The Globejotting Travel Show on Expat Radio

Episode 1: Travel Serendipity and Where to Go in Vietnam

Air Date: October 31, 2017 ~ Replay November 6

The Globejotting Travel Show is a new program hosted by travel writer and award-winning humorist Dave Fox. The first episode streamed on October 31 on Expat Radio, an English-language Internet radio station based in France.

Click the player below to listen to this episode.

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Travel serendipity is our theme for Episode One. Dave tells a bizarre story of how a conversation in France re-launched his radio career after 25 years. He explains how he ended up moving to Vietnam after an accidental trip there in 2008, and he chats with Brian Letwin, co-founder of the Saigoneer website, about things to do in Ho Chi Minh City and beyond. He wraps up his first episode with another tale of an incredible travel coincidence – a story that spans from a small island in Malaysia to a small, fjordside village in Norway. Also, find out how you can win a free enrollment in both of Dave’s online travel writing courses.

Program Notes

Living in Ho Chi Minh City and Travel Tips for Vietnam

Brian Letwin, co-founder of the Saigoneer website, is Dave’s guest. The Saigoneer features information about things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, lots of great street food recommendations, a daily round-up of local news, and more.

You can check out Brian’s website at Saigoneer.com.

In his interview, Brian discusses destinations (listed here in the order they are mentioned) including:

  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): Brian and Dave’s adopted town in southern Vietnam. Brian recommends visiting Chợ Lớn (Saigon’s Chinatown) for its great food and French colonial architecture, and the Saigon Zoo, for its longstanding heritage as a botanical research center. Dave and Brian agree the best thing to do in Saigon is wander aimlessly. As far as guidebook-recommended attractions go, Dave recommends the War Remnants Museum. (And another activity they never got around to mentioning, which is one of Dave’s top recommendations is the Water Puppets, which you can experience in Saigon, Hanoi, and elsewhere.)
  • Bùi Viện Street: While they agree on a lot, Brian and Dave have differing opinions on this crazy thoroughfare that slices through the heart of Saigon’s budget traveler neighborhood. Brian refers to it as the “red light district.” Dave agrees that yes, the sorts of vice one expects to find in a red light district are available here, but he also notes that in recent years, the street has transformed from a backpacker ghetto into a popular late-night spot for young Vietnamese adults. Dave recommends Bùi Viện Street as a place where travelers can easily connect with local residents (in ways more wholesome than one encounters in traditional red light districts).
  • Dalat: This mid-sized town in Vietnam’s Central Highlands offers a cool (in temperature and vibe) respite from the chaos of Vietnam’s larger cities.
  • Nha Trang: A popular beach town in central Vietnam.
  • Hanoi: Vietnam’s capital is located in the north of the country. A fascinating city, Hanoi is also the jumping off point for excursions to places such as Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, and Sapa.
  • Cat Tien National Park: Halfway between Saigon and Dalat, Cat Tien is easily reached by bus, Brian says. He recommends it for travelers who want an off-the-tourist-trodden path experience but who aren’t wanting to rent a motorbike and venture into more remote areas.
  • Mekong Delta: Dave recommends a couple of nights in the Mekong, visiting the floating markets and otherworldly brick factories, among other things. His pal, Trần Phúc, is a private tour guide in the Mekong Delta. He can arrange visits via private car or take you there on his motorbike. Phúc (rhymes with “book”) also offers local adventures and street food tours in Saigon.
  • Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay: An hour’s drive from Hanoi, Halong Bay is known for its limestone karst islets that poke up from the sea. The scenery is stunning; however, water pollution is sadly a problem. Nearby Bai Tu Long Bay offers the same scenery but with fewer tourists.
  • Ninh Binh: Touted in marketing materials as “Halong Bay on land,” Ninh Binh is also known for its limestone karst formations. Brian notes it is less touristed than Halong Bay.
  • Sapa: An overnight (or all-day) train ride from Hanoi, Sapa is located near the Chinese border. It’s a popular area for mountain trekking and for getting to know several of Vietnam’s indigenous, ethnic minority groups. Brian notes that while Sapa itself is seeing lots of construction, nearby communities offer serenity among the shimmering rice paddies. (For trekking, homestays, and volunteer opportunities with local communities, Dave recommends Sapa O’Chau.)

There are other great spots in central Vietnam, which Brian and Dave never got around to mentioning on this episode, including Hoi An, Hue, and Danang. For islands, consider Phu Quoc and Côn Đảo.

From Drøbak to Tioman and Back

2012: The Orange Chalet and Bar on Tioman Island in Malaysia

The tale Dave tells about his serendipitous travel experience, which bounces from Norway to Malaysia and back again, is a story he originally wrote as a two-part series for this website in 2014. You can read the original version here:

Stories and Suggestions Wanted ~ Win Cool Online Travel Writing Courses!

Dave wants to make his show as interactive as possible … and he needs your help! If you’ve got suggestions for program topics or guests, travel questions, or amazing travel tales of your own that you’d like to share on a future episode, you can e-mail Dave here.

And hey … even if you aren’t bursting with immediate, brilliant ideas, Dave would love to hear from you. Drop him an e-mail, tell him who you are, where you’re listening from, and anything else you feel like sharing.

Everyone who e-mails Dave within a week of the day the first episode streams on Expat Radio and tells him they heard the show will be entered to win free enrollment in Dave’s travel journaling and freelance travel writing workshops.

(Entries will be accepted until one week after the replay of the show on November 6.)

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