First published September 2022 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
Tom Divers is the founder and creator of Vietnam Coracle. He’s lived, travelled and worked in Vietnam since 2005. Born in London, he travelled from an early age, visiting over 40 countries (he first visited Vietnam in 1999). Now, whenever he has the opportunity to make a trip, he rarely looks beyond Vietnam’s borders and his trusty motorbike, Stavros. Read more about Tom on the About Page, Vietnam Times and ASE Podcast.
I used to make short films to accompany most of my early travel guides for this website. The idea was that these 2-5 minute videos would encapsulate the essence of the destination I was writing about and inspire the viewer to read the related guide. In a few cases, I think I was successful in creating the kind of short videos that, upon viewing, fill you with the desire to go out and do it for yourself. However, filmmaking – even these short, amateur videos – is very time consuming. Ultimately, I found I had to choose between spending my time making and editing videos or writing and illustrating guides. I chose the latter. But I still have a lot of enthusiasm for short travel videos, and I still harbour the desire to create more video content sometime in the future. For now, I’ve pulled together the three films I consider my most ‘successful’.
3 SHORT FILMS
Three Videos Made to Accompany My Early Travel Guides
Below is a mini-gallery featuring three of my favourite short travel videos from my neglected YouTube channel. Each film is just 3-4 minutes long. I’ve written a brief description of each video and included links to relevant guides for more information. Try to watch the videos in HD quality, if possible. All my films have soundtracks. However, depending on the copyright in your country, the music may be muted. If you’d like to explore more Vietnam Coracle video content, take a look at the Related Posts.
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Thank you, Tom
Dalat’s Waterfalls [2:44]
After exploring the Central Highlands in the rainy season, I edited this compilation of clips from some of the region’s cascades. At the time, many of the waterfalls were abandoned former tourist sites; overgrown with tropical foliage in the process of being reclaimed by the jungle. The soundtrack, by Future Islands, had recently been introduced to me by a friend. It has the tempo and mood to complement the rush and rhythm of the water running over the rocks and down the sheer drops. Something about the music just works for me: even watching it now makes me want to get on my motorbike and head up into the highlands. My Dalat Waterfall Guide is quite old now, but the cascades are still there. You can also browse my Waterfalls Archive.
The Northeast Loop [3:00]
Ever since my first visit to the northeast, this bucolic region of Vietnam has been one of my favourite destinations. Filmed on a road trip between September and October, this is the best time of year to visit the northeastern provinces: harvest time. Indeed, in some of the clips you can see the various stages of the rice harvest. I’d stumbled upon the Cave Singers (I don’t remember how) and immediately liked their indie-folk-rock sound. This particular track, ‘Summer Light’, has the folky sound that I tend to associate with pastoral, rural, open, beautiful landscapes such as you get in the northeastern provinces. This film was made to accompany my guide The Northeast by Motorbike: 5 Routes & Loops. Many of the most mesmerizing clips are of Bản Giốc Waterfall.
The Saigon River [3:57]
Until quite recently, Saigon turned its back on the river. The waterway was purely functional: a place for industry rather than relaxation. Only in the last decade has the city started to view its river as a place of leisure and open space. This film pays homage to that former, unselfconscious, unpretentious relationship with the Saigon River. To reflect the languid nature of the waterway, the mood and tempo of the film is slow-paced and meditative, as is the soundtrack by Youth Lagoon. I tried to incorporate some riverine, watery affects into the film and vaguely attempted a kind of narrative: a day on the river, starting slow and grey, leading to a late afternoon monsoon downpour. I made this video to accompany my Saigon River Guide which is now quite old. Today, I would recommend experiencing the waterway via the Saigon Waterbus.
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*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I produce on this website: my content is always free and independent. I’ve created these films because I want to: I like travelling in Vietnam and I want to express it through video. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements and my About Page