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How Vietnam’s Rich Earn Their Millions

Two words: Real estate.

Citing an unnamed report, VietnamNetBridgefound that nearly 30% of Vietnamese millionaires made their money from real estate investments and development.

As living standards began to raise in the early 1990’s, the first wave of local businessmen, who made money abroad, began investing in local properties. With Vietnam’s economic boom, real estate values skyrocketed.

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Hanoi Train Travels Though Narrow Gap Between Houses

Just as in Saigon, Hanoi is a dense city where, outside of downtown, little attention was paid to details like infrastructure planning. This can result in some impactful visuals such as this video of a train traveling through a narrow alley.

The train makes its way through the tight path every day at 4pm and 7pm, barely clearing houses and motorbikes. As there have been accidents in the past, residents seclude themselves in their homes as the train passes by.

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A Look at Vietnam's Love Hotels

Walk through any urban public space in Europe, South America or the US and chances are you’ll encounter a young couple doing…couple’s things. Public spaces are an escape from the oversight of family and parents, who, no doubt, would disapprove of their shenanigans. But, in Vietnam, public displays of affection are generally taboo. So where do couples (and cheating husbands) go to spend alone time?

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Vietnam's Ancient Villages Face Serious Problems

Vietnam realized long ago that its ancient villages and towns would be big hits with foreign tourists. Over the last 15 years, the country has rushed to protect its historical heritage by anointing some locales as national relics and others as UNESCO world heritage sites. With these titles come tight restrictions on land use, building and repairs which can make things a nightmare for locals who don’t have the funds to work within these constraints.

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Local Director Heading to Cannes Film Festival

Vietnamese director, Tran Dung Thanh Huy, will be showing his short film, 16:30, at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The film follows a group of street kids who sell lottery tickets in Saigon’s streets and alleys starting at 4:30pm every afternoon.

Following his five awards at YxineFF 2012, Huy was chosen to participate in Voyage A Cannes, a program that brings Vietnamese artists to the Cannes Film Festival.

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Vietnamese Celebrities Flaunt Their Wealth

It’s no secret that for most in Vietnam (and most of the world for that matter), success is measured by accumulation of wealth. For the country's celebrities who live in the spotlight, showing off their expensive cars and jewelry is a necessity for creating and maintain their image. But in a country where the average GDP per capita is $1407, these ostentatious displays of wealth are rubbing some people the wrong way.

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Stunning Street Art in Saigon

French street artist, Julien Malland, AKA Seth Globepainter, travels the world using buildings as a canvas for his huge murals. Collaborating with local artists, he tries to learn new artistic techniques while creating pieces that are aesthetically and socially contextual. A graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, Julien Malland has painted murals in Vietnam, India, China, Cambodia, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and many other countries.

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A Brief Look at Catholic Funeral Rites in Saigon

For me, as most of us non-nationals living here in Saigon, the word funeral only evokes ideas of dreadful sounds emanating from a tent set up halfway in the street and haltering the flow of traffic. They can be bad enough to drive by, god forbid having one posted outside your own window. Three days of disturbances can seem like an eternal punishment at times. There is, of course more to the story than just making noise, as it can tend to seem sometimes.

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Digital Media/Art Project Launching This Month

If you’re a creative, digital-minded person who is passionate about Indochina, here’s a great project for you. Riverorchid Digital, an agency specializing in branding, PR and media, is embarking on a project to discover and celebrate Indochina through digital media and creativity. They want to find out what Indochina really means to a modern, digitally connected world by asking its people to share their views; creating a crowd-sourced integrated online and real world art event unlike anything seen before in this region.

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Forget the Fockers, Meet the Nguyễns

Meeting the girlfriend’s parents is an intimidating experience in any culture. So what’s the best way to add even more awkwardness to an already awkward situation? Meeting the parents of a girl from a different culture, of course!

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What to do Along the Mekong

There are many things that set Saigon apart from other sprawling cities – the laid back lifestyle, the food, the people. But no matter how unique, the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic and heat permeating from the concrete jungle are inescapable reminders that you are truly an urban dweller. Luckily, if one travels a few hours in any direction, they are likely to encounter one of Vietnam’s magical natural settings. One of these places is the Mekong Delta, only a stone’s throw from Saigon.

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