There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, and that is precisely what E and I did when we visited the beach capital of Vietnam, Nha Trang. A short bus trip down the mountain from Dalat (read about my experience here) and nothing like the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City (my thoughts here), the small city was a piece of luxe paradise. So why not make the most of it? When in Rome they say.
As well as tourist attractions and great beach front shopping, Nha Trang boasts a few choices in hot springs for the ultimate relaxation. Our spa of choice was the relatively new i-Resort up on a hillside about 7km from the town centre. The “menu” sounded deliciously relaxing, and with various price options there really was something for everyone. Feeling a little bit cheeky E and I opted for the VIP package, and for $3,000,000 Vietnamese Dong (approximately $60AUD each) we were treated like queens and spoilt rotten. There was an option for a group mud bath (only $17AUD), but I didn’t quite fancy bathing with strangers! You can’t even purchase a decent massage for under $50AUD in Perth, so we knew we’d found a great holiday bargain.
Hitching a ride in our own personal golf cart, we wound our way up the hill to the exclusive area of the resort. I already felt relaxed! Part of the package was our own private bungalow on a hillside, sporting a beautiful view over the resort. The VIP package began with a 45 minute soak in a mud bath. You heard right folks, E and I rolled around in the mud. I’ve never had a mud bath before, but I can say it was pleasant experience. The stone bath slowly filled with warm, goopy, slimy mud, which actually felt amazing on our skin. I’ll admit the experience conjured up images of hippo’s or pig blobbing around in the slop, but my skin thanked me for it, looking significantly softer and shinier post soak. It was a bit of a once in a lifetime experience, gazing from the window of our private little spot. Heaven.
Following the mud, we rinsed off and devoured a fresh fruit platter in the shade, followed by a lovely cool dip in a private mineral pool. Featuring a realistic looking waterfall amongst lush scenery, it was perfect post hot mud bath. E probably could have swam for three hours, but I couldn’t wait to move on to the next phase of our relaxation journey, a herbal bath!
If I had to describe to you what we stepped in to, I would say it was almost as if we’d submerged our bodies in a steaming cup of fresh, fragrant herbal tea. The initial smell was very strong, but as we sank in the bath we relaxed pretty quickly, getting used to the lush mix of calming herbs including camomile and lavender. To be honest I could have fallen asleep I was so relaxed. Thirty minutes of soaking in the tub and my skin was a little bit shrivelled and prune like, but my usually over filled brain was calm and collected, which is very unusual for me.
It wouldn’t be the VIP treatment without a full body massage. None of this $5 side of the road stuff, our massages were absolute perfection. Now I’m normally not a fan of random strangers rubbing me up, but my masseuse was so professional and skilled I didn’t even think about a stranger touching me, I actually continued to stay switched off and really enjoyed it. No body consciousness, although I’m sure the masseuse had a laugh at my very different body to hers as she whipped off my silk wrap. Whenever I get a massage I’m always taken back to the horrifying experience I had at a day spa in Bali a few years back. I’d booked a massage and facial, and whilst the massage was good, the facial included a few swift punches in the forehead. And I don’t mean a slight tap, I mean a full on fist in the face. I’ve been turned off facials for life, and while my masseuse in Nha Trang did slap my face a little to get the blood flowing I was quite happy with the lack of violence!
The perfect day was concluded with a beautiful two course meal, all inclusive! With so many Asian and Western dishes to choose from this foodie was a little stuck, but when I saw they had Tuna Steak on the menu, I couldn’t pass it up. Served with a spicy sweet potato mash and vegetables, I was in heaven. E opted for a beautifully cooked steak and vegetables, and there were no complaints on her end. Her plate almost looked polished clean. Hanging out at a day spa is hard work you know! I practically inhaled my meal after all the pampering.
I’d like to say a big thank you to the staff at the spa, who were so attentive and kind. It’s the little things like fantastic hospitality that make an experience. If you’re ever in Nha Trang you must experience the tranquility of the i-Resort. I’ll definitely be back!
How do you relax and take time out? Are you a fan of a good massage?