Explore Saigon and LA through the works of famous authors

May 26, 2017

Finding your way through cities can be daunting. Try exploring them by focusing on a single person or period.

The Raj’s Calcutta

calcutta map

From Government Place to the tombs of South Park Street Cemetery, this three-hour guided tour by Calcutta Walks takes you through the heart of the colonial city. Particularly noteworthy is St John’s Church, an oasis of peace in a place alive with car horns.

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Graham Greene’s Saigon

saigon illustrated map

Guided by the British novelist’s 1955 book The Quiet American, you can start your tour at the fabled Hotel Continental Saigon – the book was written in Room 214 – in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. Then walk up Dong Khoi to Notre Dame Cathedral (1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, Quan 1). The notorious House of 500 Girls is long gone, but the Saigon Central Post Office remains in all its French Gothic splendour.

SEE ALSO: Smellwalking: Exploring cities using scents

James Joyce’s Trieste

trieste illustrated map

The Irish author moved frequently during his
 exile in the Italian city 
as is detailed on a free illustrated map from Trieste Tourist Office. Drink coffee at his old haunt, Caffe Stella Polare, then stand next to Nino Spagnoli’s statue of him on Via Roma.

SEE ALSO: Take a walking tour of Paris fashion

Raymond Chandler’s 
Los Angeles

raymond chandler's los angeles

Esotouric’s guided trail begins at Los Angeles Athletic Club, where the British American crime-fiction author played bridge. Also on the route is Barclay Hotel (103 West 4th Street, Tel: 1 213 626 5231), where a metal cage surrounds its reception, and a notice warns, “No credit. No checks. No loitering.” Now that’s what we call noir.

HOW TO GET LOST

Rather than following the
 map, go with your curiosity. When you come to a junction, take the road that looks most interesting. Be unashamedly nosy – stare through open doors, talk to strangers, take your time. Then, instead of saying “I saw everything I wanted to see”, you’ll be able to say “I saw things I never knew existed.”

– BY STEVE TURNER

PHOTO: ZAPHS Z
ILLUSTRATIONS: LEE KYUNG AH, HUY PHAM, PEH YI WEN, CHAN SHIAO FEN