Travel Newsletter - 19 June, 2020

The new Phnom Penh airport, Bourdain in Southeast Asia, a horizontal skyscraper, and quarantined hippies.

A weekly newsletter of great travel reads and news by James Clark from Nomadic Notes.

This week I did some domestic travel in Vietnam, travelling along the coast from Tuy Hoa to Quy Nhon. Both cities aren’t exactly on the international tourism radar, but that may change in the future. I was doing some research for stories at Nomadic Notes and Living In Asia.

While it’s been great to be stranded inside the Vietnam domestic travel bubble, I don’t think international travel is going to get back to normal this year. New Zealand had all but vanquished the rona, only to have two new cases imported. And I mentioned last week about how Cambodia want tourists to pay a $3000 deposit, and now Australia is proposing that travellers pay for 14-day hotel quarantine. That is if you can get in, as borders are likely to stay closed until next year. I’m not counting on getting back to my homeland this year, which would be only the third year in my life when I wasn’t in Australia (the other years being 2000 and 2016).

I’ve been travelling for most of this week so I didn’t get time to write a new blog at Nomadic Notes. I feel like I am getting back to normal where I am weeks and months between travelling and writing about it. I did write an article about the new Phnom Penh airport. Hopefully by the time it is ready the government isn’t going to ask for a $3000 deposit from you.

COVID-19 Travel News

Life on the road in pandemic America

“Truck stops instead of motels, hand sanitizer instead of candy and 16 tanks of fuel to buy an oddball van and drive it home.”

Cambodians revel in now tourist-free Angkor Wat

“The new coronavirus has left its mark on Angkor Wat, the world’s top tourist attraction. Foreign visitors are rare, the elephants are being rehoused and local businesses have gone bankrupt, but for Cambodians it’s a chance to reclaim their heritage.”

This Airport in Taiwan is opening for pretend vacations and flights to nowhere (video)

“Songshan Airport in Taiwan is helping people get a temporary travel fix.”

Sydney’s airport deserted during coronavirus, becomes “eerie” ghost town with few travellers

“While COVID-19 has forced most of us to sit still, some travellers have been forced into the uncomfortable journey home.”

Post-pandemic, will Bali rethink tourism?

“After COVID-19, what do Balinese want their island’s ‘new era’ to look like?”

Belgium to give all residents 10 free train journeys to encourage domestic tourism as lockdown ends

How Covid-19 could change plane boarding

Travel News

China's new 'horizontal skyscraper' has opened to the public

“The Crystal Skybridge is part of the Raffles City Chongqing skyscraper complex, and it has earned its nickname since it connects several parts of the complex sitting at 250m high.”

Unesco's plan to ‘revive spirit’ of devastated Mosul gets under way

“Initiative involves local communities in rebuilding their historic landmarks and neighbourhoods.”

Which is the most expensive country in the world?

Reports: British Airways to auction pieces from multimillion-dollar art collection

Assorted Travel Reads

Remembering Anthony Bourdain and his love affair with Southeast Asia

“The late, great chef-come-writer Anthony Bourdain travelled and worked extensively throughout Southeast Asia before his sudden passing in 2018. Two years on, the Globe reflects on his enduring legacy in the region.”

The quarantined hippies trapped in a jungle paradise

“When COVID flared in Panama, 20 travelers from 18 countries holed up in this eco-village and shut the gates. Things in the outside world got worse, and now they might never leave.”

Journey to the geographical center of North America

“Since 1932, the tiny town of Rugby, North Dakota, has claimed to be the geographical center of North America. But as with most things, the truth depends on who's telling it.”

Travel photographer documents dazzling ceilings of Uzbekistan’s palaces and mosques [interview]

“London-based travel photographer Christopher Wilton-Steer invites you to take a virtual journey to the heart of Central Asia. In 2019, he spent 4 months crossing 17 countries, traveling 40,000 km (24,854 miles)—by bus, car, train, boat, and horse—from London to Beijing. Following the famous Silk Road, he documented the network of ancient trading routes through the people, cultures, and architecture he encountered along the way.”

The end of tourism?

“The pandemic has devastated global tourism, and many will say ‘good riddance’ to overcrowded cities and rubbish-strewn natural wonders. Is there any way to reinvent an industry that does so much damage?”

Seven Indian hill stations that still beckon when summer becomes too hot to handle

“Built by the British as a respite from Indian summers, the subcontinent’s hill stations are as charming as ever.”

Monte Stella: Milan’s rubble mountain

“Monte Stella’s existence is not a geological serendipity. Seventy years ago, this area was just a flat wasteland, that became a dumping ground after the city was essentially flattened by British bombers during the Second World War.”


I was traveling in Thailand and got cast in Spike Lee's new movie 'Da 5 Bloods'

An account of how travel writer Travis Levius ended up in a Spike Lee movie (which reminded me of the time I was an extra in a movie in Thailand).

I had high hopes for this movie as it was filmed in contemporary Saigon, and it tells about the oft-neglected African-American experience in the war. In the process though it uses gross caricatures of modern-day Vietnamese as if they were still fighting the war, 50 years after the event. My friend Mike at Saigoneer did a review of what is a deeply flawed film (spoiler alert).


220 world metro systems

[Click for full image.]

Social Media

Some more parked planes…

Delta storage lineup in Marana Arizona in early June. Some are slowly coming out of storage as we speak.
#delta #boeing #737 #757 #a321 #aerial #helicopter #photography #desert #storage #lineup #marana #arizona #deltaairlines #covid19 #aerialphotography #planespotting #desertlife
June 16, 2020

@nomadicnotes at Instagram

Follow me at @nomadicnotes for real-time updates.

Nice beach getaway roughly half way between Tuy Hoa and Quy Nhon. This beach is on a peninsula so there is not much traffic. It's mostly fishing villages, apart from one section which has a few guesthouses.
June 15, 2020

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