48 Hours in Saigon for Under 20 Bucks

Is it possible to spend a weekend in Vietnam’s largest city for 20 dollars? Yes. Yes, it absolutely is. Words & photos by Simon Stanley. First published by VnExpress International, May 2017 Despite a surge in tourism, a recent survey by Forbes suggests that Vietnam is still one of the world’s most affordable countries to…

Somebody Feed Phil

In late 2016, Zero Point Zero, the New York City-based production company responsible for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, contacted me for tips on the best eats in Saigon. They were in the process of making a light-hearted food and travel show hosted by a well-known personality, and needed local “experts” in each city on their…

“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…

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…

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: 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…

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…

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….

Five Nights in Hue

Simon Stanley discovers Vietnam’s imperial past, wartime horrors, and modern luxury in the country’s central region. Photos by Simon Stanley and Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa. Tam Giang Lagoon, a 75-kilometre-long stretch of water, separated from the ocean by a thin ribbon of sand, sits just outside the old imperial capital of Hue. In just…