Hoi An, Vietnam

Lights, lanterns and lunar festivals in the most enchanting town in Vietnam: Hoi An

andygoestoasia

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Hoi An is a habitable relic. This Central-Vietnamese coastline town finds its origins way back in the 1st Century, evolving from an ambitious Champa Kingdom harbour into what would become (over a millenium later) the locus of South-East Asian trade. From the 15th to 19th centuries, Hoi An was positively buzzing with commercial and cultural growth. The port had dealings reaching across over Asia, Europe and Africa, such was the demand for the materials supplied in this idyllic coastal pocket. As such, exposure to different cultures and influences through trade and immigration (primarily Chinese and Japanese, mind) coalesced into the town’s own architecture and culture. This can be seen to this day, as once again Hoi An opens its gates to visitors from around the globe. The equally quaint and impressive sights of the town have been fastidiously preserved, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical importance.

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Gay Malaysia

“Me liking guys, it's a really hard thing because I really love being a Muslim,” he said. “At the same time, it feels really a burden because Islam says you cannot be a gay guy." Read what it's like to be gay in Malaysia, here.

Saigon at Night

Ho Chi Minh City puts on its boldest face at night. This sprawling metropolis of 7.4 million locals, ex-pats, backpackers, street vendors, moonlighters, xeom drivers and so on and so forth comes alive as the sun (and the heat) comes down. Read more, here.

andygoestoasia

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Ho Chi Minh City puts on its boldest face at night. This sprawling metropolis of 7.4 million locals, ex-pats, backpackers, street vendors, moonlighters, xeom drivers and so on and so forth comes alive as the sun (and the heat) comes down. It’s as if the Vietnamese turn on a massive generator that powers up the sleeping beast of Saigon. Come evening, millions of lights suddenly outline everything; from the tallest skyscrapers to the dinkiest little phone shops. All of a sudden it’s easier to navigate the city. Places you wouldn’t give a second glance at during the day become vital landmarks at night. And you feel as if it’s time to get up and do something.

Your focus turns to what is illuminated. People eating together on the sidewalk. Hustlers on motorbikes trying to sell tourists ‘massages’. The Vincom Mall and Bitexco Building, towering commercial infrastructures pushing brands like Gucci which noone can afford…

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Gay Vietnam

What’s it like to be gay in Vietnam? I interview a local, here.

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Thien Ba Lam, nicknamed ‘Fo’, is a school teacher from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam. I sat down on Skype to talk to him about his experiences using Grindr, and what role it plays in the lives of gay men in the buzzing, motor-bike filled city.

How big is Grindr in Vietnam?

It’s huge. Every single gay person has Grindr on their phone.

Why is it so big in Vietnamese society?

Well, we don’t have a lot of places to go to meet other gay people. I hate bars and nightclubs, so we need another medium for meeting which is gay apps. Among all these gay apps, Grindr is the most popular.

What kind of impact may Grindr have for a Vietnamese gay person whose family may not accept their sexuality?

For me it’s a way of trying to get close to people who are in the…

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Kuala Lumpur Food Tour

If there’s one thing I gained in Malaysia, it’s kilograms. Here’s my Top 8 places to eat in Kuala Lumpur!

andygoestoasia

“We are a food city. One that caters to the food-obsessed: one that alternates between street and traditional dining, at any budget and time of the day.

There are so many dishes that define us, from the contentious nasi lemak to the humble roti canai.

Loosen your belt – you’ve got much eating to do.”

Time Out KL, July 2016 issue.

If there’s one thing I’ve gained in Kuala Lumpur, it’s kilograms. From mega malls to street hawkers, this city wheels and deals food tirelessly. Laksas, Pan Mee, ABC and Teh Tarik, KL’s food tapestry is as rich and colourful as its citizens. This is diversity; this is Malaysia.

Ok lah?

Here are the venues I’ve visited that make my trousers tight (in no particular order).

  1. Kedai Kopi dan Makanan Chun Heong

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Address: 14-16, Lorong Ara Kiri 2, Taman Lucky Garden, Lucky Garden, Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar, 59100.

Eat: Chicken…

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Mui Ne

Why Mui Ne is the best beach getaway in Vietnam!

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

Mui Ne is a small beach town about 24 kilometres east of Phan Thiet. By small I mean small. One long sandy road compromises the activity of this sleepy hub, openly inviting the work-weary to kick back and enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

While modest, Mui Ne’s size contributes to it’s appeal. There’s no rush to get anywhere or to see anything. It’s all there, just a short walk or cycle away should something take your fancy.

It’s a relatively quiet place that has a laid-back, breezy quality to it. Even in peak seasons you’ll see only a modest amount of tourists pottering about in their sunnies and sandals. Mui Ne’s residents are mostly compromised of hospilality workers, sleepy security guards, tour guides in their jeep-come-batmobiles, and fisher-folk. Wake up early enough and you can catch the townsfolk on their way to…

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