Vietnam Train vs Bus Travel

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Aug 16th, 2011, 01:15 PM
  #1
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Vietnam Train vs Bus Travel

Hi, I'm heading to Vietnam in October and am debating train or bus travel. The train I understand is the better option, however I am wondering if the bus travels more frequently so it will work better with my schedule. I'm flying into Saigon and out of Hanoi and only have 8 days so am on tight tight schedule. Has anyone recently used the open buses in Vietnam? Any recommendations? Also, how can I find out if the train SE8 will be running in late October? Thanks! Any information would be helpful.
Jellis2011 is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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i would consider flying the longer distances to save time...
rhkkmk is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2011, 12:14 AM
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Best place for info on trains is http://www.seat61.com/Vietnam.htm

From memory I think it takes around 36 hours from Hanoi to Saigon by train leaving little time to get on and off to visit places en route. Having said that, some portions will be overnight anyway so you wont be missing out. Flying offers no opportunity to see the country but, as Bob suggests, is probably the only, if expensive, way to go for some of the longer distances. Some train journeys should not be missed and my favourite is the stretch from Da Nag to Hue which goes through the mountains and along China beach.(takes 4 hours).

The buses are fine for me but don't expect too much by way of comfort. In the more out of the way places you will have plenty of space but around cities and more popular routes it can get VERY overcrowded.

A word of warning - do take care of your belongings as theft and pickpockets are rife. never leaving anything unattended. if you want6 to sleep use your valuables as a pillow! Apart from this travel is pretty safe by either train or bus.

On balance 8 days is a very short period of time to visit a very long thin country with lots to see I could easily spend the whole 8 days in and around Hanoi - if you have not booked your tickets then I would seriously consider this option.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 06:35 AM
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I agree with crellston, consider all eight days in the north - Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa - or choose two areas to visit - Hanoi and Hue/Hoi An, for instance. Trying to cover the whole country in 8 days means you'll mostly see the insides of buses and/or trains.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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Another vote for doing just the north, or Hanoi plus Hue or Hoi An - you can sleep on the train from Hanoi. I rode the Open Tour buses back in 2002, and they were full of young backpackers sleeping off the previous night's party. They also dump you at the hostel owned by the agency.
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