I hope you’re all well and that 2018 has been good to you so far!
As I said in my last post, I’ve moved to Vietnam (what?!). It has been absolute madness since we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and it’s only been in the past week or so that I’ve started getting used to living in the craziness that is Vietnamese city life.
However, for Liv’s last weekend before starting work, we decided to take a trip to get out of the city and away from the pollution here. I had heard about someone living in Vung Tau and talking about the beautiful beach and ocean breeze, and I was already sold. So, we started to look into it, and it’s only two hours by bus or boat from HCMC!
The bus is actually half the price of the boat (250,000dong vs 500,000dong) but we decided to go for the boat because it was a bit more exciting than taking the bus. So, on Saturday morning, we hopped on the boat on our way to Vung Tau.
The boat was really smooth and a fun ride; we both just read and looked out the window listening to music for 2 hours. Once we arrived, we had a bit of a struggle with the taxis. If you don’t know, the apps Grab and Uber are huge here in Vietnam, especially in HCMC and we assumed they would be in Vung Tau as well. It turned out that Grab had just started in the city and there were only a few cars around. We weren’t able to get one so we had to bargain with a taxi driver to take us to our hotel for 100,000dong (£3.20).
We didn’t scrounge on the hotel in Vietnamese standards by any means. You can easily find hostels all over the country for literally £1 a night. Hotels can cost anywhere from £2 to £300 a night so we opted to go for the middle-ground option and spend £50 a night between us for a wonderful hotel. The room and bed were so comfortable and the pool/bar area was aaaa-mazing.
We spent the afternoon dipping in and out of the pool and laying on these wonderful big sofa beds that you can see behind my legs in the photo above! The hotel did these mango smoothies which were crazy cheap, and so yummy and refreshing.
That night, we headed out for dinner in the centre area and ate the night away. At one point during our dinner, the next table started screaming with happiness and we were extremely confused. A few seconds later, a different part of the restaurant erupted in happy screams. We realised that there was a football match on, and it turned out to be Vietnam fighting for their spot in the AFC semi-finals for their first time ever. We picked up our pints and watched the rest of the game with everyone, and ended up shaking lots of hands and celebrating with them when they won.
As a side note, since that game, we watched the semi-finals and finals in pubs with local people and it was absolute madness both times! The whole city was going crazy. Here’s a photo of us with a friend we made last weekend watching the finals…
Anyway, back to Vung Tau! After dinner, we were pretty drunk and when we got a taxi back to our hotel, we (stupidly) decided to head to the club that was opposite our hotel. We were in there for a few hours, and it’s safe to say it was one of the weirdest club experiences I’ve ever had.
We got escorted to a table and we ordered a couple of drinks and had a couple of cigarettes (inside!). The DJ’s were playing at the front for everyone to see but it was SO unbearably loud we had to communicate through notes on our phones. We then realised there was no dance-floor so we just started dancing around our table semi-awkwardly. Because of the awkwardness, we drank more to help ourselves feel better and soon enough, we had a group of Vietnamese people dancing with us up by the DJ booth…
We left swiftly after, realising it was 2am at this point, and stumbled out of the club after being given a cup of tea on our way out (what?!). As soon as we were outside, all we heard was a very loud beeping going through our ears. I remember wanting to cry when I was lying in bed and there was an excruciating beeping still ringing through my head. Liv told me to sleep and it would be gone by the morning.
We only just woke up in time for breakfast not feeling on top of the world with the beeping still ringing in our ears. At breakfast, we were trying not to shout at each other across the table as we were aware we couldn’t hear anything. However, we pushed through and booked another night in the hotel as we couldn’t face getting on a boat for to hours. The rest of the day was spent wandering along the beach, taking in the fresh air, to find some food, and chilling by the pool all day; amazing!
This little trip out of HCMC was exactly what we needed to just relax and enjoy something different in Vietnam. The forresty hills in the background of the beach, and the bright blue sky, was just what we needed to see having spent a few weeks in smog and humidity.
I’d definitely return to Vung Tau for a weekend trip, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a night away from HCMC!
À bientôt !