The cable car up Nui Ba Den / photo by Glen Riley

Matt Bender sets out to climb the tallest mountain in southern Vietnam, and finds just as much wonder on the way. Photos by Glen Riley

Duhwee Pham boldly went where not so many travellers have gone before — Mongolia. From searing landscapes and local hospitality to the pollution of the fast-developing big city, here is what he saw

The devil they say is in the detail, and when it comes to details, the InterContinental in Danang is quite truly in a world of its own.

The Liberation Day/Labour Day holiday is just around the corner, and while all of your friends are packing up their bags with flight tickets in hand, you're stuck wondering how many sitcom re-runs you'll manage to get through before you suffer a cabin fever psychotic break. With the help of our writers — who have explored both inside the cities as well as on the destinations on the outskirts — we have you covered. Thankfully, some of Vietnam's best destinations are a bus, motorbike, or taxi ride away from the city centres, with no plane ticket — and just a little prior planning — required.

Set on the border amidst dramatic limestone karsts, Lang Son is often relegated to the status of border town. It’s anything but. Julie Vola retraces some well-worn train tracks to the outer reaches of northern Vietnam

With careful planning, a random pre-Tet weekend ended up in a trip to the Laneway Festival in Singapore. Ed Weinberg found himself lucky enough to be part of it

If you’re travelling to Melbourne, then there’s one excursion not to be missed — Phillip Island. Just two hours south of the capital of Victoria, here you will find abundant wildlife in its natural environment. And don’t forget the penguins. Words by Katie Jacobs

Ed Weinberg — aka ‘Miami Twice’ — hits Thailand’s highest mountain range alongside his six fellow ‘Ratpackers’, in custom-tailored suits, with a Dean Martinesque glint in their eyes

Villa Song Saigon

Take the Saigon River, put a villa on its edge and then transform it into a boutique hotel. It’s a concept that’s worked elsewhere, but only now has it come to Vietnam.

“You took the what to where?”
That’s what my wife said when I told her I went to Old Dhaka on the city bus.

Singapore

Vietnamese who grew up in the 1980s like myself were taught in school textbooks that Vietnam has “golden forests and silver seas”. In other words, we were blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We were told that we should be proud of our green paddy fields, our plentiful fish in the ocean and the trees in our many forests.

Japan Stopover

I start off my 40-hour trans-Pacific journey at 11.40pm from Ho Chi Minh City. Six hours later I’m in Japan. I’ve never been before, and I’m excited — even if it’s just for three hours.

Bokor Hill

As a girl who rarely travels anywhere — especially outside of Vietnam — being invited by Mekong Tourism to Kampot, Cambodia for the 9th World Congress of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World is something quite out there. Not only was I supposed to see one of “the most beautiful bays in the world” for the first time, I was supposed to shoot it in a way that matches its beauty. So I packed my bags, and jumped on a Sapaco bus to Phnom Penh at 6am with three cameras — my trusty DSLR, a small point-and-shoot and a Holga-like toy camera — and a tripod, to make sure I wouldn’t miss a thing.

Bac Giang

Alex is in his Hyundai jeep and he’s driving us to the Vert garment factory he runs in Bac Giang. We’re there to see the process of going from clothing design to final packaged product, a full process that is rarely carried out in the garment industry in Vietnam. Most of the work is CMT — cutting the fabric, making the garment, adding the trim. It’s a time consuming activity, but when you take the final retail price of the garment, in Vietnam only 10 to 20 percent of that value is going to the process of actually making the clothing. The rest goes to the middleman.

Tam Coc

The research for this trip was simple: search for Tam Coc in the Google Maps searchbar and look around the area to discover what else there was to see.

Ham Long Village

I tried to find the artists' village a few years ago and failed miserably. When I was new to Saigon, a durable expat had told me about a place he had once been taken to, where a group of artists lived in traditional wooden houses.

Climbing on Cat Ba

I’ve often thought that “You are not special” is a terrible thing to say to someone as it trivialises the human experience. But staring up at 30 metres of raw Cat Ba Island mountain that you are expected to climb is a humbling experience — one that could make the most rock-strong of our bretheren feel a bit trivial or even unspecial.

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