A Very Vietnamese Christmas

Simon Stanley unwraps the tropical festive spirit, of a very Vietnamese Christmas. Photos by Vinh Dao. Despite being home to a relatively small Catholic community, with the majority of the remainder of the population being either Buddhist or atheist, Vietnam is once again poised to embrace the spirit of Christmas in a big way. With a thirst for…

Tracing the Beat – A History of Vietnamese Hip Hop

“We’re in the wrong place,” I mutter to myself as I wait nervously for Wowy Nguyen to arrive. Surrounded by fresh flowers, potpourri and black and white portraits of Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie, with an acoustic cover of a Taylor Swift song playing in the background, the overtly quaint She Cafe in downtown Saigon…

Waiting for Winter

Simon Stanley heads to the Japanese alps in search of a white Christmas. Photos by Simon Stanley. I must have checked the weather reports three times a day in the weeks leading up to the festive break. The vital component for our Japanese Christmas getaway was gone. December’s early snowfall had melted within days and…

Expat Parenting

As he prepares to embark on fatherhood, Simon Stanley talks to three families from Saigon’s international community about what life is like for foreigners raising children in Vietnam. Cover photo by Adam Clark. Shipping Out Teachers Anita and Sean O’Neill arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in the summer of 2014 with their then four-year-old son Jude….

Saigon: The Complete Guide

Vietnam’s southern metropolis, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City, may not have the picture postcard charms of its northern counterpart Hanoi, but as a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, old meets new and East meets West, where shimmering skyscrapers rub shoulders with colonial-era mansions, it has much more to offer than many first-time visitors…

Baozi

From London’s vibrant pop-up restaurant scene comes a menu as rich and as varied as its heritage, where steamed buns are just the beginning. By Simon Stanley. Photos by Vinh Dao. Baozi’s story started in England, when Chris Huynh, a Londoner born to Vietnamese parents, along with his Greek-British friend and business partner, Pablo Marks,…

From Two Wheels to Four

With a raft of recent international trade and tax agreements coupled with rising incomes and a growing middle class, owning a car is now within the reach of more Vietnamese people than ever, but is Vietnam ready for the changes ahead? By Simon Stanley. Photos by Vinh Dao and Reuters. In 2005 there were just 209,000 passenger…

Q&A – Mark Wiens

Simon Stanley talks to the Bangkok-based food and travel blogger about his love of chilli peppers, durian, and Southeast Asia’s street food. Photo by Mark Wiens. You were born in the United States and have lived in France, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya. So it’s fair to say travelling is in your blood?…

The Sandwich That Ate the World

On the hunt through Saigon, in search of the past, present and future of the banh mi. By Simon Stanley. Photos by Vinh Dao.   “Chili!” says the elderly Vietnamese lady, ushering me closer. She seems eager to help and apparently already knows what I want. Taking one of the pre-made sandwiches from the counter,…

The Pack Man

When Simon Stanley spotted the ‘made in Vietnam’ tag inside his most trusted rucksack, he decided to investigate. Photos by Osprey Packs. If you’ve ever gone backpacking, you’ll know this scenario well. Those times when your rucksack is bulging at the seams, overflowing with souvenir t-shirts, bubble-wrapped buddhas and baggy, one-dollar backpacker pants. The bus…

The Digital Cobbler

Simon Stanley visits Veritas Bespoke, where traditional crafts and modern technology combine to create some of the finest custom-made footwear in Vietnam. Photo by Vinh Dao. They say you can tell a lot about a man by looking at his shoes. With everything you’ve got going on up top – the tailored suit, the carefully chosen silk lining, the…

Hotel des Arts Saigon

Simon Stanley gets the executive treatment at Saigon’s immensely stylish Hotel des Arts. Photos by Vinh Dao and Simon Stanley. Opened in October 2015, the fifth and latest addition to Vietnam’s offerings from the prestigious MGallery collection of unique, inspiring and first-class international hotels, Hotel des Arts, represents the first five-star boutique hotel in Saigon….