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Hanoi to Ha Long

Hanoi to Ha Long

Explore the quaint and history packed streets of Old Hanoi, sampling the freshest and most delicate flavors of Vietnamese cuisine on every corner. Trek through Ngoc Son-Ngo Luong Nature Reserve and live in a Muong Village where you’ll contribute to an ongoing service initiative. Cruise through Trang An grottoes in Ninh Binh and learn about the rich history of Vietnam’s ancient capital city. Overnight aboard a private junk boat in Ha Long Bay, stopping to explore caves, karsts, and islands as you go.

Departure Dates

No-Stress Travel Guarantee!

With our No-Stress Travel Guarantee, you may cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.
Program Profile

No-Stress Travel Guarantee!

With our No-Stress Travel Guarantee, you may cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.
Program Profile

Here is a detailed packing list for your time in Southeast Asia this summer. Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Remember that you will be responsible for carrying your belongings everywhere you go, so PACK LIGHT! If your bag weighs more than 35 pounds, you have overpacked! 

 

Weather in Southeast Asia

The summertime is known as the “rainy season” or the “green season” in Southeast Asia—days are generally hot and humid, with brief and refreshing showers that keep the land very lush and green. Temperatures sometimes cool off once the sun goes down, making for more pleasant evenings. Because of the heat, you will need to drink a lot more water than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated! The clothing that you bring should be able to get wet, dirty, and/or destroyed during service work and program activities.

 

Important Notes About Your Luggage

Airlines in Southeast Asia have weight restrictions for checked and carry-on luggage. Please limit your checked luggage to no more than 33lbs (15kg) and your carry-on luggage to 15lbs (7kg). For your one checked bag, a backpacking backpack is perfect, or a duffel bag that is easy to carry. Make sure everything you pack in your carry-on complies with the carry on regulations of the TSA. Lastly, remember to leave your valuables or prized possessions at home. It’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling.

 

Our Dress Code Expectations in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian cultures are very conservative. Despite the hot climate, people in these parts of the world show less skin than in many Western cultures, and you’ll rarely see low-cut shirts or short shorts in rural communities. As we seek to respect and preserve the culture of the communities we work with, we ask that our students dress conservatively while in country. If you are not wearing proper attire, we will ask you to change your clothes or abstain from the service project of the day.

To dress respectfully in Southeast Asia, please bring loose-fitting pants or shorts that cover just above the knees (think basketball length). Bring basic t-shirts that cover your shoulders, and please leave all tank tops, cut off shirts, low-cut, see-through, or crop tops at home. As mentioned in our packing lists, yoga pants and leggings are not appropriate because they are too form-fitting. The key is to show less skin and to stay cool by wearing loose-fitted clothing. Check out these tips about how to pack for culturally-immersive travel and why Rustic cares about preserving a conservative dress code on our programs.

 

Temple Visits

Personal hygiene is important in Southeast Asia, so when visiting temples we want to clean up more than while doing service. Wearing modest, clean clothes that cover the knees and shoulders is a must, as per usual. Being respectful is the name of the game!

 

Laundry

Access to laundry can vary, but most programs find access once a week, though not guaranteed. If you’re getting laundry done in a village or rural town, expect to pay $1-2 per kg. If at a hotel, it can be anywhere to $20 per load.

Carry-On

A small backpack is the best carry-on bag and will be useful on your program day-trips.

A small backpack is the best carry-on bag and will be useful on your program day-trips.

  • Passport – you cannot get on the plane without this!
  • Airline tickets – you cannot get on the plane without these either!
  • Wallet – with about $100 emergency money
  • A travel wallet that can be hidden under clothing is a good idea.
  • Photocopy of your Passport – one additional copy should be kept in your checked luggage
  • Vietnam visa inside your Passport
  • Medications – Must alert staff, but keep these in your carry-on in case of lost luggage!
  • Journal and pens
  • Refillable, durable – but empty – water bottle. Fill up at the gate and stay hydrated on the plane!
  • Cameras – Don’t forget to bring your chargers, batteries and memory cards!
Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter backpack is ideal. Duffle bags and rolling suitcases are not recommended for this program. 

Clothing

  • 3-4 pairs of lightweight pants, jeans (too hot to wear often) or capris. Leggings are not culturally appropriate as they are too form-fitting.
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts, which must go to the knees or longer.
  • 8-10 pairs of underwear – Quick-dry material is best.
  • 4-6 pairs of socks – lightweight cotton or quick dry athletic socks are best.
  • 5-7 tops (t-shirts and sports shirts) – they can be cotton, or quick dry shirts like capilene or polypropylene. Tank tops are generally not acceptable unless for time at the pool/beach. Keep in mind you will find cool T-shirts and clothes at markets you will be visiting throughout the summer, which can supplement the tops you bring over.
  • 1-2 light, long sleeve t-shirt – breathable is best for the sun and certain areas of the region can get buggy or chilly (if you’re lucky!) at night
  • 1 lightweight hoodie – most likely needed on flights, in movie theaters, and in airports. Most people will be fine without one.
  • 2 swimsuits – two piece suits are fine but need to be very modest. You might notice that most people in the region swim in shirts and shorts.
  • 1 Sarong/shawl/lightweight towel (not white!) – Many accommodations will have towels for you to use, but it is handy to have something of your own for sitting poolside or visiting a waterfall.
  • A nice casual outfit – for special end of program dinners.

Important Items

  • Flashlight or headlamp – rechargeable batteries are preferable
  • Ultra-lightweight rainproof jacket – fear not if you don’t have one, ponchos are widely available and do a better job!
  • Hat – for the sun
  • Comfortable flip-flops or crocs – Footwear that is easy to clean and easy to take on and off. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll be taking on and off your shoes. Cheap flip-flops and crocs are widely available in Asia for a fraction of the cost.
  • Closed-toed athletic shoes – shoes that dry quickly, that you can hike short distances in and that protect your feet are best. Shoes will get muddy and dirty, so don’t bring your favorite pair.
  • A color photocopy of your Passport.

Toiletries:

Most general toiletries are available throughout the region at a fraction of the cost. We suggest packing all items that could leak in a plastic or ziploc bag.

  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and soap – you may want to bring biodegradable or natural soap and shampoo, but they are not required
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent – we suggest a natural option or something with DEET
  • Hydrocortisone/anti-itch cream or after bite
  • Hand sanitizer – 1 small bottle. We don’t want you getting sick this summer!
  • Contact lenses and solution – widely available and inexpensive in SE Asia
  • Sunscreen + Aloe Vera – good quality sunscreen is not readily available in SE Asia and is expensive!
  • Feminine hygiene supplies – tampons are not widely available in SE Asia. Past staff have suggested trying a diva cup. We recommend you bring what you think you will need for the duration of the program.

Additional and Optional Items:

  • Phrasebook, guidebook
  • Deck of cards, portable games
  • Digital camera – Waterproof style shock resistant cameras are great for our programs. Again, do not depend on your phone-we encourage our students to disconnect from their phones while on program.
Rustic Gear

Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.

Important Reminders

Please cover your shoulders and knees while in Southeast Asia. 

  • Dressing respectfully is very important. Southeast Asian culture is conservative, with ancient customs based mostly on Buddhism. Regardless of gender, Rustic students should be wearing Bermuda or basketball length shorts or pants. Please leave your short-shorts at home, as well as leggings, which are too form-fitting. T-shirts should cover the chest and shoulders, nothing low cut, and no undergarments should ever be showing.