Day 1 - Heading out

Melbourne was cloudy and cool. We walked our way to Southern Cross Station as we usually do. Might as well walk, we thought, as we were about to spend 10 hours travelling in planes (not to mention a while lot of sitting about waiting).

First flight was Jetstar, Melbourne to Singapore. Aside from the random gate change (one thing on our boarding pass, another on the departures board) and the technical issues (tyre replacement) causing delays, I really think the wrap that Jetstar gets is a bit unfair. This may be influenced by the fact that today, we were flying business class.

8 hours passes pretty quickly when you’re watching movies on in-flight entertainment systems and getting free meals and snacks (and drinks, of course). You’d hardly notice when you finish a bottle of water, as it gets replaced rather soon after you set it down.

Since the first flight was delayed, we only had about an hour and a half in Singapore. Singapore was, of course, only a man’s to an end for us, as we were making our way to Vietnam. With this in mind, we promptly found a fish spa and massage place, where we had fish nibble at the dead skin on our feet while we received a much needed massage.

Once on board our next flight, we were reminded that we had in fact opted for in flight meals again (and by this stage we were famished). Other than that, this flight sounded like it was running off of lawnmower engines.

By the time we landed, it had been about 12 hours since we’d left Melbourne, 10 of which were spent up in the air. I wonder if reports had over-exaggerated the issue, but I felt lucky we didn’t get asked for some extra “country entrance fee” when passing through Vietnamese customs. And since we were carrying sweet bugger-all, e didn’t have to fill in any declaration forms, either.

Just outside, our hotel pick-up was waiting. Vietnamese traffic… Is a sight to behold. It’s confusing enough that they drive on the opposite side of the road than I’m used to, but the road rules appear to come down to occasionally stopping for red lights and judicious use of the car horn… Plus making a turn (left or right, take your pick) uses a technique I can only describe as “ muscling in”.

Finally we arrived at our destination for the night - Phan Lan Hotel. This place was proudly displaying their trip-advisor four-dot rating, and I think it’s earned it.​