Trip Details

Spend your first week in Uganda learning about the customs and culture of this exceptional country. During our introduction week, you will learn about Ugandan culture, as well as immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, flavours and language of the country.

By the end of this eye-opening week, you will know your way around the local area, have met some of your fellow participants, learnt to cook some local Ugandan food and have a much better understanding of the daily life of Ugandan people. This is a week-long immersion program designed to make you feel as at home as possible in your new country.

We will take you on fun sightseeing tours to Victoria lake and the local city monuments, and you will have the chance to make your own Ugandan sandals in a handicrafts workshop. There will be many opportunities to socialise, taste the local cuisine and meet the local people. You will come out of the program with a better understanding of the local culture as well as many new friends!

Whether preparing to join another program in Uganda, or just wanting to understand the culture better, this program is the perfect introduction to a vibrant and exciting African country.

Aims & Objectives

  • Help you get familiarized with your new surroundings
  • Teach you helpful Luganda and Swahili phrases
  • Broaden your knowledge of the local customs, history, and culture of Uganda
  • Provide you with a full induction, preparing you for a longer stay

Trip Itinerary

The Culture Week will kick off with an introduction to Laos customs, do’s and dont’s and Laotian language classes. Further in the week, you can try your hand at local agriculture practices, meditation classes with a local monk, Laotian cooking classes, hikes through caves, mountains, lush nature and more! We’ll also enjoy a delicious and authentic riverside dinner overlooking the Thailand across the Mekong!

And of course, we couldn’t miss the chance to show you the ins and outs of the capital city, one which is quite different to other cities in Southeast Asia. We will visit the ever-amazing Golden Pagoda, find our way through the maze that is Laotian markets, learn about the country’s turmoiled past, how it still affects Laotian life to date at the COPE Centre as well as experiencing the country’s fight for Independence at Victory Monument.

Introduction meeting
Laotian language classes and introduction to local customs
Vegetable planting

Visit the local village
Make flower offerings for the local temple
Laotian cooking classes
Barbecue at the accommodation

Depart for Vientiane
Visit Cope Center and UXO exhibition
Visit the morning market
Visit Victory Monument
Visit Patuxai, Golden Pagoda, Wat Sisaket Buddhist temples
Dinner at the riverside
NIght market and free time
Back to Naxaythong
Movie night at the accommodation

Hike and picnic overlooking the city of Vientiane
Meditation lessons
Karaoke night at a local restaurant

Visit your future placement to get acquainted with the next week’s program
Free time

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

Ban Houakhoua Village is located in the Naxaythong District, located about 25 kilometers from Vientiane, the country’s capital. This location allows for the best of both worlds, its rural nature will give you a taste of Laos while still being close enough to the city!

Accommodation & Food

The accommodation is tucked away in the countryside of Laos, allowing you to get a true taste of Laotian sceneries. It has a sports area where you can play football or volleyball with other volunteers.

It is surrounded by rice fields and lakes, which you can take advantage of through activities such as swimming and boating.

We offer standard rooms which are on a single gender basis 4-6 people per room. You also have an option to request a private room, subject to availability.

Food Arrangements
We offer a variety of Western and delicious Laotian dishes accompanied with a lot of fruit. Dishes can include, vegetables, rice and noodles.

You can find simple groceries and beverages sold in two local restaurants located next to the accommodation. There are also shops and a local market located 3 minutes and 10 minutes away respectively, by foot. There is also a pharmacy and local clinic located less than 5 kilometres away.

There is a lake-side makeshift restaurant just for us, where you can enjoy the evenings and order Western or Laotian food at reasonable prices.

Vientiane is located about 25 kilometres away and it is very easy to reach via public transport from our centre and back. Anything that you might need can be found there, with its numerous shopping malls, a cinema and local markets to explore! There are also bikes available for you to use to explore the area during the afternoons.

The closest ATM machine can be found on the main road to Vientiane, approximately 5 kilometres from the accommodation. We advise all participants to bring some local currency with them for personal expenses, although you don’t need a lot of money when you stay with us, participants can exchange money or use the ATM at the airport when they arrive.

Activities & Events
These optional activities can be enjoyed by all participants of all programs staying at this location:

Tuesday, Evenings
There is a BBQ night every Tuesday, which provides a perfect opportunity to relax and spend time with other participants on our lakeside restaurant!

Wednesday, Evenings
Cozy movie night at the accommodation

Thursday, Evenings
We will head to a local restaurant (or if preferred stay in our location) to enjoy one of Southeast Asia’s favourite activities – Karaoke! (or “sing a song”, as the locals like to call it)

Sights & Surroundings
Vientiane City
A laid-back, French-influenced city situated on the banks of the Mekong River and is located only 25 minutes away from our centre. This ancient city, is different from any other capital city in Southeast Asia. With its authentic Laotian and French colonial style, it truly is ‘a pearl at the Mekong”.

Vang Vieng
A favourite go-to place for our participants during their weekends! The city is a major backpacker hub, made famous thanks to its nightlife and outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and kayaking.

Luang Prabang
Although a bit further afield it is still worth the journey for sure. It is one of the most beautiful towns in Southeast Asia thanks to its alluring mountainous landscapes and riverside location!

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Sayaboury

Trip Country Info


Capital: Vientiane
Language: Lao
Currency: Kip (LAK)
Time zone: ICT +7:00

Once known as the ‘land of a million elephants’, Laos is the only landlocked country in Asia, bordered by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. It became a French protectorate in 1893 and finally became an independent country in 1953 with a constitutional monarchy. This monarchy however was shortly ended by a long civil war. Today Laos is a single-party socialist republic whilst remaining strongly influenced by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Vietnam People’s Army. The Laotian people make up roughly 60% of the population whilst indigenous groups and hill tribes account for 40% of the Laotian population.

It is a country that has a lot to offer whether it’s the underground river caves, the white-water rapids and jungle zip lines for thrill seekers, the beautiful forests for trekkers and nature lovers or the wonderful cuisine for the foodies!

Gap year travel in Laos is enjoyed in a country of stunning natural beauty and strong spiritual traditions which remain relatively unexplored. With a population of over 6 million people, it is one of the least populated countries in the world. Much of the country is dominated by forested mountains, lush green valleys and broad snaking rivers, including the famous Mekong, the 12th longest in the world.  This natural beauty is why many people choose volunteer and travel to Laos.

The Lao wilderness is drawing travellers looking for nature, adventure or both. Kayaking, rafting, rock-climbing and biking are all available, but it’s trekking that is most popular because it combines spectacular natural attractions with the chance to experience the ‘real Laos’ with a village homestay.  We have a choice of opportunities for your gap year travel in Laos such as medical work, conservation work, voluntary projects and much more.  If you are thinking about a volunteer experience in Laos have a look at our latest programs below or contact us for more information about exciting experiences in this fantastic country.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa