Let Netflix's "A Tourist's Guide to Love" soundtrack take you on vacation to Vietnam

Ranging from wistful to bouncy Viet pop, this playlist channels driving through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City

Published April 25, 2023 8:01PM (EDT)

Scott Ly as Sinh and Rachael Leigh Cook as Amanda in "A Tourist's Guide to Love." (Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix)
Scott Ly as Sinh and Rachael Leigh Cook as Amanda in "A Tourist's Guide to Love." (Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix)

Netflix's newest rom-com, "A Tourist's Guide to Love," was only released last Friday, but has already claimed a spot on Netflix's Top 10 Movies in the U.S. 

While the movie has a Hallmark-esque feel to it, "A Tourist's Guide to Love" is distinguished by the fact that it is the first Hollywood film to be shot predominantly in Vietnam. And, refreshingly, by the fact that its plot isn't centered around Americans' perspective of the Vietnam War

Written by Vietnamese American screenwriter Eirene Tran Donohue, "A Tourist's Guide to Love" is loosely based on her own experience. Like the main character, Donahue broke up with her boyfriend shortly before a trip to Vietnam that ended up introducing her to the man she was actually supposed to end up with. 

But unlike Donahue's story, "A Tourist's Guide to Love" features Rachael Leigh Cook — star of classic '90s rom-com "She's All That" — as Amanda Riley, an executive for a travel agency. After her boyfriend John, played by "Superstore" star Ben Feldman, breaks up with her, Amanda embarks on a trip through Vietnam to learn more about a local tour business that her company is looking to acquire. 

Sinh Thach (Scott Ly), whose uncle owns the business, and his cousin Anh (Quinn Trúc Trần) are tasked with guiding Amanda and the rest of the tour group through the country and teaching them everything from how to haggle with vendors at the market (tip: be ready to walk away) to how to safely cross bike-filled streets. And as Sinh and Amanda grow closer, and Amanda loosens her itinerary, they end up making a trip to Sinh's hometown to meet his grandmother, played by Nsưt Lê Thiện.

While the gorgeous scenery and bustling city scenes are the big draw for the film, a further standout is the soundtrack, which is packed with Vietnamese and Vietnamese American artists. 

Bouncy Viet pop songs "GPS" by Pixel Neko and "Cho Không" by Suboi set the tone as the tour group first arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. And later, Mai Lệ Huyền's 1974 track "Anh Sẽ Đưa Em," that feels reminiscent of Motown and provides the same kind of warmth, plays as Amanda and Sinh ride a motorbike into his hometown. 

Donohue's recommendation for the soundtrack, "Changes," by rising Vietnamese American pop singer Emily Vu, provides a suitably wistful soundtrack for Amanda to come to an epiphany about her life.

In a post on her Instagram, Donohue said the song "feels like it was written exactly for the movie," alongside a photo of her and Vu. "So excited that I got to meet her and that I could be a part of introducing the world to her spectacular talent," Donohue wrote. 

Check out the soundtrack below:


By Lily Doton

Lily Doton is an intern at Salon and will graduate from Castleton University in May. Though her true love is K-Pop, she is studying Media and Communication with a concentration in journalism and a minor in film studies. She is passionate about telling stories and seeking out Asian representation, whether that's in movies, shows, music or writing.

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A Tourist's Guide To Love Movies Music Netflix Soundtrack Vietnam