Cattle Class to Nha Trang

Our next stop in Vietnam was Nha Trang. We decided to take the train as the other options were less than ideal. We had to choose between: a) a 9 or 10 hour train ride, b) a 13 hour overnight bus ride or c) a $300 pp flight. Since the flight was out of our budget and the bus ride was said to be absolutely terrible, we opted for the train.

We rented a two “soft sleepers” for a 10am train, opting for a day trip as we were weren’t too keen on randoms joining us for an overnight. (There are four beds to a compartment) We’d also heard from other travelers that Vietnamese families will purchase one or two sleepers and bring in their entire family from the cheap seats and set up camp, sometimes sharing three to a bed. Not ideal.

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So then, we boarded in Da Nang, hopped on the train, went to our assigned cabin and… there was that Vietnamese family we’d all been warned about. Babies, toddlers, boiling water on a hot pot, bags of rice on the floor. A HAMMOCK strung up in between the beds. Nightmare.

We tried to usher the family out but they showed no interest (not surprising). We brought over the train guy to help and he pointed us in the direction of an empty cabin that wasn’t the one on our ticket. Given that no one spoke English and we had no real choice, we went for it.

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It was pretty disgusting with grime covering 99% of the inside but, whatever. (Oh, and the bathroom consisted of a hole in the floor the shot out directly to the side of the train. Need I say more) But alas, it was our home for the next 9 hours or so, so let’s make the best of it! We played some cards, we enjoyed the views of the countryside, caught a nap, ate some suspect food and watched an episode of Sherlock on the iPad. The vodka we brought with us certainly helped pass the time, but would’ve been better if I hadn’t bought licorice flavor Fanta thinking it was grape.

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The real low point was when a random Vietnamese family barged into our cabin shouting, what I can imagine was, “get our of our cabin” in Vietnamese. Since that random family had taken our cabin, we were in a tough spot. We grabbed the train guy again and he found a new cabin for us that was actually much cleaner. The annoying bit was that we were always on guard that we would be moved again as we didn’t have the correct tickets for our cabin, so couldn’t relax. Bah.

Upon rolling up to Nha Trang after dark, we were thrilled to hop off, grab a cab and take a much needed shower. It definitely felt like we survived something and we took extra enjoyment of our hot shower and clean duvet that night.

– K

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