Bureau Bites is a regular “pod-bite” bringing you the latest news from Vietnam and the region.

Episode Background

Walter Mason is an Australian author who has been visiting Vietnam since 1994 and since then has kept coming back.

He has travelled the country with a Vietnamese-Australian monk, stayed in remote monasteries, and spent six months back in 1999 studying Vietnamese language at the Ho Chi Minh City Social Sciences University.

Walter has a lifelong interest in Eastern spirituality (he’s a practising Buddhist) and Vietnamese food.

In 2010, he published his first book, an entertaining travel memoir called Destination Saigon, which he says is “a love letter to Vietnam.”

In 2013, he followed up the book with Destination Cambodia, about his adventures in the Kingdom and the reasons why the country has drawn him back again and again since his youth.

We were able to speak briefly with Walter over the phone while he was visiting Saigon last week before he had to rush back home to Sydney to be with his family.

We asked Walter the following questions:

1. How long have you been coming to Vietnam?

2. Which places would you recommend travellers to visit in Vietnam?

3. How would you describe Destination Saigon to people looking for a great read?

4. How has your trip been this time round with the Coronavirus playing out?

5. What differences have you noticed in the way Vietnamese are reacting to the Coronavirus compared to Australians?

6. Do you have any uplifting stories about Vietnam amidst all the depressing ones we’ve been hearing and reading about?

7. Is there a new book in the pipeline?

Produced by Matthew Cowan. Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon

Edited by Melanie Casul. Mel is The Bureau’s Content Manager. Follow her on Instagram at @melaniecasul

Special thanks to Walter Mason. Follow Walter on Twitter at @walterm

Feature photo from allenandunwin.com

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