Sika deer are national treasures in Nara, an ancient Japanese capital whose grand Buddhist temples and Shinto shrine are the highlights of a visit.
Author Archives: John Gottberg Anderson
59. Stepping Back: Pre-pandemic Kyoto
A stroll through the tranquil lanes of Japan’s imperial city reveals beautiful gardens, marvelous temples and a people in love with their heritage.
58. Finding Nature in a Highlands City
Surveying the urban parks of Buôn Ma Thuột, center of Dak Lak province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region.
57. Vietnam’s Central Coast
There’s a lot to consider when planning an overland trip from Nha Trang to Ninh Binh: beaches, history, scenery, the world’s biggest cave … and beaches!
56. Exploring Vietnam’s Far North
Thoughts on planning a trip from Hanoi to the mountain resort town of Sapa, as well as the Perfume Pagoda and lovely Ninh Binh.
55. On Reopening the Border
With Vietnam preparing to reopen its international gateways, the author begins making plans to get back on the road.
54. Stepping Back: Malay Memories
A 1976 excursion through the Malay Peninsula introduced the author to the smell of opium, the Ten Courts of Hell, and a coven of frightening ghosts.
53. My Year in Photos: Fifteen Favorites
A selection of the author’s photos, each of them a memory from a year of Travels in Vietnam.
52. On Dating (Chapter Three): Enlightenment?
Comments from an expert on intercultural communication shed new light on the author’s relationship dilemma.
51. On Dating (Chapter Two): Now, It’s Personal
What is love, in the Vietnamese context? A successful relationship must be seen as a social contract, practical rather than romantic.
50. The Waiting to Be Vaccinated Blues
COVID-19 vaccinations haven’t yet arrived in the Central Highlands in any significant quantity. The author is more than ready.
49. Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Vietnam
There are contradictions galore in contemporary Vietnamese culture. “You can’t kiss in the street, but you can piss in the street,” one longtime resident noted.
48. Stepping Back: North Sumatra
Lake Toba, the great volcanic lake in a remote reach of Indonesia, was once an essential stop on the Asian “hippie trail.” The author shares memories.
47. Vietnam and China: No Love Lost
Vietnam is not one of China’s biggest fans. The reasons may be rooted in a long and combative history, but they extend today to a perceived lack of respect.
46. Vũng Tàu Getaway
Vũng Tàu, the nearest seaside community to massive Ho Chi Minh City, is a clean and quiet resort town just two hours’ travel from the urban center.
45. Dear Vietnam: 10 Things I Love About You
Count on your fingers or toes. Here are two handfuls of reasons why Vietnam is a great country to be living in.
44. Stepping Back: Yogyakarta
The author reflects on his long-ago visit to central Java, especially the great religious monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan and the vibrant culture.
43. They’re Not Like Us, Bill (Part 2)
Continuing his musings on differences between Vietnamese and Western values, the author takes on curiosity and gratitude — in a culture with “no queues, no order, no concessions.”
42. They’re Not Like Us, Bill (Part 1)
The author finds himself challenged to understand and accept the values and mindset of his Vietnamese hosts, without surrendering his own Western standards.
41. The Lady Buddha
The bodhisattva Quan Âm has a following in Vietnam comparable to the Buddha himself. Sometimes called ‘Lady Buddha,’ her image is found at places of worship throughout the country.