Matthew Clayfield is a journalist, critic and screenwriter.


Laos faces the unknown as elephants walk from logging into tourism

Walk down any street in Luang Prabang, Laos, and you will be presented with any number of opportunities to interact with elephants. Some are more ethical than others. Indeed, at the Elephant Village, fifteen kilometres […]

Oct, 09 · in Journalism,Laos,Travel

When you become one of those dreaded privileged travellers

“This is a service we’re paying for,” complained the American girl as she and her bags were shoved unceremoniously into the admittedly too-full taxi that was to take us to the Hanoi coach terminal. “We’re […]

Oct, 02 · in Journalism,Travel,Vietnam

Tourism, coal shipping turning Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay into an ‘ecological disaster’

A small armada of tour boats pulled up at the floating fishing village and a gaggle of foreigners alighted onto the rickety platform that serves as its makeshift town square. They proceeded to the leaking […]

Oct, 02

The sense of an ending: Leaving Ho Chi Minh City

How did three weeks turn into eight months? It’s not as though Saigon—I’ve been calling it Ho Chi Minh City in these pages until now, but let’s give it the name and respect it deserves—is […]

Sep, 11

In praise of the humble hostel library

When I departed Australia for Spain last year, I had my Kindle packed and ready. My reading had been planned in advance: Booker winners and Russian classics and theses on the nature of democracy—a library’s […]

Sep, 11

Russian tourists defect from Vietnam as Western sanctions take toll on rouble

Solicitation is no strange thing in Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, Hoi An and Hanoi, the offers come at you thick and fast: sunglasses, massages, motorbikes, marijuana. But it throws you on […]

Sep, 06

A lonely planet? Not since travel guides arrived

A couple of years back, in the lead-up to a visit to Russia, my girlfriend bought a Lonely Planet guide that I took an immediate disliking to. Reading Alex Garland’s The Beach in my youth […]

Sep, 04

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