City Pass Guide’s Best Articles from 2018

Blogs - Vietnam: Jan. 10, 2019

In 2018, we covered topics that shot straight into the heart of Saigon. Our writers dug deep into the city’s food culture, the country’s plastic problems, women’s roles in Vietnamese society and where we think Vietnam is going in terms of being an international destination for tourism, business and hospitality. We’re proud of what we created and excited about where we’re going next.

Here is a selection of what we think sums up our best writing of the year. We hope you enjoy our little trip down nostalgia lane.

Best Craft Beer in Saigon

First up is an article from our BEST OF series, which was a new addition to our content stream in 2018. For more than 10 years, City Pass Guide has taken the time to seek out the best places for visitors and locals to experience all sides of Saigon and Hanoi, but now we’ve taken our guide services to a new level by publishing a BEST OF each and every week.

Mervin Lee, our resident food writer, took the listicle format to a new level with his ultimate guides to ice cream, sushi, and bakeries but it was his guide to the Best Craft Beer in Saigon that really took things over the top (or hop, pun intended).

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Behind the Bleach

The article Behind the Bleach: Vietnamese Women’s Obsession with White Skin by JK Hobson delves into a topic that could make lesser writers uncomfortable, but JK is never one to shy away from controversy, as witnessed in his article Who is an Expat and Who is an Immigrant? (even his blog about where to find the Best Burgers in Saigon could be labeled contentious, considering JK is from New York City where burgers are taken very seriously.)

This high-ranking article discusses topics such as: Why are there so many skin-bleaching products on display in the grocery store? What are the health effects? Is the practice of skin bleaching rooted in colonialism or simply an Asian phenomenon often blamed on the West? Find the answers to these questions and more.

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Mission Impossible? Learning Vietnamese as a Foreigner in Saigon

Another slightly touchy piece by Mervin Lee, Mission Impossible? Learning Vietnamese as a Foreigner in Saigon discusses the difficulties and obstacles that English-speaking foreigners face when attempting to learn Vietnamese while living in Ho Chi Minh City. Beyond tips and tricks about the complicated linguistics of this notoriously difficult tonal language, various teachers and schools gave their heartfelt opinion about the matter.

We even featured an amazing Vietnamese language club which foreigners and locals can join for free every Sunday. Read the full article to find out more!

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The Gender Gap in Vietnam is Narrower Than You Might Think

Molly Headley, City Pass Guide’s Content Manager, analysed an important issue that was a hot topic in 2018 as #metoo and #leanin movements took off worldwide.

Where do we stand in terms of gender equality in business, society and beyond in Vietnam?

Perhaps surprisingly, the situation in Vietnam is rather unique in Asia. The majority of microenterprises in Vietnam are owned by women, and the country is also seeing an increase in women taking on managerial position in large corporations as well as top positions in the government. Read on to find out more about how women are shaping the country in volatile times.

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Angee’s the Diva ‘This Week in Saigon: Best Events’ Series

Angee the Diva is City Pass Guide’s resident Entertainment Correspondent, but that’s not all! She’s also a local comedian and one of the most recognisable figures in Saigon’s events and nightlife scene; more than well-equipped to be Ho Chi Minh City’s event guru.

Check our website or Facebook page every Wednesday night for the diva’s Best Events of the Week and stay tuned for a dedicated Events page on our new website - soon to be released! One less reason to complain about how boring your weekend is in sunny Saigon.

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Hidden Havens: Vietnam’s Up and Coming Destinations

We’re sure anyone can relate to the feeling of needing an alternative. Had pho too many times this week? We’re sure a great bowl of piping hot bun rieu would suffice to satisfy similar cravings. Mark’s Gwyther, a tourism expert and guest writer for City Pass Guide, dishes up some alternatives for the best, off-the-beaten-track destinations for your next vacation in his article Hidden Havens. This list provides an equal dose of planning and travel anxiety relief when it comes to avoiding locations in Vietnam, which are often too touristy during peak seasons. Our personal favourite has to be his suggestion of visiting Ninh Binh over Halong Bay which definitely lives up to the hype of being Halong’s equally magnificent terrestrial brother!

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Pros and Cons of Raising Children in an Expat Environment

Keely Burkey was City Pass Guide’s former Content Manager before leaving Vietnam to return to the US last February. She covered such diverse topics as Agent Orange, whether District 4 will become the new District 1 and the Vietnamese movie industry but one article stands out as being especially relevant for our readers. Keely spoke to child psychologists, educational specialists and parents to give us an in-depth look at the effects that living abroad might have on our children. Read more here.

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Will You Recognise Saigon in 2020?

Sivaraj Pragasm is one of our most prolific freelance writers at City Pass Guide. Hailing from Singapore, he also happens to be somewhat ‘’over-qualified’ to talk about Saigon’s sparkling skyscrapers. In particular, find out about the dramatic changes to arrive across the city’s skyline? Join him in this eye dazzling, forward-gazing list of some of the most jaw dropping current and future developments in Ho Chi Minh City.

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A Brief History of the Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Contrary to what you might think, this article about one of Saigon’s oldest tourist attractions by Brennan Lagman, one of CPG’s newest additions, might actually lead you to change your preconceptions about what is widely considered a sad place.

A temple to commemorate Vietnamese freedom fighters during the end of the colonial period and a museum that sports a garden that houses a massive collection of 260 plants. Did you also know that the the zoo, also known as Thao Cam Vien in Vietnamese, is actually more than 150 years old? No more procrastinating - read the article to find out more.

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Trashing Tourism: Travelling in Vietnam and the Litter Problem

Over the last year, businesses such as Zero Waste Saigon and collectives such as Rethink Plastic have brought Vietnam’s litter problem more to light. City Pass Guide writer Lucie Sherwood dives into Vietnam’s collective trash bin to find out why there is so much plastic floating in Halong Bay and what we can do to fight the inevitable overflowing landfills in Vietnam’s most visited destinations. Don’t miss this delving insight into the key issues and potential solutions to the country’s litany of litter.

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Mekong Damming: What are The Environmental and Social Impacts?

Everybody knows about the Mekong Delta, but how many really know it? For example, we’re pretty sure most people never knew that the Mekong is home to a withering population of freshwater dolphins. This alone is a great motivation to click here but it isn’t the only reason. Robert Fouldes’ in-depth article lays out what is happening to the agriculture, wildlife and communities that count on the Mekong River for their survival as big damming projects move in upriver.

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Planning Developments for Vietnam Tourism

Patrick Gaveau, CEO of City Pass Guide, weighs in on the measures that Vietnam should take to keep the country’s tourism industry healthy in his article Planning Developments for Vietnam Tourism. Phrases like mass tourism, infrastructure instability, and environmental sustainability sound alarm bells for the future of Vietnam. However, there is a silver lining as well, the beauty of the country and kindness of its people continue to draw travellers from all over the world. Now Vietnam just has to decide how to deal with them.

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