My Trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

March 29- April 10, 2013

By Dhivya Vadapalli


Government Facts

  • Communist marxist-Leninist government
  • French rule 1887-1940, japanese control 1941-1945, Vietnam control (with Chinese and Russian influence) 1945-54
  • Then Split into 2 countries, north Vietnam (communist) and South Vietnam (Republic) 1954
  • War ongoing from 1955-1975
  • After war ended in 1975, one Vietnam, under Communist rule

Country Facts

  • Population 90,388,000
  • 8th largest Asian country, 13th in the world (population)
  • Hanoi is the capital and second largest city
  • Ho chi minh city (aka Saigon) is largest city
  • Da nang is third largest city
  • Slightly larger than New Mexico
  • Surrounded by Cambodia, China, and Laos


  • Dry in winter, but still humid—November to april
  • In summer, can be over 100F with high humidity—May to October
  • Cooler in north (Hanoi) than South (Ho Chi Minh city)
  • No snow
  • Lush green dense forests
  • Lots of water—lakes, streams, rivers, ponds


  • 86.2% are kinhs (vietS)
  • The Vietnamese people come from
  • During times of war Chinese people moved to Vietnam


  • Language and script– Vietnamese (cam un means Thank you)
  • 29 letters in alphabet (no f, j, w, z)
  • Ao dai traditionally worn by women
  • Non la (conical hat)
  • Keep themselves covered to protect from tanning of skin
  • Imperial Lantern dance, lion dance, fan dance, platter dance
  • Water puppetry
  • Vovinam, quan ki dao, vo binh dinh
  • Religion—tam giao is a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism


  • Rice, noodles, soup, seafood, vegetables, meat
  • Banh khoai (fried pancake) banh mi (bread w/ veggies, sausage)
  • Delicacies are dog, and cobra and scorpion in wine


  • Minh trai school ages 3-5
  • Large cities have public/private schools but in small villages kids stay home with grandparents
  • Has furniture, tables, toys, books, kitchen supplies
  • Kids do their dishes and clean the tables
  • Start at 6a.m and finishes at 2:00
  • Learn Vietnamese alphabet
  • Kids who don’t have electricity can come back to the school later and finish their work


  • Mom gave check ups to kids and taught medical students at university to round and deal with children
  • Dad and grandpa chose which people to do surgery on
  • Operated on cancer patients, ear problems etc..
  • One patient's journey to recovery

My experiences

  • I learned that you don’t need to have money in order to be happy. Those kids had almost nothing compared to what we have and yet they look like the happiest kids in the world. Their faces lit up when they got candy. Kids complain when they don’t get what they want and they say it’s not fair but really they’re complaining about nothing.
  • I also learned to not take what you have for granted. We are all nourished in the sense that we have food and water. Children there are malnourished. the kids can get 2-3 servings of food and that may be the only amount of food they get. When their parents get money they don’t go and waste it on toys and games, they spend it on food and things people need to survive.
  • The day I visited the hospital I saw patients. I saw people with problems that I didn’t even think existed. Someone threw acid at a lady and kids who couldn’t walk properly because of they way.


  • In ancient times called Kampuchea
  • Phnom Penh is capital
  • script khmer
  • Buddhist religion
  • Rickshaw is called tuk-tuk
  • Transportation motorcycles and tuk-tuk