Where I’m At: August, 2019 – Saigon edition

Where I’m At: August, 2019 – Saigon edition

Greetings from Saigon and another edition of Where I’m At – my monthly summary of where I’ve been and site news.

Where I’ve Been


I began the month in Hanoi for what has become an annual visit. Even if I’m not going to Hanoi, you can’t help but go through there if you are visiting somewhere in the north. In this case I had just been to Haiphong. I often wonder if I could live there, but I prefer living in Saigon. I will need to spend a couple of weeks here in the future though as I don’t know the city very well and I need to make a Future Hanoi guide at Living In Asia.


I usually plan my travels around expiring visa dates, and midway through the month my visa was due to expire. Sometimes I go somewhere familiar like Bangkok. In this case I checked the Wiki page of Tan Son Nhat Airport for a place I haven’t been, which is how I ended up in Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan.

I liked Kaohsiung the moment I saw it out of the plane window. The airport is close to the city, and there is a metro from the airport. It has great night markets and a big city feel, but it doesn’t appear to get many visitors. I will have a trip review soon.

[Edit: Here is my trip report.]


Tainan is about 45 km north of Kaohsiung and there are high-speed and local commuter trains that connect the two cities. The high-speed stations are further out of town so I got the local train there. Given that they are so close to each other I was surprised to see that VietJet also fly there from Ho Chi Minh City.

Tainan has a historical centre which is not anywhere near the centre. I walked from the train station, which took hours when including stops on the way. I will also post about Tainan later as it should be a stop to include if you are travelling down the west coast of Taiwan.


There are direct flights from Kaohsiung to Kansai, so that was an easy way to get to Japan. Last year when I went to Osaka I thought I might just pop over to Kyoto for a day trip. As I was soon to discover, one does not simply pop over to Kyoto for a visit. There are many historic sites spread out around the city that need a few days to visit. I wasn’t planning to see everything, and I didn’t wan’t to rush around either. I also wanted to see the city life of Kyoto, beyond all the temples that you see on Instagram and promotional articles.

[Edit: Here is my trip report.]


Part of my future Japan travel strategy will be to visit Tokyo and another new place in Japan for the next few years. Like my trip last year, I hopped to Japan via Taiwan rather than taking a direct overnight flight.

I have a few friends in Tokyo that used to live in Saigon. I caught up with Chris, who runs an amazing Tokto travel guide. I also caught up with Jimmy from Minaal, who makes carry-on travel bags.

Tokyo - Jimmy and James
[Jimmy from Minaal and Yours Truly from Nomadic Notes.]

I get severe infrastructure envy being in Tokyo. The metro map is a marvel to look at, and it inspires me to make some more concept metro maps. Notes on my Tokyo visit will follow.


In between travels I was back in home base Saigon. I’m still catching up on blog posts from my trip in May, so I’ve just been keeping a low profile and getting work done. I completed a guide to Long Thanh International Airport, which will be (eventually) the second airport of Ho Chi Minh City.

ICYMI – Last Months Posts

The Acropolis and the saga of the Parthenon Marbles

Notes on Guangzhou – A worthy stopover city beyond the trade fair

Flight Review: Bamboo Airways – Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

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  1. Greetings from Shanghai! Great to catch up with you here, James!

    Always fun to follow and to read your latest happenings.

    Hope to run into you in Saigon soon!



  2. I was very curious about the film poster, how advertising fits in with the type of culture, the language, how much diversity there is in the world! Great post!

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