I arrived in Vietnam on the 4th February 2016, completely unaware of the coming Lunar new year. Had I have known, I would have booked some transport and accommodation in advance as I had a few intense moments where I was a little ‘stranded.’ Anyway, I ended up taking a sketchy overnight bus from Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang, it was only after, reading up on trip advisor, that I discovered that this mode of transport was not recommended due to a few safety issues. (In other words, the drivers go too fast and the buses end up toppling over.) After very little sleep we had a pretty chilled day laying on the beach, caught a bite to eat at the Sailing Club. This place is a little more expensive than the usual backpacker hang outs but not more than you would pay at home and after 6 months of travelling these were the best poached eggs I had ever experienced.
We began the night back in the Sailing Club, with a 200,000 dong entrance fee we did consider whether we made the right decision. Probably not to be honest as we made a very brief appearance and after one Smirnoff ice made our way to a more lively club with cheap drinks and every backpacker within a 10 mile radius, the Why Not bar. After a bucket or two we all walked down to the beach and counted in the new Lunar Year, watching a really great firework display. Being in Vietnam during the Lunar New Year meant all tourist attractions were insanely over crowded, there were very few hotel rooms on offer and lots of shops/ restaurants were closed. But overall, I was delighted to have this experience, it was unplanned and I ended up having a great time. Everyone was so kind, the lady who worked in our hotel gave us free dinner of traditional pork cakes, a common meal eaten around the new year, generally there was just a great atmosphere all around, I definitely don’t regret my timing.
What better way to spend New Year’s Day than at the spa? Thap Ba wasn’t just any spa, it specialised in mud baths, something I’d never done before. The mud is warm and thick, we debated whether getting our hair in it was the best idea but within seconds me and my friend Bekky were fully submerged. Once you’ve soaked you lay in the sun for 15 minutes so the mud dries on you. Then you sit in a hot tub type of thing to begin the removal process and lastly you run through a power wash to make sure the mud is entirely off your skin. It wasn’t expensive at all and I absolutely loved it. Also, the mud came out of my hair and bikini so there was no need to worry about ruining the swimsuit you wear.
The Lunar New Year really shaped my trip to Vietnam and I had an amazing time, I would definitely recommend a trip to South East Asia so you get the chance to experience this. My biggest piece of advice is just book everything in advance instead of waiting until you get there and realising everywhere is fully booked.