Without doing any injustice to the country itself, I can safely say that it was not only the promise of interesting scenery and delicious Pho (and yes that does rhyme with durr balls, Sally R) that had me looking forward to our trip to Vietnam with RATHER a lot of excitement. In fact I probably pissed Nick off, just ever so slightly, with my constant hourly countdowns to Saturday evening, 11th Jan: the arrival of Sally and Dan in Vietnam!
After a 15 hour flight (including a manically stressful transfer in Abu Dhabi) Sally and Dan were impressively chipper upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City and were even up for letting us drag them out for the evening and down possibly the busiest street any of us at that point had seen in our lives. Luckily we made it to both eating and drinking establishments without any of us losing toes to motorbikes or falling asleep with jetlag (I’m not sure even Sally’s legendary ability to nap absolutely anywhere would have stood up to this particular street). The evening was topped off with some spectating of the amazing street sport that I’d like to call ‘shuttlecocking’. It involved kicking a shuttlecock backwards and forwards and it was very exciting.
Our next morning in Ho Chi Minh was spent wandering around the Benh Thanh Market
as well as some general sightseeing, but mostly just getting used to how to cross the road without getting run over by the fleets (literally fleets) of mopeds and motorbikes flying round the roads in every direction. We got ok at this, and by the time we left in the afternoon were able to just about get across without squealing (too much).
A 6 hour odd bus journey in the afternoon (less said about the better) finally got the four of us to our destination for the next 8 nights: Full Moon Village on Suoi Nuoc beach, about half an hour drive from the touristy resort town of Mui Ne.
What to say about Full Moon Village. It was bloody amazing. For the price per couple of a room in a Youth Hostel in Australia, we had the gorgeous ‘Jack Fruit’ Villa, complete with kitchen, living room and Jacuzzi pool set in our own mahoosive tropical garden.
And our very own fruit bat. With a gorgeous main pool, as well as a beach restaurant (and pool table) overlooking the sea, we were away!
With Sally and my birthdays bookending the trip rather nicely we had a fantastic start to our stay, with Sally’s 25th on our first full day. After a birthday breakfast overlooking the sea the day just got better and better when Dan took Sally for a stroll down the beach and ONLY WENT AND POPPED THE QUESTION!!
Sally of course said YES (otherwise this may have been a slightly different blog) and the two of them came back to the villa beaming and with a big bottle of bubbly, starting a week-long revelry (that I’m sure continues now they are back in Yorkshire) that we’re never going to forget. It was so so lovely to be able to enjoy the news with them, so a huge thanks to Dan for choosing to propose over here and not forcing me to buy a ticket back home!
After present opening and some jubilant calls home we celebrated in style that evening with a private BBQ at our villa, complete with a pina colada cake with Sally’s name on it! Sally (veggie for the first 23.5 years of her life) even tried BBQ prawns for the first time, and pronounced them ‘ok’. That wasn’t the most exciting part of the evening, but it was definitely worth a mention.
The next few days of our stay all roll in to one rather lovely jumble of relaxing and celebratory memories. Unfortunately I was hit with some kind of food poisoning or something horrible like that, but reading in a supine position in the garden was pretty much all I wanted to do anyway, and luckily it seemed everyone else was happy to do the same.
At slightly more adventurous moments we also took to swimming in the pool, playing pool and cards, and even jumping on the trampoline.
And it wasn’t all lie-ins: we did get up super early twice to catch the sunrise, which was well worth the early start, especially as we were able to see the pre-dawn fisherman heading off in their precarious looking tub boats.
On Thursday night we took a trip into Mui Ne and enjoyed drinks as the sun went down at one of the beach front bars, followed by a bite to eat and then a bit of bartering in the shops that line the street there.
We returned to the town on Saturday, heading first to Phan Tiet to see the market (which unfortunately seemed to be closing for good on that very day) before lunch overlooking the sea in Mui Ne. A return trip at sunset was spent on the dunes (windy and stingy, great view)
followed by cocktails and food in town.
Despite the tastiest lychee martinis I’ve ever tried and the fact that G&Ts were on offer for Happy Hour (we’ll just call her Two-Gins-Sal from now on), we managed to not wake up too hungover for my birthday on Sunday, which was lucky as Nick had arranged an awesome surprise breakfast at our villa, complete with bucks fizz and, wait for it, BAKED BEANS! (I’ve been missing them for a long time).
After opening some gorgeous presents (thank you everyone!) a rather lazy day was had until Nick and Dan rightfully decided that we really ought to finally get in the sea, rather than just look at it. We had been put off from doing exactly this all week by watching other people going in and then getting smashed by the waves (‘the fools!’ Sal and I chuckled), but after seeing how much fun Nick and Dan had, Sal and I decided to grab a bodyboard and have a go too. It was brilliant. I still have the grazes on my knees now, but I’ve never passed an hour so quickly in my life!
It was a great end to what had been a truly amazing, amazing week. Sally and Dan – thank you so much for coming along with us, we loved being there to celebrate with you and we know we’ll never forget it!
…. And that was not all for our stay in Vietnam, but if I load any more photos on this blog post I’ll probably bring down the website!
NEXT TIME: Nick and Jenny and the newly engaged Sally and Dan return to Ho Chi Minh City.
BREAKING BAD UPDATE: Season 3, Episode 1. Oh Yes.