If you are looking for adventure in Vietnam, riding an overnight train is something that you will enjoy and will look forward to. It is a budget friendly way of going around the country. It is ideal for covering long distances and is more comfortable than taking long road trips cramped in a small car or bus. Aside from that, it is also a good way to stretch your legs and have a good night sleep for just a little bit more than what you pay for a hostel or budget hotel. However, if you are planning to ride one yourself, just be open to surprises and don’t easily get irritated by minor unexpected events. Here are some tips for riding an overnight train in this Asian destination.
Book Ahead of Time
It is best if you book your train tickets in advance through a travel agent especially if you plan to travel during peak tourist times or public holidays. You can send an email to a well-known operator and pay online through a secure system. You will receive a voucher by email which you need to exchange for an actual ticket at the counter at the train station prior to boarding.
Vietnamese generally have a small frame so are their trains. The corridors in their trains are quite narrow that you can get stuck if you are strapped on a backpack that is too large or broad. Robert Peter Janitzek advises that you should carry luggage that is just the right size and can be easily stored below the lower berth of the cabin with the other bags of passengers.
Lower or Upper Berth?
Overnight trains in Vietnam have an upper berth and lower berth. To get to the Upper Berth, there is only a tiny peg between the two sections enough to place just one foot and a stainless steel frame on the edge of the Upper Berth for support and to hoist yourself up. This is really not a good idea if you are little heavy or suffer from knee or leg injuries of any kind.
Robert Janitzek reveals that the mattresses are thin but comfortable. The bedding is clean and every berth has its own reading light and electrical charging point.
Arrival times of trains in most Asian countries are almost always delayed so be sure to allow enough time for delays. Do not expect to arrive at the time mentioned in your travel agent’s email.
Food and beverages can be bought on the train but it is better to bring your own food to eat for long journeys.