Visit Vietnam

Thursday, 14/12/2023 08:33

Founders of 'Where in Vietnam' lifestyle communities look to the future

Trần Khánh An

We usually check others’ reviews before going to a place or trying out an activity to make an informed decision and ensure a better experience. For those living in or visiting Việt Nam, two city-based lifestyle communities @whereinhanoi and @whereinhcmc are reliable English guides on Instagram. 

Both are under the purview of Where in Vietnam, which is run by two American expats Cydny Voice and Dana Bradley.

Cydny Voice is the founder and manager of Where in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Cydny Voice.

The story of Where in Vietnam began in 2019, after Cydny moved to Hà Nội. She created a separate Instagram account named Where in Hanoi just for her personal use, which she amusingly termed an “account for fun”. 

She decided to blog about her new life and all about Hà Nội for any visiting family and friends. 

“In addition, when COVID-19 broke out, I also posted about small businesses as I thought they might need some help,” she added.

Cydny began to get messages asking for suggestions as the account grew quicker than intended, and this is how she met Dana. 

Dana’s husband messaged Cydny asking for a restaurant recommendation while the couple travelled to Hà Nội, and then Cydny responded with gratitude. At that time, Dana and her spouse travelled to Việt Nam, then suddenly the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the borders closed.

“Vietnamese government was generous with tourist visas during the COVID-19 outbreak and it was a safe country, therefore, we chose to settle down here,” Dana recalled.

Where in HCMC kicked off one year later after Dana moved to HCM City due to her spouse’s job change.

Four years later, they have a massive community, earning them more than 30,000 followers on Instagram. 

Their content features reviews on food and beverage, shops and services, as well as summaries of events and experiences coming through their account and a monthly newsletter.

They also designed a Hà Nội and HCM City starter pack for expats who plan to relocate here, and a Việt Nam’s visitor pack for travellers.

“We are constantly evaluating and tailoring our content based on the feedback of our followers,” Cydny said. 

Dana Bradley is the manager of Where in HCMC community. Photo courtesy of Dana Bradley.

Contrary to other influencer accounts where the content was centred on their own experiences, Where in Vietnam “has never just been about us and our experience,” Cydny said. 

“It is about the community and those who live in or visit the city.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the community's experience smoother and more enjoyable with community-oriented activities,” Dana added. 

Cydny is the manager of Where in Hanoi, while Dana runs Where in HCMC, though they claimed that they were not experts on both cities. Therefore, they both saw eye to eye in having members of their team with diverse backgrounds, places of residence, and perspectives on the city. 

Where in Vietnam’s current team is a mix of Vietnamese and expats. Each member’s diverse discoveries and suggested locations are relevant to the broader audience. 

Followers of Where in Hanoi and Where in HCMC include expats living in Việt Nam, tourists, overseas Vietnamese and, surprisingly, even Việt Nam’s young citizens. 

“Our community shares the same mindset: eagerness and an adventurous spirit to discover new things about the cities in which they live or stay,” Dana said to Việt Nam News

For Cydny and Dana, the most rewarding part is connecting with and supporting the community – which comprises more than just those who enjoy the city's services and events. 

It also includes local businesses and event organisers. 

“I am delighted to support local businesses since I understand how difficult it is to manage a small business - we are one ourselves. Marketing is frequently the last thing on their thoughts because they are wearing and balancing many other hats to run a business,” Cydny shared.

“It's truly rewarding to be a small part of helping local businesses thrive and the entire community grow.”

Cydny and Dana revealed to Việt Nam News a couple of exciting campaigns that Where in Vietnam will continually carry out in 2024, such as a community-voted award titled People’s Picks Awards showing the best lifestyle addresses in each city.

“The community does not always have to rely on our recommendations – they can choose for themselves. The award is similar to Michelin or Tripadvisor in Việt Nam, except it will be nominated and voted on by the community,” Cydny said. 

Cydny and Dana share an ambitious vision to develop Where in Vietnam into the number one lifestyle hub and community connector for the citizens. 

“We hope to expand and connect all the cities in Việt Nam, and even outside into other areas of Southeast Asia,” Cydny shared. – VNS

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