[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

Ho Chi Minh City administrators just released a video that is supposed lay out some etiquette dos and don’ts for tourists. Wonderful idea in theory, but the universal reaction I’ve received from foreigners living in Vietnam is:

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[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture

Over the years, I’ve noticed three things about books about Vietnamese culture:

  1. They are all written by foreigners. A guidebook to a country written by a foreigner is like a cookbook written by someone who has only had experience in looking at the food. There needs to be a book about Vietnamese culture written by a real Vietnamese.
  2. They all start with the war. Come on, the war ended 4 decades ago! There are so many more cool things in Vietnam.
  3.  They all read like textbooks at best and phonebooks at worst. I believe that books should be not only informative but also entertaining.

I’ve spent the last two years interviewing many people: foreigners who have traveled in Vietnam, foreigners who have lived in Vietnam, foreigners who have never been to Vietnam, Vietnamese who have lived overseas, Vietnamese who have never been outside the country, etc. I’ve combined their opinion into a book called “How to not get your ass kicked in Vietnam: The native’s guide”. But I still need more input to make the book as comprehensive as possible. So please help me through this short survey:

Survey for non-Vietnamese

Survey for Vietnamese

Thank you very much! The prologue to this book can be find below.

Continue reading “[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture”

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture

[Day 95] How two penniless backpackers produced an award-winning travel show and got Anthony Bourdain on it

Two years ago, two backpackers came to me with an ambitious proposal. They were two American guys who just quit their high paying, Bostonian jobs to pursue the dream of having their own travel show. They had no money and no connection. Like all protagonists of rag to riches stories, all they had was an idea, load of enthusiasm, and–this and is different–an “eye candy.” Ray, the aspiring director, playfully pointed at his friend Mark, who was tall, lean with tousled hair and a sun-kissed smile. They wanted to have Anthony Bourdain on their show. They needed Anthony Bourdain on their show. The entire existence of their show banked on the participation of Anthony Bourdain. I didn’t quite understand their reasoning at that time–I didn’t even know who Anthony Bourdain was. But I figured it was some sort of fanaticism, and I’m drawn to fanaticism like a moth to a flame.

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The two backpackers with a big plan

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[Day 95] How two penniless backpackers produced an award-winning travel show and got Anthony Bourdain on it

[Day 69] Help me name my book

I have just finished writing a fun culture guidebook to Vietnam. I was thinking of naming it “Vietnam for Dummies”, but I realized that I had no legal rights to use the “for dummies” trademark. I need your help to choose a new name.

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Photo by Hung PM, originally seen on Vietnam Streetlife Photography

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[Day 69] Help me name my book

[Day 42] 10 amazing landscapes I have seen

In the last few years, I have been very fortunate to have seen some truly magnificent landscapes. No, I’m not rich. I just really like traveling and I work hard to be able to travel. Sometimes I take the photos and just put them away. Today, I was cleaning my hard drive when I found these photos and thought to myself: “Let’s make a list.” Below are my 10 favorite places for landscapes. Most of the photos are taken by me or I hold copyright, and I have to admit I didn’t do these places justice.

1. Bagan, Myanmar

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Bagan, Myanmar

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[Day 42] 10 amazing landscapes I have seen