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Things had changed a lot since my last visit in 1999. Back then my hair was brown and the tourists were mostly young backpackers. Now they were mostly retirees and greyer even than I now am. [ more... ]
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There are nine million motorbikes in Saigon. There can possibly be no quicker escape from the noise, pollution and general irritation they cause than this. [ more... ]
There was a time not so long ago when anyone choosing to fly into Vietnam had the choice of either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi airports. These days when I am asked by people thinking of coming to visit the country for the first time what their port of entry should be, in particular if they do not have the time to discover the whole country, [ more... ]
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Ngò gai, ngò gai.’ Sounds incomprehensible to my ears floated around me, but that they were directed at me never entered my consciousness. ‘Ngò gai! ngò gai!’ [ more... ]
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I let fall a drop of fish sauce into my cup of black coffee, a culinary trick not widely known outside of Phú Quốc island, the home of the most special fish sauce of Vietnam. [ more... ]
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Within a kilometre of the market, the landscape changed most abruptly from bustling town to largely deserted beaches along a narrow, red-dirt road. [ more... ]
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The Grand was a popular name for a hotel during European colonialisation of much of the world. I remember being shown pictures from our family album of a stay when I was just a baby at the Grand Hotel, Singapore. [ more... ]
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The black and white pages of my guidebook just did not seem to capture the magical combination of blue water and rolling green hills visible from my window seat as the airplane lowered its flight path across Phu Quoc’s wave-splashed coastline. [ more... ]
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My knees felt closer to my chin than ever before. The driver was constantly on the wrong side of the road. He persistently honked his hooter, and locals continually turned and looked at us as though we were a species from another planet. In our attempt to get off the tourist trail, we might have got more than we had bargained for. [ more... ]
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For Saigoners (I am sorry HCMCers just does not seem the right word), with the only exception of Can Gio, which has far fewer attractions, Vung Tau is the nearest seaside resort. [ more... ]
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Following the tunes (“Spring comes to Muong Hum hamlet high up the mountains with heart-rocking distant singing…” ) of talented composer Nguyen Tai ...
In the heart of the darkness of Saigon's backpacker land,ambling along down raucous Bui Vien Street and wishing I had not come out without my ear ...
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