Saigoneer

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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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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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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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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Home Has Shifted

For just over a year now, I have been living on the edge of district one, on a street named Tran Khac Chan. It is an unremarkable street on the face of it, a typical bustling hive of activity, of which there are an uncountable amount of in Saigon. Only by living there can you start to unearth the hidden gems it holds and start to understand the lives of the people here.

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Another Step Forward for Gay Marriage in Vietnam

Vietnam is on the path to becoming the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage. This week, in Hanoi, Deputy Health Minister, Nguyen Viet Tien, told the press:

“[A]s human beings, homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else to live, eat, love and be loved. As citizens, they have the right to work, study, receive health care, register births and deaths, marry and discharge their duties to the state and the society.”

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The Simple Differences Between Hanoi and Saigon

Being Vietnam’s two biggest cities, Hanoi and Saigon are constantly compared to one another. Graphic designer, Nhat Le, has taken the conversation a different direction with his new book, The Difference Between Hanoi and Saigon. Containing simple yet poignant illustrations, the book does an awesome job of capturing the geographical differences in eating habits, hospitality, traffic police and dress.

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H&P Unveils Low-Cost Bamboo Home Design

When it comes to construction in Vietnam - from one-story shops to luxury office towers - one will find bricks on every site. For more than a century, these unassuming orange squares have literally laid the foundation for Vietnam’s cities, factories and commercial hubs. But local architecture firm, H&P, has released a new bamboo-based housing design that will address the multitude of housing challenges facing communities in flood-prone areas.

Bricks are the obvious choice for construction in Vietnam and in many countries around the globe. According to greenbuildingelements.com:

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Can Foreigners Rescue the VN Real Estate Market?

Since reunification, foreigners have been largely banned from owning property in Vietnam. Given the current struggles of the Vietnamese real estate market, two recent articles on Vietnam Bridge suggest that allowing foreign investment could go a long way in reversing the effects of the burst bubble.

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