Last night was our last night together as a whole group so we decided to dress up (as much as we could) and go to dinner and go clubbing. We went to a restaurant called Al Frescos – which serves Western food – and me and Soph shared a large veggie pizza and wedges… Was so good but we were so full afterwards. It was quite strange because we got given colouring crayons to draw on the paper tablecloths… We thought we’d been given them by accident or something but apparently adults get them too. After that we went to NextTop nightclub… If you’re in Hanoi and want to go to a club DO NOT GO THERE. They played what sounded like the same song over and over again and as soon as we got to our booth they brought two plates of fruit over for us, which we knew we would have to pay for, but despite Hanoi being the capital city, in a country where the average yearly income is $600 we didn’t think it would be too expensive. When we got the bill at the end of the night, two plates of fruit (that we never even asked for) cost £35… I think that’s called EXTORTION? Lesson definitely learnt by everyone.
Today was just a lazy day as everyone began to leave and go their separate ways. It’s going to be strange after being together 24/7 for a whole month and today was really sad. This is my last entry for north Vietnam, can’t believe it’s come so soon. I’m undecided about the north, there have been some AMAZING parts and some pretty standard parts. One good thing about coming in winter is that we have avoided queues and seen very few tourists but in future I would definitely take more layers to Sa Pa!
Highlights for me were: trekking in Sa Pa, boat ride in Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Tet New Year in Hanoi and the bike ride in Tam Coc. Things to avoid are: Cat Ba Island in winter(!), Ninh Binh and the ancient capital, and of course the insane traffic in Hanoi. The best thing has definitely been the group. We’ve had some ups and downs but generally we’ve worked really well together. I’m looking forward to my next step in the south, I leave for Ho Chi Minh at 6am tomorrow and can’t wait for some warmer (30 degrees plus) weather.