If I have a main regret about my time in Vietnam, it’s probably that I didn’t spend as much time on the rails as I could have. Yes, there was the toy train at Da Lat which I’ve mentioned before and deserves a ‘train journeys’ of its own one day (And I’d say will get one!) but apart from that short ride, I only took one train journey in my time in Vietnam, and that was the overnight experience from Nha Trang, beach town full the odd crazy and some nice eating, to Hue, a mostly coastal journey through the bigger city of Da Nang.
Hue itself is really nice, with wonderful day trips on offer and an awesome citadel, but taking the train between the two places was equally interesting in itself.
Another, perhaps predictably, diesel-pulled train. Let’s be honest, most trains around the world, long distance, are still pulled by diesel engines. As a lover of steam, I get a little disappointed but I can’t really expect it to be anything other.
I bought the ticket through the rip of merchants at the travel agents’ attached to my hotel (which was nice by the way, just a little dodgy at times). 620,000 Dong is what I paid for the ticket. I should have paid around half that. Looking at today’s exchange rate that’s $29, when it should have been about $17. That was only to Da Nang too, at the station I asked if I could take the train to Hue, and that’s when the ticket lady at the station was shocked at what I had paid. If I had seen how easy it was to buy there, I would have. So, taking trains in Vietnam, definitely go to the station. You’ll save a lot.
The 2nd class cabin was smallish, but nice enough. Bed was comfortable, shared with a lady and her two kids who took two beds between them. The top bunks came down when it was time for lights out. The train left 9-10pm so that was pretty much straight away. The fourth bed did not get filled which is nice, to have a little extra room.
I slept okay and woke to some sensational coastal views, which I failed to take a photo of! There was a stunning combination of tunnels and aqueduct-like bridges, rocky cliffs and ocean and rough waves. It was genuinely another stuffing view from the train window.
Below is my video ‘Vibrant Vietnam’. There is 20 minutes of the train journey captured on it from 6.37. Yes, I know, it’s pretty short!
From Da Nang to Hue, it was more populated. Still green – Vietnam is a VERY green country. And then I arrived in Hue, where it was pretty cold indeed. Which was very unexpected. It turned out to be a town I loved. The rails got me there, and as always, got me there in much better condition than a bus would have.
Thanks for reading today! May the journey never end!