Trip Details

If you’re looking for rewarding voluntary work during your time abroad, this could be the perfect project for you! Due to a lack of easily accessible, good quality education, good job opportunities are hard to come by for the locals at Ho Chi Minh. As a result, many live in poverty, not having enough money to fund healthy, hygienic meals. At the food shop, you will work alongside local staff to prepare and serve lunches to the people who come to enjoy the low cost, healthy meals every day. Additionally, you will be taking on any tasks that ensure the food shop runs smoothly. The group visiting the shop consists of around 500 people ranging from the underprivileged elderly, to people with disabilities to workers, and their families, who are surviving on very low incomes.

Aims & Objectives

  • Generate income so that the people of Ho Chi Minh can continue to be provided with hygienic, healthy food at a low cost
  • Give you practical experience in the kitchen and an insight into food preparation
  • Assist the local staff with extra hands at the food shop

Trip Itinerary

You will be contributing your efforts at The Food Shop, where your task may include food preparation, serving and clean-up, as you bring smiles and affordable hot meals for all who need it.

Established in 2012, The Food shop was opened to help people by providing low cost lunches for only 2000 VND per meal (about 10 cents). The shop is run by passionate locals and your efforts will be greatly appreciated as well.

In this program you will help to prepare lunches and serve these meals to a group of around 500 people (elderly, local workers, persons with disabilities, students and children) who come for low cost, good quality and well prepared meals each day!

This program is likely to be one of the most challenging, engaging and, at times, one of the most exhausting things you have ever done, where you loved every minute of it!

Please be advised that the Food Shop program continues to function even when the NGO run facility is closed (including a month long closure around the Tet Holiday). During those periods, Food Shop participants will prepare food on-site at our accommodation kitchen and those free meals will be distributed at a local hospital to patients and local workers.

“Fill your heart……and their plate!”

Each day, you will enjoy a breakfast at your accommodation before departing for the food shop! Once on site, your activities will revolve around the smooth running of the shop. This could involve cleaning the premises, preparing and cooking food and any other necessary tasks. After having lunch at the food shop, you’ll be taken back to the accommodation. In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to enjoy yourself relaxing or taking the time to visit local highlights. Dinner is included in the program and will usually be served at your accommodation.

Monday to Friday
Depart for the food shop
Assist in the preparation of food, working in the kitchen, cleaning the area and serving food, etc.
Lunch at the foodshop
Head back to the accommodation
Free time during the afternoon

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

Trip Accommodation

Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, is located in the southeastern region of Vietnam and is the country’s largest city. During your stay, you will be living in a dorm on college campus right in the centre of the city.

Accommodation & Food

The accommodation is located on a campus in a college dorm. As such, it follows certain campus rules such as a night curfew.

We also have a room reserved as an “office”, where you can go to if you want some peace and quiet. We have books and magazines available here for you to borrow.

  • Persons per room 8
  • Wifi in public areas
  • Safety box
  • Lockable rooms
  • Hot showers
  • Private bathroom
  • Air conditioning

There is the nice local café next to our dorm. A beautiful and peaceful place where you can enjoy fresh juices, snacks and lots more treats.

Please be aware that this accommodation has a 23:30 curfew

Food Arrangements

Basic Vietnamese meals are provided on campus. Food include some western dishes such as sandwiches, spaghetti and bread.

On weekends brunch instead of breakfast and lunch

There are many taxis around our campus. You can easily catch one from the main road to reach your destination of choice in Ho Chi Minh.

There are several ATMs in the area where we stay. The nearest one is about 10 minutes walking distance from our campus.

All necessary amenities can be found in the city, remember we are located in the country’s capital after all!

Sights & Surroundings
Here are some interesting places to visit in your free time/weekends!

As a large city, Ho Chi Minh has a lot to offer from shops to Vietnamese water puppet shows. Here are a few suggestions:

Backpacker street
Bui Vien Street is the main street, it is called ‘backpackers area’ of Ho Chi Minh City. There are a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and hotels/hostels. You can shop, dine and party on Bui Vien Street.

Landmark 81
Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam, Southeast Asia. As of July, 2018 and the 14th is the tallest building in the world.

Bitexco tower
There is an observation deck, Saigon Skydeck, open to the public daily and offering 360 degree panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City. From floors 50 to 52, there are further F&B and entertainment offerings, including a fine dining restaurant and bar/nightclub.

Suoi Tien Amusement Park
Suối Tiên Amusement Park is an amusement park in District 9, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam. The park includes several entertainment areas. The landscaping and attractions in the park illustrate Vietnam’s history and legends.

Trip Country Info


Population: Approx.92 million
Capital: Hanoi
Language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND)
Time zone: UTC +7

Vietnam is currently the world’s 13th most populous country and occupies 331,211 square kilometers. Today, although scarred by its past, Vietnam is a fast-growing economy helped by tourism that its interesting history and beautiful sights draw in.

One frequent thing to hear is that it has not yet been subjected to the western influence that Thailand and, to an extent, Cambodia have been. The Vietnamese still tend to prefer their traditional cuisine to the fast food chains that seem to be taking over the world.

Aside from the beautiful countryside of the north, rice fields and beaches, Vietnam is a country that is very much on the move. Roads are being upgraded, new hotels are opening everywhere and its cities are fastly developing.

If you are planning to work & travel in Vietnam there are a number of fulfilling opportunities available from volunteering with children to Hospital Out reach projects. As an experienced gap year travel company we have helped many people enjoy the delights of Vietnam during their gap year so if you are looking for an adventure in South East Asia you should add Vietnam to your shortlist. Few countries in the world can offer such a diverse range of culture, history, natural wonders and excitement.

Vietnam offers ravishing coastlines, emerald-green mountains and dynamic cities. The breathtaking National Parks continue to yield new species and are teaming with exotic wildlife. With outstanding cultural interest and one of the world’s best cuisines, Vietnam has it all. If you are looking for a Volunteer experience in Vietnam have a look at our latest experiences below.

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