On the road in Vietnam, thinking about three decades of change

The view from Graham Green’s room, Continental Hotel, Saigon
© Mark Bowyer

In March 2024, I led our Vietnam by the Book tour over 16 days, from Hanoi to Saigon. It gave me cause for gratitude and a lot to think about.

Three decades exploring Vietnam and witnessing a remarkable transformation across the country, has given me countless unforgettable experiences and plenty to think about. It’s been an extraordinary privilege to be welcomed during a period of such dramatic change in the country.

In 1990, Vietnam was still opening to the western world after decades of estrangement. Victory in the Vietnam War and the liberation of Cambodia from Pol Pot’s genocidal rule, left Vietnam shunned by the west and subjected to a crippling US trade embargo. This was one of the poorest countries in the world.

When I arrived in Saigon for the first time in June 1990, everything was changing.  This was an optimistic and compelling place to be. I stayed for decades.

In a recent video (above) and blog over at our sister website, independent travel guide Rusty Compass, I consider some of the remarkable things about Vietnam’s three decades of change.

Fresh from leading our Vietnam by the Book 16 day experience, I know how Vietnam’s stories continue to captivate travellers.

You can check out the blog piece here.

If Vietnam by the Book sounds interesting, check it out here or sign up for updates on our book based tours.

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Seven decades after Graham Greene foretold America’s catastrophe in Vietnam, his book still makes sense to travellers with an interest in history. On our Vietnam by the Book tour, Greene’s work guides us in Hanoi, Ninh Binh and Saigon. We also finish our tour with a stay in the h...more