Vietnam Part 1 of 5: Vietnam

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??


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Mui Ne

Mui Ne

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

Post Office

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 πŸ˜‰ 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


18 thoughts on “Vietnam Part 1 of 5: Vietnam

  1. jen, your photos are AMAZING.

    just posted to say that (i’m surprised my empty brain came up with something coherent)

  2. The part where you talk about your dad almost made me cry. I’m not hormonal or anything, but it was so great how you said it.
    I’m really looking forward the rest of your entries concerning your trip, and the pictures are amazing, as didi said.

  3. i would love to go to vietnam too … i like their food.

    my first dental surgery … before the surgery … i had high fever and sore throat. and that is what i’m having at the moment.

  4. aw yay your blog does a really good job describing my feelings and putting some things to words. i am excited to read the rest of the 5 part series. hurry it up!

  5. aww chi jehn-nee-fuh, em rat ghen chi qua! em chua bao gio ddi qua ben vietnam, nhung chi ke cau chuyen nghe hay qua!

    va hinh cua chi luc nao cung ddep lam!

    i hope you havent forgotten everything we’ve learned in viet class =]

    tammy nho chiiiiii!

  6. didi: Thank you much! that makes me happy

    Flyingcrispi: =D that is very touching to know, I didn’t realize it would mean anything to someone else at all :]

    Renaye: Vietnam is awesome, if you ever get a chance, you should definitely go!

    Janeemebe: thank you much! there is SoOo much to write..ideally it was only going ot be 3 parts..then it just kept adding up and I even had to cut it down to 5! lol I should learn to summerize better =D I’m hurrying I’m hurrying!

    Tammy: how have you been! How could I forget anything we learned in class!? I was in it for the FULL year πŸ˜‰ heck, I even write to the monks and people I’ve met in Vietnam in all viet! boo yea!
    – Tammy con hoc tieng Viet khong? Tai Sao Tammy khong di Vietnam? Vietnam rat vui lam! Do an ngon, duong lo vui, va luon luon co gi lam! Khong co buon giong o My dau!

  7. uaah i hate this so much~!
    i really wanna see those pics u posted but my internet connection is so slow that your pics wouldn’t even show up and even my MSN too is on and off all the time. 😦

    omg. internet, please come back to life.

  8. my connection is back~!!

    wokay. i’ve read part 1 before my bed time today. gotta continue with part 2.
    but one thing for sure, you’re a good teller XD
    i love your words, and your pics are getting even prettier. the post office was fantastic!
    love it!!

  9. momo_chen: =D I’m VERY happy that you enjoy my pictures and stories. I was very worried they would be too long and boring..but obviously…that didn’t stop me and I still wrote a lot lol. I would go crazy if my connection was flakey, I’m glad it’s working out. hope your summer is going well!

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