Despite the drunken antics of the night before, we woke at a reasonable hour and a bunch of us had organised a trip to Ba Ho waterfall which was a little out of town. Most people were sensible and put their trainers on, but for some unknown reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go in flip flops. That I’d bought just that morning. Don’t ask. The lady who had organised the transport for us assured me that flip flops were fine – she did it all the time in hers, and even though the room was just up the stairs, time was short and so I didn’t change my shoes.
The climb was fine at the beginning, but it got quite steep and rocky quite quickly. We were told to follow the red arrows, which we didn’t see for a long time. Hoping we were going in the right direction, we kept going, and then we saw the arrows. Faded paint on rocks. Well, at least that meant people had been doing this for years! Despite the tour lady’s protests, it was time to ditch the flip flops and go at it like a local – barefoot and without fear. We made it to the top without too much of a problem. There was a little bit where you had to wade through running water and the boys were very good, helping us across as there was nothing to hold on to!
Once at the top it was a case of admiring the beautiful and peaceful area and then looking for the best point to jump down into the water. I was a little hesitant here. The main drop was pretty high, maybe 15ft. There was another point you could jump off, and that wasn’t quite as bad, but I knew I only wanted to do it once, so I went for it. I was so conscious of not jumping far enough, that I ended up leaning backwards slightly and landing on the small of my back/top of my butt. Oh my goodness did it freaking hurt??! On the plus side, the adrenaline from the jump made the water feel a lovely soothing temperature, and I spent more time in the water than one of the other girls who decided to tip toe into the shallows, shivering as she went! I did kind of have to get out when the fish started nibbling though. It was a little too tickly for me! The birthday boy and a couple of the others went off exploring further up in the rocks, finding a pretty treacherous path but getting some really cool GoPro footage.
We grabbed some lunch, not parting with more than a few thousand dong and some of us waterfall climbers opted for a massage. It was a case of stepping outside the restaurant and doing an eenie-meenie-minie-mo. We settled on a very clean looking place over the road with lime green massage chairs visible through the window. They were advertising a full body massage for about $6. The place was run by a French-sounding Vietnamese guy with perfect English, despite his lilting French accent. He gave us a small cup of green tea each and we knew that we had made the right decision. I’ve never been a tea drinker, but this stuff was good. It felt healthy!
We traipsed up the stairs in these cute little flip flops they provided for us and each chose a bed. The smell of the oil, combined with the fact that there was a face-hole in the bed, coupled with the way my masseuse lady just placed her hands on my back, with zero pressure and it cracked from the base of my neck and down my spine told me this was going to be $6 and one hour very well spent. The guy who was on the bed next to mine had masseur who was quite talkative and wanting a lot of reassurance “Is okay? Too hard?” etc. Turns out, he was blind and the guy was severely ticklish, so rather than try to explain his ticklishness to a blind man in a room that would disturb all of us, he was just tensing and trying not to giggle!
We’d paid for a late checkout, so in our beautifully relaxed state, headed back to the hotel to shower, picked up some takeaway food for the evening’s train ride and packed everything up for our next stop – Hoi An. The train journey was not as cold as the first one, and we spent the time playing cards, drinking rum and coke out of a bottle and enjoying each other’s company. I think it was around this point that I knew I was making friends for life.