Menu
Scroll to top

Asia

Why I love the nanny state

Why I love the nanny state

Thanks to living in Vietnam, I love the nanny state more than ever. In fact, I look forward to rushing back into her protective arms and giving her a great big cuddle, writes Tabitha Carvan.

The top five Asian dishes for tourists to try

The top five Asian dishes for tourists to try

Bite. Chew. Swallow. It is easier said than done. Particularly when faced with a deep fried tarantula the size of your hand or an embryonic egg, sevens weeks in the making. Travelling through Asia can challenge many of your attributes but none more acutely than your tastebuds and, perhaps, gag reflex. If you’re game, start chewing through this list and see where you end up.

'Fartshion': the joy of shopping in Hanoi

'Fartshion': the joy of shopping in Hanoi

At any given moment on Tạ Hiện street, Hanoi you’ll find a tourist photographing this window for the Creative Oriental Crafts Kingdom (aka COCK). This sign is clearly no accident, but an excellent business strategy, as confirmed by the store-owner in this blog. As it reported: “As it turns out ‘COCK’ stands for ‘Creative Oriental Crafts […]

Fear and self-loathing in expat-land

Fear and self-loathing in expat-land

In Vietnam, I am, and always will be, a "Tây", meaning "westerner". I’m not offended one bit by this label. Not even when I had new passport photos taken and the shop filled in the "Mr/Ms_________" section on the little receipt with “Ms Tây”, and filed it away under T.

The Vietnamese transport motto: two wheels good, four wheels bad

The Vietnamese transport motto: two wheels good, four wheels bad

Because the Vietnamese pretty much drive out of the birth canal on two wheels, they miss out on a formative experience we take for granted: adapting to four-wheeled transport.

Why your guidebook is ruining your holiday

Why your guidebook is ruining your holiday

From a comprehensive study of our friends, we’ve been able why friends seem to get the wrong impression of Vietnam. And it's the guidebooks fault, says Tabitha Carvan.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tếtness

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tếtness

For a foreigner, Tết is a stressful time, and not just because of the traffic and the short supply of individually-wrapped snacks. It’s also a cultural minefield.

Experiencing Vietnam, old school style

Experiencing Vietnam, old school style

So you’ve just launched into a travel story. An amazing tale of bravery, derring-do and batik shopping in the face of extreme food poisoning. And you’re just about to reach the climax when someone pipes up: ‘Oh, Baluchistan. I was there before it was trendy.’ Yes, it’s infuriating. No, I can’t help myself. Because (with […]

The year in review from Hanoi

The year in review from Hanoi

With the new year just past, I find myself reflecting on 2011. It was a year in which Hanoi taught me many lessons, for which I’m truly grateful. I present for you some highlights of What I Learned In 2011: 1. Your eyeballs can sweat A year in Hanoi can be divided into three parts: […]

Christmas without the tradition and religion? Welcome to Vietnam

Christmas without the tradition and religion? Welcome to Vietnam

I don’t really like Christmas. Several years ago, channelling my inner fourteen-year old, I stormed out of a family dinner and swore I would never return home for Christmas again. And because my inner fourteen-year old is about as stubborn as my outer thirty-something, I’ve stuck to my guns. This year, I’ll be swinging in […]