“It is My Duty to Forget…”

Meeting Saigon’s last public writer Words and photos by Simon Stanley. Published by Rice Media, April 2017.   As the 100-year-old French mansions and public buildings of Saigon meet their doom one by one, often at the hands of the developer’s wrecking ball, the 21st-century skyline of Ho Chi Minh City is rapidly emerging as…

Buckle Up or Shut Up

Vietnam’s road safety conundrum: Whose job is it to keep the country’s new drivers safe? “We don’t use those in Vietnam,” said the driver of a popular ride-hailing service with frustration as I searched for the rear seat belts in the depths of his shiny new car. When I found them still wrapped in plastic film,…

Mind Your Step in Saigon

Has one tourist’s misfortune opened the doors to improved safety on Saigon’s streets? by Simon Stanley. Eyebrows were raised this week after a foreign tourist was awarded $1,000 in compensation by a Saigon-based firm after she tripped over a metal U-shaped fixing — part of a nighttime light installation — embedded in a District 1…

Hanoi: The Complete Guide

Unlike certain places you might visit around the world, Vietnam’s capital still lives up to the hype, be it the postcards, the Instagram images, the YouTube videos or the TV travel shows. With its scenic inner-city lakes and ponds, its pocket-sized temples billowing incense into tiny cobbled backstreets, and of course its ultra-modern skyscrapers and…

Family Friendly Paradise at Fusion Resort Nha Trang.

With his newborn son, his partner and his mother in tow, Simon Stanley visits Nha Trang’s oceanside retreat that’s fit for rockstars and cot-stars alike. Photos by Fusion. Taking babies and kids travelling is a tough sport. As his first ever trip away from home, and his first experience of flying, you should have seen the size of…

Hops, Yeast and a Million Motorbikes

Simon Stanley discovers how Ho Chi Minh City became the rising star of Southeast Asia’s craft beer scene. As a country famous for its dirt cheap bottles of lager commonly drunk over ice as a remedy to the heat and humidity, you wouldn’t expect to find a world-class chocolate stout being brewed in Vietnam, not…

Secret Saigon

A Guide to Ho Chi Minh City’s Hidden Treasures. Words and photos by Simon Stanley. Published by Sapore di Cina, January 2017.   For tourists visiting Saigon for the first time, many of whom come clutching one of just a handful of printed tour guides currently on sale, even those picking their own way around the…

Saigon’s Best Breakfasts

A three-part series looking at some of the best early-morning eats in Ho Chi Minh City. Words and photos by Simon Stanley. Whether it’s our favourite brand of cereal eaten over the day’s news headlines, a buttery slice of toast hurriedly munched on the way to the station, or a full-blown multi-course feast, breakfast is…

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….