May 17, 2016
On Monday, May 23rd, President Obama is scheduled to make his first official visit to Vietnam. To commemorate the occasion, we present the President with four must-visit locales. Each of these destinations represents a symbolic layer of Vietnam’s identity. Together, they form a panorama of 21st century Vietnam. This Vietnam isn’t about pho and spring rolls anymore.
WORK is HCMC’s answer to the functional coffee shops of America and Europe. The city’s most popular co-working destination, it fuses a traditional quiet study environment with a swimming pool, house-roasted coffee, and a series of creativity workshops led by world-renowned design agencies. Patrons can also enjoy cuisine served by local chefs. By purchasing membership, President Obama will receive a reserved seat in the working area, free use of creativity studios and his very own locker. A great place to prepare for the G7 summit while soaking up HCMC’s regional flavors.
HKFilm, Ho Chi Minh City
HKFilm is Vietnam’s blend of Pixar and Paramount. Over 10 years old, the studio has shot everything from feature films and TV series to gaming contests and reality shows. In the stories told by HKFilm’s directors, Obama will find the dreams, sorrows, and quirks that inspire and characterize Vietnam’s many generations. Not a bad way to understand the spirit of a country. One of the studio’s recent works is Sweet 20, a comedy about an angry old lady who is transformed into her 20-year old self with an added gift: a new found talent for singing. The film broke box office records and is now the country’s #1 film. Below is the trailer of a soon to be released Tam Cam, a remake of a famous Vietnamese fairy tale – perhaps a family outing with Michelle and the girls?
Cong Vien 30-4, Ho Chi Minh City
A green oasis in the middle of the madhouse that is Saigon, this charming park serves as a favorite gathering spot for HCMC’s younger generation. Their spirit can be felt very vividly here. On Sunday mornings, among the tree lined path walks, visitors will find scores of college students and school kids socializing with friends nearby, texting with friends far away on their smart phones, as they sip coffee, strum their guitars and dream and sing. The President shouldn’t be surprised if a few students approach him and ask to practice their English. Cong Vien30-4 offers a look into the country’s budding generation.
HoanKiem Lake, Hanoi
In direct juxta position to Cong Vien30-4, HoHoanKiemin Hanoi is a portrait of the Vietnam steeped in centuries of tradition. Upon sunrise, we recommend the President go for a promenade along the lakeside to take in the gorgeous views. As he strolls, he will find groups of locals practicing traditional Vietnamese line dancing, elders practicing Tai Chi, and youngsters competing in fierce games of badminton. Getting up extra early offers a view of the hundreds of fruits, vegetables, and other local produce that are hauled to the lakeside to be sold. He will notice that no one is self-conscious here; the locals all gather at sunrise to practice the traditions that have been built into their lives through many generations.
From the old to the new and the new to the old, this is 21st century Vietnam.
Discover the New Vietnam!
Go to Expedia.com to start your Vietnam trip.
Did you know there’s a Sheraton in Saigon? For all available hotels in Vietnam, take a look at Hotels.com.
Want to make your friends envious? Tell them “I stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at Ho Chi Minh City.”
Last of all, don’t forget Travel insurance. Like glue, boring but necessary.