After our time in Hue, we headed to the train station to catch the overnight train to Hanoi. The train was only a little late and we spent the time chatting to Vietnamese families that had been on school holidays in Hue and Hoi An. Hayley was the centre of attention of course, while Colin and Noah taught a group of kids how to play duck duck goose.
We’re not sure what was funnier – watching all the kids practising their English and trying to figure out this funny game, or watching the 200 other people waiting for the train mesmerised by the funny foreigners and kids playing this silly game.
The train itself was very basic. We weren’t in first class and the cabin was a lot more basic and dirty than we were expecting. It wasn’t bad, just a little dirtier than we were expecting. If you are a clean freak you might want to bring your own pillow case.
We had a 4-bed cabin to ourselves, while Mum and Wilson shared their 4-bed cabin with a Vietnamese family of 4. The beds were comfortable and relatively clean if you didn’t look too closely.
The first few hours of travel took us through rice fields and buffalos, but alas for Wilson the train windows were too dirty to take pictures out of. Perhaps in the north we’ll have better luck. There was another Australian family with young kids on our carriage so we all had a nice chat and play before bedtime.
The kids of course loved sleeping on the train and passed out early. Even Colin slept well while I spent the night feeling sick from the motion and constant bumps, tilting, shaking and creaking. If you do get motion sickness I recommend the bottom bunk! I even threw up at one point, dashing out of the cabin and just making to the bathroom. Much to everyone’s (but my) delight. Noah and Colin both remember this as the third best thing in Vietnam (after Halong Bay and having family visit us). Actually it might just be Noah’s favourite memory! A dirty enclosed train toilet in Asia is not a fun place to be sick!
We arrived in Hanoi just after 4am and went to the Classic 2 Hotel in the old quarter for a sleep, shower and breakfast before heading off to Halong Bay. We’ll head back to this hotel once Mum and Wilson leave – for 20US a night we can get an enormous room with three beds, lots of space to play, WIFI and breakfast.