Before we left for Vietnam we had only organised three vital details of the trip: our return flights, our first hostel, and “The Palmy Hotel and Spa”. For our final night in Hanoi (before a 15 hour flight home with a 10 hour wait in the airport!) we decided to treat ourselves by staying in a luxurious hotel.
Upon arrival we were greeted by porters and offered complementary green tea. We awkwardly stuffed our smelly, dirty luggage into the lift along with a bemused bell boy. Once inside the gorgeous room, we soaked in the indulgence. After unpacking our silk kimonos from Hoi An and marvelling at the free bottles of shampoo, we headed down for our Vietnamese massages.
This was definitely a new experience! The tiny Vietnamese masseuse climbed on my back and started whacking me with her tiny fists of fury. It was oddly relaxing and therapeutic as she cracked my bones and pounded my lower back – it felt as though all the tension from carrying heavy backpacks for three weeks and sleeping in hard hostel beds was being beaten out of me…literally!
We spent the day relaxing before heading out into the hectic streets of Hanoi to taste street food for the final time. We found a tiny street vendor who sold the most delicious bowls of noodles I have ever tasted. I don’t know, and will never know, her secret ingredients, but this food was to die for.
Finally, our unforgettable Vietnamese travels had come to an end. Over the three weeks, there were of course some challenging times. In my journal, I haven’t spoken about the tiny mishaps, such as JetStar changing our flight (NEVER book with them!) and getting lost in Ho Chi Minh, but that’s because, when I look back, I only ever remember the awe inspiring moments of pure excitement. Travelling with an amazing, close friend was the best way to celebrate finishing my degree and, more important, it reaffirmed what is really important to me. We experienced so many different cultures, climates and landscapes and met fantastic people along the way, truly making the most of every second. Even though it was only a few weeks, I couldn’t have chosen a better travelling buddy or a more magical destination.
All that’s left to say is, where next? x