Saigon in 1993 – Old Compass Travel’s backstory

Notre Dame, Saigon in the 1990s
© Mark Bowyer

2023 is a big anniversary year for me – and I guess Old Compass Travel. It’s thirty years since I kicked off my travel career in Ho Chi Minh City.

30 years ago, was the start of a life-changing experience. It’s when I made the big call to shut down life in Sydney and take up a new life in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It was the beginning of three decades exploring, photographing and writing about Vietnam and its people. 

Back in 2013, on the twentieth anniversary of moving to Saigon, I penned a blog over at Rusty Compass, reflecting on those early years. It was 1993, and together with a mate from school, I co-founded Travel Indochina. They were wonderful early days.

You can check out that blog about Saigon in the early 90s at Rusty Compass here.

Everyone who lived or visited Vietnam at that time was moved by the experience. One of the world’s poorest countries, having faced decades of suffering and loss, was looking to a more optimistic future. It was an extraordinary privilege to be welcomed at a time of such dramatic change.

Every foreigner I know who experienced the optimism and the sense of adventure of Vietnam at that time, is still deeply impacted by it.

Using 1993 stills and footage, I put this video together last week that tells a little of that extraordinary story.

Join us for a unique walking tour or other experience of Saigon at Old Compass Travel. 

If you enjoy combining reading and travel, check out our 16 day small group journey, Vietnam by the Book here.

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2023 is a big anniversary year for me – and Old Compass Travel too. Big changes afoot here and it’s thirty years since I kicked off my tourism career in Ho Chi Minh City.