After our first experience with the Vietnamese trains we considered making this journey by coach, but as soon as we heard how good the scenery would be on the train journey we booked our tickets.
This leg of the main line between the north and south is only 2.5 hours so we sat in first class. The seats were suprisingly comfortable and with leg room aplenty. The carriage even had televisions which were showing Charlie Chaplin and slapstick Vietnamese comedy at full volume. Claire reached for the earplugs.
Our main bag (we have 2, one is large and the other small) could not be heaved onto the storage shelf so we had to leave it in the aisle where people had to squeeze past. However this proved to be a problem for the French who were still amazingly following our every move. By complete coincidence their seats were just in front of ours. So we slung the big bag in a seat, which incredibly nobody had claimed.
The start of the journey was unremarkable aside from rice fields and lot’s of Vietnamese graves. They seem to build intricate graves and tombs in random places in the countryside. You can’t go more than 60 seconds without seeing one.
It was not long however before the train entered dramatic mountain scenery, the line itself carved into the side of the mountain climbing and descending over and over.
Then the view from the left of train became dramatic rugged coastline of the South China Sea whilst the view from the right was jungle mountains with waterfalls and huge boulders.
As we neared our destination, the busy station at Da Nang, the Vietnamese Rail Company decided it would be a good time to serve a meal. This involved rolling 3 carts of various stews and noodle dishes down the central aisle shortly before half of the people on the train wished to disembark. Mayhem ensued, the highlight of which was Claire and a harassed rail employee carrying our large bag at shoulder height through the carriage to clear the various food carts.
From Da Nang we took a taxi (after some haggling with 3 rival drivers) to our next destination. The UNSECO World Heritage Site Town of Hoi An.