My trip to Vietnam was absolutely amazing. Words cannot describe what a great experience it was. Even before the trip ended, people were already messaging me and saying “I can’t wait to hear your stories” and the thoughts that ran through my mind were… “It’ll be impossible to tell you any stories.” I didn’t climb mountains or tame lions, instead, I got to spend my time in Vietnam enjoying life to the fullest. Stories and tales will never be able to express how I feel. Most people get home sick when they go to other countries, but not me (us), we dreaded coming home and wanted to stay longer.
We were constantly on the go! Even though we spent almost an entire month in Vietnam/Thailand, there wasn’t a day of rest or enough days on our trip. The first 2 days we spent at my dad’s place, 12-13 days at the Peace House (the dorm we stayed at for volunteer work), 1.5 days back at my dads, 5 days in Thailand for a tour (to Bangkok and Pattaya), 2 days back at my dads, 1 day at Mui Ne (which required a 4hr 30min drive), and then 2 or so days back at my dads again before we left.
Also, although I know he doesn’t read this, I want to thank my dad for a wonderful time. He paid for everything, made sure we had fun, and even in the pouring rain, he took an hour and a half commute on his motorbike to come eat with the 3 of us at least twice. It’ll be impossible to summarize my many thanks but as I always say– I am one of the most fortunate and luckiest people in the world.
Yep, this is part 1 of 5 blogs I will do about my trip. Todays blog will be about Vietnam, Part 2 is the Peace House, Part 3 will be about Ky Quang Temple, Part 4 will be about Minh Tam Orphanage, and last but definitely not least, Chua La (aka Leaf Temple). Try not to get bored ok??
Houses (view from 4th floor). Houses in Vietnam (and Asia) are generally more efficient with space; they’re tall and narrow, and yet there is TONS of room inside.
Through the alley
Vietnam is a beautiful country full of life and hard working people. Although it is much different than home, every time I’ve ever gone there, I’ve adjusted just fine. Vietnam is a second-world country and you know it the minute you step into it. However, please keep in mind that the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975, virtually destroyed the Vietnamese economy, and unlike countries like Japan who had aid and support after the devastation of the war, Vietnam was not occupied or being assisted when it came to rebuilding the country. In addition to this, Vietnam was in a constant resistance against the French and even the Chinese for countless of years before the war, hindering it from industrializing early on. Only in 1986 did the market economy open up to the rest of the world, allowing things such as private ownership and foreign investment. Since then, Vietnam has been the world’s second-fastest growing economy with a GDP growth rate of about 7-8% since 1990. The downside of Vietnam though? The rich are rich, and the poor are poor. The gap of rich and poor can be absolutely absurd. People on average only make $600-800 USD a year, but when you meet the rich in that country, they can even make rich Americans weep.
I love Vietnam and my most recent time I’ve spent there. The restaurants outside that are small and look crappy are the best ones to eat at. Not only are the prices ridiculously cheap but it’s taste o-so-good =D The people love to stare at us because we’re foreigners and speak English to each other. Vietnam is all about survival of the fittest; if you don’t quickly move to the front, someone else will! I definitely wasn’t a fan at being stared at or shoved aside, but overall I had a great time in Vietnam. Some parts are more developed than others, but don’t let those Lonely Planet or other tourist books fool you, Vietnam isn’t ALL pretty and full of beaches and rice land like they show in every photos. It’s a beautiful country but it can also be very polluted and crowded. And although the traffic looks nuts, it’s actually really easy to cross the streets after you’ve gotten the hang of it 😉 Also, if you learn to use the bus system, it’s super efficient, you’ll save a lot of money and it’s really fun! =D