Dan Bi Mong walks into the cafe, energetic and obviously fit, handsome in an exotic, windswept way. He shakes hands and thanks me for coming, a polite gesture for someone who has influenced Saigon’s dance and electronic music scene to the point of reshaping it in just three years.
I find Vo Duc Anh early on a Wednesday night at Hanoi Rock City, the music venue he’s run in Hanoi for almost six years. He’s on the phone, cigarette in hand, lamenting a guitar without strings and asking someone on the other end to bring some. He hangs up and extends a slender tattooed arm to me.
One thing that separates Vietnam from countries elsewhere is what happens after dark. Whether it’s the dead of winter or the heat of a humid summer’s night, after the sun goes down people come out to play. There’s no sitting indoors here, glued to the TV, the latest boxset in hand. This is an outdoors country, where life is lived on the streets, in bars and bia hois, in restaurants and drinking haunts, in parks and public spaces, on motorbikes, under bridges, over rivers, in small tea shops, or in cafes.
Meet one of the most important enthusiasts, pioneers and masters of Vietnamese hip-hop. Words by Vu Ha Kim Vy
Vietnam’s urban expansion hasn’t always gone to plan and some areas, particularly on the outskirts of Hanoi, remain uncompleted and unoccupied. They’re not ghost towns, but they might as well be. Photos by Julie Vola. Words by Jesse Meadows
Beyond the high-rises and highways, the suburban enclave of District 9 has much to offer anyone looking for a day away from the city. Vu Ha Kim Vy and Bao Zoan tour the most northerly district of Saigon
Beyond a suburban lifestyle, what does Hanoi’s best known suburb have to offer the uninitiated? Billy Gray goes on a tour of Hanoi West. Photos by Jesse Meadows