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Published: August 12th 2007
So my attempts to do a vodkatrain-type tour through Vietnam on the Reunification Express from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh have come unstuck. The Vietnamese train system is great with one slight problem - demand greatly exceeds supply so if you don't book tickets way in advance you don't get the tickets of choice (if any). How I miss the honchos who'll produce perfect tickets just as we're about to board the train.
Despite asking for a soft sleeper to Hue, ended up on a seat for the 16 hour overnight journey. About as comfortable as it sounds. Hue was hot, very, very hot. Spent two days there, the first just wandering around and the second visiting the old Citadel - turns out most of it was destroyed during the war, so there wasn't a whole lot to see. Still, it was good to visit there, although it wasn't much like I expected (though my opinion was based entirely on Full Metal Jacket, so perhaps not surprising).
Took an early morning bus to Hoi An - great scenery along the coast though Danang. Hoi An was hot, ridiculously hot, skin sizzling if you stand still for 5 seconds hot.
Really glad I booked a hotel with a pool and at $17 a night it was a bargain. Hoi An is a very cool town, bit touristy but good to get away from the big cities. Some very cool restaurants and bars, especially by the river, and literally hundreds of tailor shops. Ended up getting a suit made for $115 and shipped it home. Met up with Fin and Elan on my last night there for some bia hoi.
The trip from Hoi An to Nha Trang was "interesting". Had to get a taxi to Danang, when he turned a corner my bag fell out the boot into the middle of the "road", luckily the dutch people in the back noticed and we went back for it. When we got to Danang the bus had left so had to wait three hours in the middle of nowhere. Eventually got on the way - the sleeper bus was quite cool, but passing over a bridge to see a bus that had recently crashed into the river (judging by the crowds that had gathered) didn't inspire confidence. Eventually arrived at midnight to the grimest hotel of the trip yet, complete with
Got up early the next morning to finally hit the beach after 10 days of hot cities. Was it hot in Nha Trang? It was not. Pissing rain and miserable. Somemone in Vietnam doesn't like me. Not much to do in Nha Trang besides the beach so wandered around, had a nice dinner and caught the overnight train to Saigon.
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