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Joshua Zukas

Writer | Fixer | Strategist

Hanoi-based writer covering travel, culture, architecture and innovation in Asia. MSc in Sustainable Tourism.

Travel writer for Lonely Planet, CNN Create, Fodor's Travel and Ink Global. National and regional tourism organization experience with Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, Philippine Department of Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization, Visit Wakayama, Kerala Tourism, Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, and Jeju Tourism Organization.

Travel and culture stories published in The Economist, 1843, BBC News, Travelfish, AFAR, Hidden Compass, The Independent, The Red Bulletin, The Toronto Star, DestinAsian and The Diplomat. Architecture and design stories published in Wallpaper, Interior Design Magazine, Icon, Frame, Wired UK and Vietcetera.

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Highlight Journalism and Travel Writing

Vietnamese Modernism Was Ahead of Its Time

It is difficult to imagine Ho Chi Minh city without its glittering towers of glass and steel looming over the urban sprawl. Home to around 9m people, Vietnam’s commercial capital is its most populous city; yet prior to the 1960s, high-rise buildings were rare in Saigon, as it was known until 1975. The one that went up during that decade at 151 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia in downtown Saigon was pioneering: it offered a solution to the question of where to house the city’s rapidly growing population, inspiring the constr

Vietnam: Beyond the Stereotype

Vietnam is awash with antiquated and orientalist fantasies. Travel media outlets manufacture nostalgia for a colonial heirloom with crowded street kitchens and conical hat-wearing hawkers. Foreign travel companies overrepresent Vietnam’s beaches as if the country exists to serve sun-starved Northeast Asians and Europeans. And although Vietnam has been at peace for over four decades, American films continue to portray a perilous place reeling from war.

Vietnam’s Ghosts Are Hungry for iPhones

It’s 8pm in Hanoi’s labyrinthine Old Quarter and shop-owner Tran Thu Hien places her last $100 bill on the crackling street-side fire. I’ve watched her burn through thousands of dollars, but it’s still not enough. Hien, crouched over the blaze and dripping with sweat, has exhausted the cash. So she unpacks a box of personal items, pre-prepared for incineration: a gold Rolex, a pair of designer sunglasses, a pack of Cuban cigars and an iPhone X. Finally, Hien turns to a black Toyota Camry. The ca

Bridge to Tomorrow

The Chao Phraya, Thailand’s major river, meanders through the center of the country, linking the ruins of the former capital, Ayutthaya, to the current one, Bangkok, about 50 miles to the south. The legendary waterway, which has nurtured Thai civilization for centuries, is what inspires—and flows around—Sala Bang Pa-In, a new island re- sort by Department of Architecture, the firm’s second project for the Sala Hospitality Group, a regional chain of nine luxury hotels, spas, and boutique properties.

Is This Hotel Misleading Guests About Its Colonial Heritage?

In Vietnam, an abandoned university-turned-beachfront hotel seems to be a shining example of the country’s colonial past⁠—except that its history is entirely made up. Gracing the southern tip of Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island is Bai Khem, one of the tropical haven’s most alluring beaches. Here, a thicket of palm trees bows to a cerulean sea as it tenderly laps a crescent of dimpled sand. Hills canvased in the jungle rise behind cordial palms, leading to the island’s craggy interior. At the bay’s so

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