sleeping place is higher than women’s sleeping place due to their gender prejudice.

Local food is amazing. I really enjoy it! There are many new dishes I tried in this trip such as black banh chung (like banh chung in Hanoi but the color is black and the shape is cylinder), bamboo cooked rice, Lang Son’s black jelly, and banh cuon canh (I can’t find an exact English word for this dish so I put Vietnamese name here and insert a photo below).

On the first day’s afternoon, my friends and I went to the Quynh Son commune’s cultural house to teach English to about 20 children from 9 to 13 years old. They are very innocent, active, and industrious that made my teaching experience become truly memorable (although that is the first time I taught a class and I made quite many mistakes T.T).

Going to Bac Son, I could get out of the hustle and bustle city to find my own tranquility and connect to nature. The fresh air, horses, large fields, and straw reminded me about my dear homeland with my grandparents.

The next day, we went trekking to the tangerine garden. The trail was narrow and quite steep and the weather was hot so we went tiredly. However, nature was magnificent.

My friends and I in the tangerine garden

In the afternoon, we went kayaking at Nong Dung lake. Turquoise color water, calm lake surface, and breeze blow made us shout out loud due to its romantic scenery. We rowed to the middle of the lake and let the boat float by itself. I went kayaking with my best friend Duong . We had a very nice time together and this is really a valuable experience for me.

We came back to Hanoi at 6 pm, finished the memorable trip. To me, this trip is perfect. I learned many new things, tried many delicious foods and met many interesting and talented people. Through this experience, I saw a very beautiful Vietnam and love my country more. Thanks VEO, thanks my teammate for going with me.

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