Vietnam train help

Jun 27th, 2008, 12:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 143
Vietnam train help

We are considering taking an overnight train from Hanoi to Hue. I am intrigued and very interested, while my wife is hesitant.
I've done some research. Seems like the top option is a 4-person soft sleeper.
Can anyone who has done this share their experience? Any safety concerns? Where do you store your luggage? Cleanliness?
dinks is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
I beleive it goes under the bottom bunk.As for safety, sleep with your valuables. Dont leave any of your luggage unattended.I find it is far CHEAPER ,QUICKER, SAFER, to fly .
www,jetstar,com (can book online)
check and compare prices.
dwitch is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 09:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,361
Luggage goes under the bottom bunk or over the door. Soft sleeper is not as comfortable in Vietnam as it is in China, but it's fine. Take food if you leave before dinner, and water. I wear a money belt, and sleep with it on or under my pillow on night trains. Have you looked at the info and pix here:

Trains create less pollution than planes, and give you an opportunity to meet locals who are not working in the tourist industry.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 10:11 PM
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I'd question the cheaper and safer comment made about the benefits of flying. Quicker, sure, but you see nothing and meet nobody. Besides, there's a certain thrill about leaving on a train; and arriving somewhere new in the early dawn light.

Whether you'd find soft sleeper acceptable really depends on what you're used to. I agree with Thursday that conditions are scruffier than Chinese soft sleeper and it in no way compares to Indian train 1st class. It's not dirty, just worn and well used. If you wouldn't normally consider staying in a small cheap hotel in Vietnam then it might not be for you.

On the other hand, why not go for it and see what you think! But do, as already mentioned, keep passport and valuables in a money belt and wear it for the whole journey. I'd be too worried about leaving it behind to put it under my pillow.

Have fun.
afterall is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 02:47 AM
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I've done it and its fine. As a matter of interest take a walk through the train and check out the cheaper options and the dining carriage. Do not eat there! We had an early dinner and took snacks.

Also there are Asian toilets at one end of the carriage and western ones at the other end. Its a narrow gauge train that goes round a lot of corners and rocks a bit. Enough said!

Re cleanliness - if you have any doubts buy a cheap sheet in a market in Hanoi and throw it away after wards.
silverwool is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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"buy a cheap sheet" - better still, take a Dreamsack, a silk sleep sack. Weighs next to nothing and takes up very little room.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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We're thinking about the same train trip in October. If we do take it, we'll buy all 4 bunks in the cabin. This is what we did on the trans-Mongolian/Siberian trip we took and it worked out great. We had extra room and a "private" cabin.

JaneB is online now  
Jun 28th, 2008, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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While they are nice (I have one), save your money. No reason to spend $60 when you can buy the Vietnamese version of a "Dreamsack" in Hanoi for $5. There are shops all over the Old Quarter selling them.
Bisbee is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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yes, the top option - 4 beds in 1 cabin with A/C is the best and the most safety. And the night train, you can not see everything on the way.
greenvietnam is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I really have to question this tendency to book all 4 berths in a cabin when you only need 2, especially as those who do it, or admit to doing it, are so pleased with themselves!

Why do you do it? What are you so worried about? Does it ever occur to you that because of what you do, two other people can't travel?
afterall is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 06:14 AM
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I too question the "book the whole cabin" approach. For me, one of the reasons to travel by train is the opportunity to meet local people who are not involved in the tourist industry. If you sequester yourself in your own cabin, you make that interaction much less likely. Plus, I'm not sure it would always work - the carriage attendant might decide to sell those unused bunks to other passengers!
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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My husband and I are in our 70's, are both recovering from cancer, and do not like to sleep with strangers. Sorry if I seem "pleased with myself".
We did indeed have 4 bunks on the Mongolian and Russian trains and there was never a problem. I guess the trains in Vietnam are too crowded for the likes of us--so we will fly. Thanks for you pleasant comments!
JaneB is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Glad to hear you are recovering and sorry if my post offended you. But if you see the train purely as means of transport you may well be better off flying. I look at trains as a way to see the countryside, and as offering the possibility of talking to people I might otherwise not meet, as well as a less-polluting form of transport.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 08:05 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
Hi JaneB,
Very wise,my husband and I are in our late 60'S. I looked into the train travel, thought I would like the experience. A lot of the trains are night travel, which arrive at your destination pre - dawn.Take eg Hcm >> Nha trang,fare $40 soft sleeper, arrive Nha trang 4:50AM. Definately a real turn off!! I "PAID the low price of $18, for my airfare, thats a big difference, and it only takes 1hr.So in my opinion flying is better.
dwitch is offline  

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