HO CHI MINH CITY is aggressively hedonistic—drive fast, drink lots, eat cheap. Nowhere is this more evident than Bui Vien. It is Vietnam’s own Khao San Road, a wild and colourful stretch where ragged dreadlocked travelers constantly laugh at touts for foot massages and happy hours. I wanted to stay out and drink but I didn’t want to stay out or drink there; the same … Continue reading Postcard: The Hedonism of Bui Vien, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
RIDING THE SLEEPER TRAIN is a meditative experience. You’re stuck in one place for perhaps a very long time, and come to realize that to simply sleep or read it all away is a waste of good travel. So you look out the window. What’s there? Green leaves, rice paddies, farmers in straw hats, decrepit brick homes, brown rivers, other trains, pink and yellow. It’s … Continue reading Notes From a Vietnam Train: Is Authentic Travel Possible When Gazing Out a Train Window for 16 Straight Hours?
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN Hue, Vietnam’s pre-communist capital, and Savannakhet, a sleepy Lao city by the Mekong River, is over 400 kilometres of thick tropical forest. The border checkpoint, somewhere in-between, lies truly in the middle of nowhere. Four hours got us this far, and it would be longer until Savannakhet: five hours by bus, and unimaginably longer if the bus, say, left without us. Which, … Continue reading The Viet-Lao Border: Wherein Our Bus Deserts Us on a Remote Mountain Range