Travel Newsletter - 30 October, 2020
The future high-speed railway of Vietnam, Christmas Island crabs, €1 homes in Sicily, dark tourism, very nice Kazakhstan, haunted hotels, and more travel reads!
Greetings from Nha Trang. This week I’m updating the guide to Future Nha Trang, which has been one of boomtown beach cities in Vietnam. Things are a bit different this year with the pandemic, with no international tourism to speak of. I’m staying in a hotel for $10 a night, and I think I’m the only customer here. In my travels around Vietnam this year I’ve stayed in a few places where I have been the only guest. It’s a depressing site to see so many hotels closed down. I am grateful to at least be able to travel domestically here.
COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)
“Veteran traveler Pico Iyer tries to make peace with the strangeness of being grounded.”
“Six months after Wuhan's lockdown ended, curious travellers are flocking to the former epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The picturesque town of Salemi in Sicily is the latest to offer up dilapidated properties for less than the cost of an espresso.”
This is the latest European town that has offered up homes for 1 Euro. Of course you have to spend money on these “fixer uppers”, but if a holiday home in Sicily sounds appealing then check it out.
Christmas and Cocos Islands are Australian territories that are closer to Java than to the Australian mainland. Virgin Australia have flights there from Western Australia, though they can be expensive. I was saving Virgin points with the intention of using them to go there. The points can also be expensive, depending on when you book. Crab season can be anywhere between October and November, so if you are booking months in advance then you can’t guarantee to see this natural phenomenon.
“After banning the first Sacha Baron Cohen satire, the country has created tourism ads adopting its catchphrase.”
When I visited Kazakhstan I made a point of not making any Borat jokes in my trip report, so good on Kazakhstan for embracing Borat the second time around.
“Unlike other best-of lists, Resonance’s annual ranking considers a city's diversity, cultural programming, and new this year, its response to COVID and ability to rebound.”
Assorted travel reads
The Vietnam North–South express railway is a proposed high speed railway that would replace the current North–South railway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
“Thanatourism, as one scholar calls it, has a long history. And some historic sites of mass death do offer thoughtful educational experiences.”
“Located in Turkmenistan’s Karakum desert, the Darvaza crater is a massive man-made sinkhole that has been burning methane gas for decades.”
“In time for Halloween, here's a collection of Tripadvisor reviews left by people who didn't get much sleep.”
“The crest on the cover? The colour of the booklet? Those intricately designed inner pages? There’s a reason for every element of your passport’s aesthetic.”
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- James Clark