Travel Newsletter - 22 January 2021

New airports in Southeast Asia, Trans Europe Express, working on cruise ships, travel writer secrets, and more.

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City. Here in Vietnam we continue our good run of no local transmission of the virus. We still have to remain vigilant, and this could change any day, but so far the country has got it right.

This week I wrote some blog post drafts about my travels in Vietnam, but I didn’t get round to publishing. Instead, I wrote about future airports in Southeast Asia. There are some big projects under construction, so the next time you are passing through Manila or Phnom Penh it might be in a shiny-new airport terminal.

COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)

My trip through China’s extreme Covid-19 quarantine measures from ‘contaminated’ Europe: hazmat suits, diapers, surveillance – and no alcohol

Vietnam mandates 14-day quarantine for all foreign experts, flight crew

I get asked if Vietnam will open up anytime soon, and the answer is probably not. One of the reasons Vietnam has been able to contain the pandemic is because of the strict quarantine procedures.

The world ‘traveller’ who never left home

“Luis Martinez has written thousands of vivid poems about cities around the world, yet the Cuban bus porter has never left his homeland.”

Not really Covid-related, but it fits with the whole virtual travel theme.

Slow TV Map - Take a relaxing virtual trip

“Slow TV videos mapped out by location. Filter on transportation type, duration, date.”

Travel news

Vietravel Airlines opens first ticket sales after inauguration

Amazing to think that a new airline would dare to launch in these pandemic times, yet this is happening in Vietnam. Vietravel Airlines will be based in Hue.

Revival of Trans Europe Express 'key to EU's carbon neutrality'

Subscribers to this newsletter may recall that I mentioned the Trans Europe Express in a newsletter last year. Maybe the TEE will be a thing again once we are travelling normally.

A new whale-watching museum is opening in Norway — and it’s shaped like a whale fin

This looks like something to look forward to. And speaking of things shaped like whales, this reminded me of a whale-tail seat I sat on in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. If it wasn’t a seat, then I apologize to the people of Beaulieu-sur-Mer for sitting on your public art installation.

Revealed: Cathay Pacific's ambitious Boeing 777 first class concepts

Once I’ve stopped dreaming about international travel I can get back to dreaming about flying first class while I’m stuck in economy.

This beautiful and colorful island will be Italy's Capital of Culture for 2022

Italy still remains hight on my travel dream list. I would be happy with 2022.

Assorted travel reads

New airports planned and under construction in Southeast Asia – 2021 edition

I saw the world on cruise ships

“High school didn't serve up much adventure, so Devin Murphy signed up to do grunt work on expedition ships that sailed to Alaska, Iceland, Antarctica, and other far-flung places. Turned out to be a pretty great idea.”

Couchfish: Tell me your secrets

“…so called “secret places” and my role, as a travel writer, in writing about them.”

Can we see past the myth of the Himalaya?

“The history of the high-altitude landscape is more complicated, and more turbulent, than adventure tales can capture.”

I slowed down to walk the earth, but the world sped up

“On the eighth anniversary of a global foot journey, a pause on the trail reveals panoramas of colossal change.”

7 of the best day walks near Wanaka

I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t visited my friendly neighbours across the Tasman.

Should you drop everything and hunt for treasure in Europe?

“Yet another discovery of a horde of treasure makes us wonder why it seems ancient riches are constantly being found in Europe.”

The unfortunate truths of living the 'Vanlife'

“After months stuck at home, life on the road has never been more tempting. But don’t end your lease just yet.”

Photographs by Franck Bohbot of an unusually deserted and wintry New York City

This English traveler ordered a new bike from China - and flew there to cycle home

5 cities to see unique street art in Malaysia

Girl flies abroad to surprise her boyfriend only to find out he did the same for her

And continuing the whale theme, I leave you with this amazing site…

A post shared by Bertie Gregory (@bertiegregory)

@nomadicnotes at Instagram

Follow me at @nomadicnotes for real-time updates.

A post shared by James Clark ✈️ (@nomadicnotes)

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.

If you're enjoying the newsletter, please forward it to friends who like reading about travel. The more who know about it, the easier it becomes for me to discover great travel reads.

If someone sent this to you, sign up for future emails at

- James Clark