29 April 2003 - On a train somewhere between Da Nang and Dieu Tri
Rail travel in Vietnam

Rail travel in Vietnam is surprisingly pleasant. It struck me as a little expensive, but I guess it isn't, considering the distances involved.

Hue to Ho Chi Minh, one way, is about USD30 for a sleeper. This is a journey of about 1000km with some of the best scenery you're going to get in this part of the world.

It helps that Vietnamese trains have huge windows for the sleeper compartments, vistas onto the outer world of paddy fields and looming cliffs that pass by gently.

At one point, the train was hugging a seaside cliff, going much slower than usual. I think it was a safety thing, not so that we got a good view, but it worked to our advantage.

Lunch is free, with rice and vegetables served in little plastic trays that taste better than anything served on planes. You can pay extra, as I did, for more egg or chicken or something to go with the basic set.

The bathroom is no different from your classic bathroom on a train - it's still basically just a hole in the carriage.

My gripes? That it's awfully cramped, with six bunks in a cabin. I can't sit up properly to type this, and have to do it lying down with my knees up.


posted on Friday, May 02, 2003 - permalink
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