Travel Newsletter - 11 December 2020

Lao Cai (a city in Vietnam on the China border), future new hotels in Danang, the Eiger Express, atrium hotels, train journeys in Europe for 2021, NYC's Chinatown, and more.

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City! Lots of travel reads this week, even if our travels are restricted. Before I ended up being based in Southeast Asia, I used to spend a fair chunk of the year in Europe. I lived in the London, Dublin, Lucerne, and a lot of time in Budapest. 2020 will be the first year I didn’t visit Europe since I first went to London in 1999.

One of the things I love about Europe is the railways, so some links below have me dreaming of future travels. I have another website about European railways as well, so I will introduce a new project I’m working on in a future newsletter.

Latest posts at Nomadic Notes

Notes on Lao Cai – The provincial capital on the Vietnam-China border

Lao Cai is the capital city of the province of the same name, in the Northwest region of Vietnam.

COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)

The year the earth stood still

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought travel around the world to an abrupt halt in 2020. Nations are still trying to grasp the consequences, and restarting movement could take years.”

What’s it like in New Zealand’s managed isolation?

My travel blogging friends Lauren and Dave have moved from the UK to NZ (Dave is a Kiwi), and this is what it’s like to move during the pandemic.

It's time to stop traveling

“As the pandemic surges, it's time to stay home”, by Chris McGinnis at SFGATE.

The sadness of the trips not taken

“As a year of disruption closes, those with scrapped travel plans grapple with a sense of loss about places not seen, experiences not had, people not hugged and time that’s impossible to get back.”

Go to telework…on the Narita Express?

“There was a pandemic?” What life is like in countries without COVID

“COVID infections are low to nonexistent in several countries, where life looks practically normal. Some people even occasionally forget there’s a pandemic going on.”

I’m in a country without COVID (Vietnam) but I wouldn’t say no one is unaware of it, though maybe being in the travel business makes me acutely aware of it.

Travel news

Six of the best new train journeys in Europe for 2021

The world’s highest mountain has grown by two feet

“China and Nepal have announced the new height for Mount Everest after previous disagreements on including the snow cap.”

The world's first underwater roundabout is opening in the Faroe Islands

Some further reading on the underwater tunnels (hat-tip to @travelhappy).

Assorted travel reads

Da Nang construction update – 2020 edition

For Living In Asia I did an update on major building projects in Danang under construction in 2020. Maybe by the time you can visit there will be some new hotels open.

Saving NYC’s Chinatown, one Instagram at a time

The Swiss mountain that’s changing forever

“The new Eiger Express speeds visitors from the village of Grindelwald to a 7,637-foot station on the Eiger, passing in front of the Swiss mountain’s legendary North Face.”

193 countries in 17 years: Singaporean woman who has been to every country in the world, mostly solo

Teraanga: The word that defines Senegal

The man behind Dubai's record-breaking garden

“Abdel Naser Rahal designed a flower garden in a desert landscape. Seven years later, his detailed creations continue to impress visitors.”

How a hunger for home, and rubber, fueled rise of Singapore’s ‘Mamak’ stalls

Into the heart of the atrium hotel

“In the 1970s, new downtown hotels often boasted soaring atrium lobbies, filled with glass elevators, bars and restaurants. What’s inside this uniquely American building style?”

One country, one picture, one year

The world’s most iconic dishes, according to locals

Visualizing the most populous countries in the world


Contiguous 41 States

Here is one for my Hawaiian and Alaskan friends who are tired of being left off the map (and Tasmanians and New Zealanders for that matter). This map by xkcd shows only 41 of 48 contiguous states. Even though I’m not American, I’m a geography nerd and I’m not bad at the US state jigsaw competition. I got stumped on a few here though.

The intriguing maps that reveal alternate histories

“What if major elections, wars and events had turned out differently? Samuel Arbesman explores the detail and delights of maps that plot alternative worlds to our own.”

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The Travel Newsletter by Nomadic Notes is a weekly newsletter of the best travel reads and interesting travel news, and random ramblings by the editor.

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- James Clark