Blog tales from the road

A new heritage landmark in Hanoi?
22 Oct 2018

A new heritage landmark in Hanoi?

A grand heritage building is being renovated in Hanoi’s picturesque Ba Dinh District. This is the nicest part of the capital - though few visitors...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, heritage, architecture,

Tips for taking photos in Vietnam - people and ideas of beauty
08 Oct 2018

Tips for taking photos in Vietnam - people and ideas of beauty

Taking photos of the local people you encounter as a traveller is complicated anywhere. In Vietnam, the locals have been remarkably amenable to...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, photography, culture,

A peek inside one of Hanoi's grand colonial villas
14 Sep 2018

A peek inside one of Hanoi's grand colonial villas

A French colonial villa on Hanoi’s Chan Cam St has become one of the most photographed colonial ruins in the city. These days it’s occupied by...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, architecture, colonial era, ceramics,

Angkor has been protected from the worst tourism excesses - someone should be thanked
17 Aug 2018

Angkor has been protected from the worst tourism excesses - someone should be thanked

I spend more time than I would like lamenting the degradation of the places I visit while covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for Rusty Compass....

TAGS: Cambodia, Siem Reap, tourism, UNESCO,

Saigon's pavements - yes, they're still getting worse
06 Aug 2018

Saigon's pavements - yes, they're still getting worse

Saigon’s failed campaign to improve its sidewalks has left them more dangerous than ever. It’s a disaster for locals and visitors and the reputation...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, pavements, walking, travel, cities

Vietnam's Quest Festival Goes Plastic Free - a chat with Malcolm Duckett
03 Aug 2018

Vietnam's Quest Festival Goes Plastic Free - a chat with Malcolm Duckett

Quest, Vietnam’s biggest international music festival, is getting serious about single-use plastic waste in 2018. We caught up with Festival...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, Quest festival, music festival,

Tet in Saigon - a time to think about arrivals and departures
27 Feb 2018

Tet in Saigon - a time to think about arrivals and departures

Saigon has been a city of immigrants from its founding in the 17th century. At Tet, as much of the city headed home to villages and towns across the...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, pollution, liveability,

Introducing a special new tour by Rusty Compass - Vietnam by the Book
07 Feb 2018

Introducing a special new tour by Rusty Compass - Vietnam by the Book

2018 marks 25 years since I ran my first tour through Vietnam. To mark the anniversary, I’ve created a new 15 day tour - Vietnam by the Book. We’ll...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, Old Compass Travel, Old Compass Travel Book Club

Travel tech update - From the Apple iPhone to the Oppo F5
27 Jan 2018

Travel tech update - From the Apple iPhone to the Oppo F5

I’ve switched from one of the most expensive phones on the market - the Apple iPhone - to one of the cheapest -an OPPO F5. And so far, I’m very...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, oppo F5, telephone

Meeting the man who played Nguyen Van Troi - Robert McNamara’s would be assassin
03 Jan 2018

Meeting the man who played Nguyen Van Troi - Robert McNamara’s would be assassin

On a recent visit to Hanoi, I randomly met the delightful Mr Binh on the street. Now 82 year old, he found fame on the stage in the 60s and 70s...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, Mr Binh, Nguyen Van Troi, Robert McNamara,

2017 - our year of travel in video
15 Dec 2017

2017 - our year of travel in video

Another year exploring Vietnam passes. Here are some video favourites from my travels. Plenty of magical moments have been had. But worries about...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, video, Youtube

Postcard from Hue - in search of Tet 1968
04 Dec 2017

Postcard from Hue - in search of Tet 1968

We travel to Hue in central Vietnam, 50 years after the Tet Offensive, searching for traces of the Battle of Hue - one of the longest and bloodiest...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hue, Tet Offensive, Battle of Hue, history, Vietnam War

Visiting Saigon's historic rooftop - symbol of the end of the Vietnam War
19 Nov 2017

Visiting Saigon's historic rooftop - symbol of the end of the Vietnam War

It may be the most iconic image of the end of the Vietnam War. It was taken on 29 April 1975 by photojournalist Hugh van Es, as US choppers...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Pittman Apartments, Larry Berman,

Remembering Kim Sinh in Hanoi
08 Nov 2017

Remembering Kim Sinh in Hanoi

One of the first Rusty Compass YouTube videos I shot way back in 2008, featured Vietnamese virtuoso guitar player Kim Sinh, collaborating with...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, Music, kim sinh, guitar,

Vale Vann Molyvann - giant of Cambodian architecture and symbol of an age of optimism
02 Oct 2017

Vale Vann Molyvann - giant of Cambodian architecture and symbol of an age of optimism

One of the most rewarding things of decades getting to know Cambodia, has been learning of the work of modernist architect Vann Molyvann. Considered...

TAGS: Cambodia, Phnom Penh, architecture, Vann Molyvann,

Farewell Jungle Beach - one of Vietnam's original
12 Sep 2017

Farewell Jungle Beach - one of Vietnam's original "back to nature" resorts closes

Jungle Beach Resort north of Nha Trang on Vietnam’s central coast will soon close its flimsy bamboo doors for the last time. We hope this doesn’t...

TAGS: Vietnam, Nha Trang, Ninh Hoa, resort, development

Two Hanoi Banh Mi stalls - a tale of travel in the age of Tripadvisor
05 Sep 2017

Two Hanoi Banh Mi stalls - a tale of travel in the age of Tripadvisor

Two banh mi stalls in Hanoi’s Old Quarter tell an interesting story of travel in the age of Tripadvisor.

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, banh mi, sandwich, Old Quarter, Banh Mi 25, Banh Mi Hang Ca

The train from Phan Thiet to Saigon
18 Jul 2017

The train from Phan Thiet to Saigon

We travelled by train from Phan Thiet on Vietnam’s southern coast back to Saigon. Was a great ride - highly recommended.

TAGS: Vietnam, Mui Ne, trains, local life, Phan Thiet

Saigon travel update 2017 - 3 cool new hotels
28 Jun 2017

Saigon travel update 2017 - 3 cool new hotels

These three new Saigon hotels deserve a look. They all opened over the past year and they’re all doing things a little differently.

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, boutique, design, hotels

A most unlikely place - Vietnam's cutest village?
20 Jun 2017

A most unlikely place - Vietnam's cutest village?

It’s an unlikely place to be described as Vietnam’s cutest village, but Quy Hoa, outside of Quy Nhon, is a charmer. It’s home to an amazing...

TAGS: Vietnam, Quy Nhon, quy hoa, leper colony, history, architecture

Vietnam’s first international resort was simple and low impact. What happened after that?
12 Jun 2017

Vietnam’s first international resort was simple and low impact. What happened after that?

We revisit Coco Beach Resort in Mui Ne - Vietnam’s first international beach resort - and ask what’s happened to resort development since it opened...

TAGS: Vietnam, Mui Ne, resorts, tourism development, Phuket, environment

Talking plastic with Vincent Mourou from Marou chocolate
01 Jun 2017

Talking plastic with Vincent Mourou from Marou chocolate

Last week we began a little initiative to reduce the amount of plastic waste in Vietnam’s hospitality industry - and to help raise public awareness...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Marou Chocolate, Maison Marou, Plastic waste, Vincent Mourou

 The battle for Saigon’s pavements is over - the motorbikes won
29 May 2017

The battle for Saigon’s pavements is over - the motorbikes won

If Saigon's recent pavement clearing campaign was designed to make the city safe for walking, it's failed. Meanwhile, Hanoi's embracing walking with...

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, walking, city planning, traffic

Environment: Doing something about Vietnam's plastic problem
22 May 2017

Environment: Doing something about Vietnam's plastic problem

Cities and countries around the world are getting serious about reducing the amount of plastic waste they produce. In Vietnam, the tourism industry...

TAGS: Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island, plastic, pollution, environment

Meet this adorable Hanoi couple
17 May 2017

Meet this adorable Hanoi couple

Check out this beautiful old Hanoi couple. They’ll warm your heart.

TAGS: Vietnam, Hanoi, people, Hanoi, adorable couple

Beautiful ruins: The abandoned Franciscan Mission in Dalat Vietnam
22 Apr 2017

Beautiful ruins: The abandoned Franciscan Mission in Dalat Vietnam

We love a good ruin. This crumbling complex of church buildings, an abandoned Franciscan Mission outside of Dalat, maybe the most stunning we’ve...

TAGS: Vietnam, Dalat, ruins, Franciscan Mission, architecture

The rise, fall, and rise and fall, of the Dalat Palace Hotel
11 Apr 2017

The rise, fall, and rise and fall, of the Dalat Palace Hotel

In Vietnam, historic hotels mostly don’t get much love. The Metropole in Hanoi and the La Residence in Hue are exceptions. In the past, you’d have...

TAGS: Vietnam, Dalat, Dalat Palace Hotel, heritage, renovation

An unexploded shell on An Bang Beach, Hoi An
04 Apr 2017

An unexploded shell on An Bang Beach, Hoi An

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) still kills in Vietnam. Victims tend to be poor farmers and their family members. I’ve never heard of a tourist being...

TAGS: Vietnam, Hoi An, An Bang Beach, shell, ordnance, UXO,

Saigon's pavements still a disaster for tourists and walkers
23 Mar 2017

Saigon's pavements still a disaster for tourists and walkers

Saigon’s campaign to clear sidewalks sounded like a great idea for tourism. Now we’re not so sure.

TAGS: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, tourism, pavements, motorbikes, walking

Kong saved Skull Island - can Vogt-Roberts save Vietnam’s besieged natural treasures?
20 Mar 2017

Kong saved Skull Island - can Vogt-Roberts save Vietnam’s besieged natural treasures?

Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of the recently released, “Kong: Skull Island” has been made a tourism ambassador for Vietnam. We hope he uses his new...

TAGS: Vietnam, Halong Bay, Quang Binh, Kong Skull Island,

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