Homecoming

All good things must come to an end. After a very privileged four-and-a-half years of slumming it in a lake-view apartment, eating out every day, taking multiple holidays and working a back-breaking two to three weeks a month, it’s time to go home. The initial clichéd year of teaching English abroad/putting off growing up was thrown into the air after meeting someone who gave me … Continue reading Homecoming

Around the World in 80 Bites

Written in collaboration with Matt Cowan, Thomas Barrett and Nick Ross. From a country with no knowledge of the cuisine beyond its borders, to a place that sports international cuisine from every corner of the globe. That is the fate of Vietnam in the 20 years since the US lifted the trade embargo. So, what’s on offer? Here are 80 of the now hundreds of restaurants serving up fare from … Continue reading Around the World in 80 Bites

Vietnam Bucket List

Written in collaboration with Matt Cowan, Thomas Barrett and Nick Ross. We all have dreams, lists or ideas of things we would like to do during our lifetime, or during a certain period of our lives. Some of us even go so far as create bucket lists. So, dreamers to the end, and with the knowledge that our subject matter is wonderful, whacky, endearing Vietnam, we decided to create one … Continue reading Vietnam Bucket List

Legends of the Viet

Myths and legends have existed for thousands of years; they weave a fabric of fables into the culture and history of a country and its people, with tales of great heroes, lost treasure and spellbinding worlds where anything is possible. Vietnam is home to dozens of such legends. Everyone knows about Hercules, El Dorado and King Arthur; but what about the Moon Boy, the Golden … Continue reading Legends of the Viet

Ngoc Ha: Street Portrait

One of the most charming aspects of life in Hanoi is how there seems to be a street for everything. Pho cuon street, money-exchange street, sunglasses street, handmade wooden furniture street; whatever you need, it can often be found in a street with a concentration of shops so similar you wonder how they all stay in business. In the middle of Ba Dinh, however, Ngoc Ha … Continue reading Ngoc Ha: Street Portrait

Urban Beautification in Hanoi

The last time the Vietnamese population became animated in any meaningful way, it was to protest against the proposed plan to fell many of Hanoi’s beloved trees. More than just offering respite from the sun to motorcyclists waiting at a red light, they are symbolic of the spirit of Hanoi — strong, resilient and with a deep-rooted history. It’s with cautious optimism, therefore, that we … Continue reading Urban Beautification in Hanoi

Entertainment in Vietnam

Vietnam has heaps of options for entertainment; karaoke bars, live music, theatre, comedy shows and an expanding nightlife, to name but a few. Here’s what our survey respondents (about 200 of them) make of the entertainment scene, and how it has changed in recent years. The Questions Respondents were presented with the following five statements focusing on entertainment, and asked whether they agree, disagree or … Continue reading Entertainment in Vietnam

Looking After the Little Guys

Vietnam often gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to animal rights. Dog thieves and irresponsible owners who keep their malnourished pets in cages too small are among those contributing to that reputation. Local media regularly contains stories of dog thieves being beaten, sometimes fatally, by vigilante groups or local residents angry about their activities. While it would be abhorrent to condone these misguided … Continue reading Looking After the Little Guys

Shopping

The last couple of decades in Vietnam have seen enormous segments of society creep closer to the middle-class category. According to market research by Cimigo, between 2005 and 2015, high-income households doubled. These changes have drastically altered the way people do their shopping. New malls are opening, online shopping is becoming more popular and the traditional wet market is under threat from modern supermarkets. Embrace … Continue reading Shopping

Highway to Heaven

As GDP rises and Vietnamese cities flourish along with it, the country’s infrastructure is being strained and tested like never before. To try and keep up with these socio-economic developments, new roads are opening up all the time. That means new prospects for connecting communities, stronger trade links, better communication and expanded travel opportunities. Great highways now connect the expanding urban metropolises of Vietnam, while … Continue reading Highway to Heaven

Tet Lifestyle Collection

Tet Lifestyle Collection (TLC) is an organisation which always wants to have a big heart, and an even bigger impact on the places where they do business. Over a decade of success has been overseen by two passionate leaders. Artist Dinh Khac Tiep combines his creativity and fastidious attention to detail with host Pete Wilkes’ desire to bring quality food and beverages in a homely … Continue reading Tet Lifestyle Collection

Xe Om for a Day

An emergency ride to work. A blood pressure-raising city tour. Sofa-delivery service. The infallible xe om (literally: motorbike hug) is one of the great enduring symbols of Vietnamese city transport. Ferrying families back from supermarkets, taking businesswomen side-saddle to meetings, or more often than not, just sleeping by the side of the road. Xe om motorbike taxis can be found on almost every major street … Continue reading Xe Om for a Day