Greetings from Nha Trang! Here is the November 2020 edition of Where I’m At – my monthly summary of where I’ve been and site news.
Where I’ve been
I started the month in Saigon where I’ve been happily hiding out from the pandemic. Vietnam is now over 50 days without a reported local case. This could change very quickly, as the last Da Nang outbreak proved.
They keep talking about restarting flights here, but we could end up being in a sealed off bubble for the next year. I’m now watching Malaysia, where they recently recorded its first 1000 case day and is in a new lockdown. I was hoping for an ASEAN travel bubble but it won’t happen with Malaysia now. Taiwan would be a good travel bubble candidate, having now clocked over 200 days without a local case.
In Vietnam public health takes priority over economic growth. As Europe has shown, opening up too early is now costing them more lockdowns. Masks are still required here as well, which I am cool with. Everyone knows the limited resources the country has, so better to do everything to prevent a new outbreak before the fact.
The more urgent concern in Vietnam has been the storms that have been slamming Central Vietnam. Consecutive storms have caused flooding in several provinces, with over 100 dead and thousands displaced. Vietnam experienced its biggest storm in 20 years, and now another even bigger one is on the way.
My friend Ben in Phong Nha is in the flood zone, and they have been experiencing rain on biblical proportions. Here is a short video of the floods in Phong Nha.
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I had planned to travel to Da Nang and to the south of Hoi An for some articles I’m working on. I knew that Central Vietnam starts getting wet in October, but I figured how bad could it be? This year, terrible. I had to cancel some non-refundable flights, but that was the least of my worries compared to residents of Central Vietnam who have lost everything.
In the work department I’m spending more time on Living In Asia as that site has the best chance for future growth for the next few years. I did two blog posts at Nomadic Notes, and I am happy to keep it ticking over like that, alongside the weekly travel newsletter.
I had two trips cancelled this month due to ongoing storms in Central Vietnam. I was itching to go somewhere so I booked a trip to the beach city of Nha Trang. For this trip I’m updating the Future Nha Trang guide and to see how the city is faring during these Covid times. Nha Trang is usually busy with Russian and Chinese tourists. Now with no international tourism the tourist areas feel like a ghost town. It makes me feel grim for the future of the tourism industry for the next few years, especially when you consider how many of these tourism businesses will be permanently closed. I will do a blog post about what Nha Trang looks like in 2020.