Vietnam is breathtaking, in more ways than one.

Boy, have I been neglecting this blog lately. I’ve been wicked busy what with flying to Australia, moving in, and registering for classes! Sorry about that!

Vietnam is a country of both incredible scenery and unbelievable pollution. As I mentioned previously, the roads are so smoggy that it’s common to wear masks while driving around. Tap water is not safe to drink. I was shocked by some roadkill I saw on the street:

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But Vietnam, for all its problems, is an amazingly beautiful place. My family here was kind enough to take me to a beach resort in Bình Thuận, a province north of Ho Chi Minh City. We rented a bus with another family and enjoyed the 4-hour drive through the countryside.

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A dragonfruit farm.

A dragonfruit farm.

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The word “resort,” for me, at least, implies a sort of luxurious hotel where all entertainment is provided. Our resort was more of a hotel, though it did have some fun features that we certainly enjoyed.

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The area is famous for its beaches, so I was very excited. I was a bit surprised by the amount of litter on the beach, though.

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And the ocean was completely filled with odd red bits. I’m not sure if this was from human or natural causes, but either way, the murky water left your body unnaturally sticky.

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My family quickly tired out the pool and karaoke, so we decided to sight-see elsewhere.

Luckily, nearby was Núi Tà Cú, or Tà Cú Mountain. The mountain is about 2,129 feet tall and is a popular tourist attraction. And I was about to find out why.

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Tà Cú Mountain is home to a Buddhist temple, though it used to house a previous queen. If you can get up the stairs…

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…you’ll be welcomed by three large statues…

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…and this incredible temple.

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What amazed me the most, though, was this 45-meter long statue of a reclining Buddha. I honestly thought it was a building at first.

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Afterwards, we paid a visit to the Ke Ga lighthouse. Since the lighthouse is on an island…

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…we stuffed what was probably too many people into one of these traditional fishing boats.

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In order to get to the top, we had to climb up a rather intense set of stairs.

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But the end definitely paid off.

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How can such unbelievable natural beauty exist in the same place where we found dead cockroaches under the bed…

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…or pay for a hot spring where, upon entry, we found most of the pools totally empty?

A hot spring for feet-- completely empty.

A hot spring for feet– completely empty.

I was only there for a week, but I already sensed it: Vietnam is a country of contrasts. There’s abject poverty and extreme wealth. I saw equally shocking beauty and squalor. It’s a country struggling with its chaotic history and difficult government. It’s a country still growing into its own.

And when I was there, I also sensed without a doubt: Vietnam was my country. For all its problems, Vietnam is an incredible place– and I admit, I’m proud to be of Vietnamese descent. I already can’t wait to return in December!

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Though I can stand a few more months of listening to people with Australian accents.

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(Australia’s pretty cool, too.)

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18 thoughts on “Vietnam is breathtaking, in more ways than one.

  1. I’m so glad you had a good time in Vietnam! The mountain scenery, with the fog and hazy distance, reminded me of Ecuador. Isn’t it cool that there are so many gorgeous places in the world?!

        • Same! I think how awesome traveling is didn’t really hit me until I traveled to Paris with my German host family. Seeing the Eiffel Tower was really a “OHHHHH MY DUUUUUDE IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING” moment and after that, I caught the bug completely.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you had a good time in Vietnam and it seems like you didn’t have to whip out any Spanish after all! You are a winner! Haha I have brothers in Australia but I’ve only been over twice in the last two years…World’s Worst Sister Award, you are mine. I can’t wait to hear about Australia! Yay! :]

    • Haha, I’m working on stuff about Australia now!

      By the way, you’re from New Zealand, right? I really really want to visit there somehow, maybe after my semester is over. What are some of the must-sees out there?

      • YEY! I can’t wait to see it! ^_^

        Yes, I do live in NZ! The beaches are definitely worth checking out – maybe even the one I live at during summer! Haha that would be awesome! Ruapehu/Tongariro National Park is pretty cool if you like mountains. Uhhhhhhh, maybe the South Island? I’ve never been there personally but I’ve heard that it is beautiful! :]

        • Oooh, ok! I like both mountains and beaches, so NZ sounds awesome already. I don’t have the trip planned yet, but I’m definitely going to have to make it up there before I leave this hemisphere!

  3. Hi Vy !

    A wonderfull summery of your short visit.

    It made me smile that you got along so well with your “other” family and that they obviously could made you feel very welcome and home.

    You are some lucky girl, you know?

    So, let’s here from downunder than !!!!!

    Thank you for your “reports” and those (i much like them) drawings.

    Godday, mate !

    RoBo

    • Haha I see you have the Australian slang down! Every time someone says to me “G’day, mate!” I can’t help but grin.

      I’m really glad I got along with my family as well! I admit, I was pretty nervous about it but they were very accommodating and welcoming people. 🙂

      You’re right– I’m lucky. Like, SUPER-lucky. Sometimes I can’t even believe it.

  4. Hey Vy!
    Wow. I must say… I am so so so SO happy I stumbled across your blog! I have to admit I spent like, 4 hours looking at every single one of your posts and your absolutely hilarious and ha, “comic”al Minus One’s! Your ability to capture human emotion on your little drawn characters is AMAZING– I wish I had drawing skills you do!
    I also love how you travel everywhere and write awesome posts about wherever you go. I myself am just in highs chool, but like you I take (er, you probably “took” by now) German (going to start my 4th year for the win!) and now I DEFINITELY know I want to travel abroad, thanks to your awesome posts about your experiences. I love your “go out and do it!” attitude, and you have a purty fantasmical sense of humour (: (I don’t think I can say there isn’t a post I haven’t read where I haven’t laughed… er… that sounds confusing… I uh, laugh at every post, I mean (: There we go!)

    I can also say that posts about your college experience are definitely making me look forward to when I go to college– it sounds like so much fun (you know, minus the hard exams and cramming and bad professors, lol). Your tutorials for cosplays are AMAZING (I loved your Link costume– SO CUTE) and just reading a post of yours makes my day. Don’t stop doing what you love (which seems to be this perfect mix between cartooning and blogging) and I wish you the best in your awesome adventure called life!

    -Steph ❤

    • Hey Steph!

      Ok, so your comment totally made my day, so I’m glad I could make yours! My goal is for people to laugh and enjoy my comics, so reading your post gives me the warm fuzzies. 😀

      Haha, so I actually never took German in high school! So the fact that you’re going into your fourth year of German sets you up quite nicely for a trip to Europe. 😀 If you’re still in high school, I suggest looking into a Youth for Understanding program. They have strong ties with Germany and Japan, and at least for US students, they’re tied to a lotttt of organizations offering scholarships. Mazda actually paid the entire cost for my trip to Germany! (It was supposed to be Japan– I had taken Japanese for 3 years– but because of the tsunami, the country was changed.)

      But I digress. I’m happy you could enjoy my blog! And definitely look forward to college, and traveling if you can! I didn’t think the opportunities were out there, but I guess they really are. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a note, and I’ll do my best to keep it up 🙂

      –Vy

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