Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City ‘HCM’ (Saigon) after a very bumpy, smelly and all round sleepless ‘sleeper bus’!! Thankfully for us our hotel was just across the road from where we got dropped off, so we could start the day very, very early and get out and about in HCM. We had already done a lot of research on the Vietnam war and in Hanoi learned a lot about what had happened, from a North Vietnam point of view, therefore we were very keen to see how this differed in the South and headed straight for the ‘Remnants Museum’. We were greeted by a courtyard full of captured American weaponry and machinery, which like in the North, was a standard state of affairs with anything related to the Vietnam war, however the difference came when we stepped inside.
P1030580I was quite aware of the Napalm that the U.S used in the Vietnam and the vaguely knew about agent Orange, which was a chemical used (like Napalm) to eradicate foliage and anything else that happens to be hiding within! This was very vividly depicted inside the museum by a collection of photos taken during the war, which some are world famous now. Alongside pictures of U.S soldiers being very proud of their accomplishments, whether it be through the air borne attacks of chemicals or by their own personal hands. Some of the pictures depicted U.S soldiers holding corpses as if they were trophies, whether they were effects of a grenade they threw or partially alive from a shot they had made! It was a very disturbing collection of the power of man and how destructive we can be as a species. With the effects still harming many Vietnamese people to this day.

After taking in the destruction that occurred from the Vietnamese war and needing a bit of lighthearted fun, we decided to indulge in the age old tradition of beer drinking. This however is done very differently in HCM, as it is so in a lot of South East Asia. We headed down to infamous ‘beer street’ where the road is slowly replaced by plastic chairs as more and more people turn up to consume 20p bottles of beer. It was a great night and we managed to meet some great locals and tourists, whisly also enjoying the best beer HCM had to offer ‘Saigon’.

P1030602Unfortunately for us, we were not allowed to enjoy being hungover, which to be honest doesn’t really happen in 35degree heat anyway, but we had neglected that we had booked a Chu Chi tunnels visit for 8am the next day and knocking back cheap bottles of Saigon maybe wasn’t the wisest idea the night before! All in all the tunnel tour was a bit of a let down, as our guide was, how can i put this nicely ‘a f*cking tosser’, who was more concerned about selling us clips of AK-47 rounds than he was on telling us the history of the Chu Chi tunnels. Luckily for us two though, were stubborn bastards, so took ourselves on a self tour, whilst everyone else sat literally on the shooting range getting their ears blown out, while rich dickhead Americans (sorry but only stating a fact of what i seen on the day) shot the guns that slayed so many Vietnamese soldiers by the hands of the U.S! Yeah real tasteful. Of what we did get to see, it was really interesting and fascinating to see how essentially not only a army held off the U.S forces using the tunnels, but also created a civilisation within them. Just a pointer for anybody going to the tunnels, make sure your group size is below 50 and don’t go for the cheapest you find, as a group of ‘definitely 25 max’ will quickly turn into 55, when the ”other” tour guide doesn’t show…..yeah.

P1030617 P1030620 P1030628 P1030636After a rubbish tour of the tunnels, we headed over to the ‘Reunification Palace’ which had been through many hands since its creation (Vietnamese, French and American) and since the fall of Saigon to the North in 1975, all of the decor has been left the same. It was quite funny to walk around, as seeing the 1970’s decor just made me think, how many people in London now would kill for some of this furniture, the Vietnamese are sitting on a gold mine (furniture wise). We got a great free guide, which we luckily got put onto a tour and learned the final pieces of how the war ended and why it was left in the way it was, when the North drove a tank through the gate of the palace and stormed the palace.

P1030648 P1030645Once again we got persuaded to hit the bar street again, it becomes quite the norm when in HCM and not learning from the day before, booked a Mekong tour for 7am the next day! When will we learn. The Mekong delta tour was great compared to the tunnel tour (booked through different company of course PXN Travel, don’t ever use Tuan Travel). We started the day by taking a cruise across the Mekong delta and learning all about Turtle, Dragon, Unicorn and Phoenix islands. We then visited a Coconut candy factory and got to taste the little delights that they create. After some lunch and strange sight seeing on Phoenix island, we visited a honey farm which produced honey (obvs), as well as honey tea and honey wine….mmmmmmm. Obviously we got to taste all of them. Cheryl got to practice her Bee keeping skills and handle the honey comb, whilst i got to become friends with the local python, which was only a young one and was about 10kg!!

P1030747 P1030739 P1030741After getting honey’d up, we were shown onto small bamboo rowing boats (enough room for 4) and rowed down the mangroves through dense foliage and through a very narrow channel, which created great entertainment when another rowing boat came the opposite way! Our final stop of the day was a small village, where we were given some fruits, whilst having local music played by traditional Vietnamese instruments. It was a great round off to our Vietnam trip and a fantastic finishing trip for us to do, before we moved onto Cambodia.

All in all HCM was a fantastic adventure and apart from the constant berating of touts and hawkers every second of the day (not an exageration), that wear you down whilst you eat every meal of the day or enjoy a leisurely drink, it is a great example of Vietnam and its lovely people. There is a lot of skepticism of their nature and we were among those before we went there, however now we are total converts and can see why they hold some reserve compared to their tourist happy neighbor Thailand, after everything they have been through and when you meet genuine Vietnamese people, they are typical of any South East Asian and if anything, are some of the friendless and most straight forward.

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—



Travelling Highlight of The Week (w.b. 4th March)

This week our highlight has got to quite simply be…

Spending time among the ‘Bui Vien Rd’ drinking crowd. Since we have been in Vietnam, we have always said it would be great to sit near the road and watch the traffic fly by. On Bui Vien Rd, you sit on plastic chairs, literally on the road and traffic goes around you! If that wasn’t good enough, bottles of Saigon are 30p!!! The atmosphere here is great, if you imagine Friday night when everyone has finished work, but every night, then your there. Unlike its comparison Khao San Rd, the locals and tourists are 50/50 here and you can chat to some really interesting people. If your feeling unsociable, kick back and watch the traffic get worse as more and more people turn up, taking up more of the road.

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Great for all the pro people watchers out there.

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

Nha Trang (Mini Moscow)

After Hoi An we jumped on another sleeper bus down to Nha Trang, which was one of the smelliest (we were next to the toilets) and bumpiest rides we have had so far. Although on the plus side i had loads of leg room, because we got the back seats, which are huge, more like beds.

We met a dutch couple in Dong Hoi, which we met again in Hoi An and planned to meet up in Nha Trang, so decided to stay at their hotel. After realising is was quite pricey, we set about hunting a cheap sleep and landed the mother load when we came across a 5 storey guesthouse which was more like a home stay than a hotel. The family spoke little english but were so friendly and welcoming, to put it in perspective the wife cooked us breakfast on our first day and we sat in her kitchen watching her prepare lunch. Above all else, the room had two beds ie big room, air con, TV, big private bathroom, spotless, small balcony and cost us £4, which the cheapest place we have managed to find so far!

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They really made our Nha Trang stay bearable and i say this because Nha Trang is a beach resort full of russian shops, cafes, restaurants and tourist. As well as many backpackers from all over the world, however we are very much outnumbered. It therefore creates an aggressive sales mentality among touts/hawkers who will literally pester you on the toilet if there was no door. As well as people including british people, flyering you every 5 yards and offering a cheap drink or food! We didn’t eat a single meal or sip a drink in peace. The beaches are nice, but again packed full of tourists and touts, who if u fall asleep, will kick you awake to look at their wears!! All in all not very relaxing.

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We therefore when in search of solace, by hiring a motorbike and getting the hell outta town. Once again (like in Hoi An) we found some absolute gems of peace and serenity that emphasised the beauty that Vietnam has locked away from Google and the Lonley Planet posse. We also found an alternative mud baths, as in town only one is touted and sold tours for. We therefore arranged with our Dutch friends to hire mopeds for the next day and ride out to the secluded mud baths. Which was a fun and relaxing way to get away from the constant mind rape of touts, whilst also experiencing something new.

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We also helped ourselves to some amazing sea food, which is what Nha Trang is very well known for, however every other restaurant sells the same thing and it takes some time and knowing about seafood, to see which ones are good, i would like to think we struck good with our choice, getting a seafood platter along with a full snapper for £10 isn’t bad going if you ask me.

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Nha Trang is a nice place, however the overhaul of russian tourists, touts, hawkers and generally littered beaches doesn’t lend itself well when comparing it to other beach destinations. I think without our fantastic choice of accommodation and Dutch company, we may have moved on much sooner.

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

Travelling Highlight of The Week (w.b. 25th February)

As it would have been to easy to award ‘getting engaged’ as the highlight of the week, we skipped a week, as due to rubbish weather it turned out that was our only highlight really worth mentioning. Therefore the award this week goes to…….

Setting off lanterns in Hoi An under the full moon.

This sounds very tame and it is, but the scenery of a small town being lit ip by candles and paper lanterns was just magical and the river was full with the little lanterns, which are set a sail to bring good luck and to make a wish.

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—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

Motorbike renting in Vietnam (Sorry Dad!)

We gave in and did it, when in Hoi An we got bored and on a nice clear day we decided to rent a motorbike as A) they are ridiculously cheap – 80,000dong= 2.50GBP and B) the roads are pretty quiet around the area.

So we rented one (the one thing my Dad asked us not to do….again, sorry, I love you!), put on our helmets (that is a very strict law in Vietnam and carries a hefty fine) and using a shoddy map, made our way to the coast. It was a beautiful drive, the beach was only a couple of KM’s away and we got to explore the whole area, to places we would not have been able to go and saw things we would otherwise not have been able to see.


Our 125cc HOG!

Our 125cc HOG!

Peaceful and serene rice paddy fields

Peaceful and serene rice paddy fields

The outskirts of Hoi An is the perfect place to practice riding a motorbike in Vietnam as the roads are relatively quiet compared to other crazy areas, and once you get more quiet you can take the bike into the old city and practice riding amongst the Vietnamese, the way they ride- without the use of peripheral vision…its an experience for sure!

A Wet and Rainy Hoi An

From Dong Hoi we got a day train to Hoi An which is famous for its tailor made clothes and lantern festival. Unfortunately it rained the first 2 days we were there, so the lantern festival got seen, but our camera broke due to moisture. And we could not afford the tailor made clothes no matter how cheap! We found a cheap room, but due to the rain it was completely damp, the air was thick with it, so we moved after a night. After we moved, it brightened up, and it was a different place after that.


Child selling lanterns during the lantern festival

Child selling lanterns during the lantern festival


We walked around the old town, which is full of character although packed with too many tourists of the elderly disposition. We found the market where we ended up eating a lunch of Cao Lao every day with our special Cao Lao lady for 20,000 dong. We got to see the lanterns without the rain, where you buy and set off paper lanterns into the river and make a good luck wish. It is a beautiful sight to see, especially when all the street lights get turned off. And we even did something we said we would never do…

—Love to all, Cheryl—

Engaged in a cave

Since the very beginning of planning our trip around the world, the idea of getting engaged was always at the forefront of my mind. However due to humans natural instinct to blab and spoil surprises, it has been the biggest thing I have managed to keep my gob shut about. Even when consistently pestered about the fact I should propose whilst travelling, otherwise I will waste a great opportunity, which was obviously not going to be met with (this was always said in-front of Cheryl of course), well actually this is where I am going to propose and this is how its going to happen, Cheryl do you like the sound of that?!!! So I think people forgot that although I was denying like hell I would propose, agreeing to that I will be would just seem pointless and waste the surprise.

Therefore I spent the same time as planning travelling, as I have with the proposal, researching where is the most beautiful scenic place we will go, most quiet, most off the radar/untraveled etc. We had always planned to do some kind of cruise in Halong Bay, which we were going to do cheap and easy so we can see what all the fuss was about. My thoughts however was to cease an amazing opportunity to propose in one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world. Luckily we had already selected that we would be doing a cruise in the much quieter Bai Tu Long bay, so it made booking etc a lot more less suspicious with Cheryl.

Once I had my location, it was time to think about how it would actually happen, would i buy a beautiful ring and risk it getting stolen or lost whilst we travel all these various places. Then came a blessing in disguise, in the form of a donation from Cheryl’s mam who gave us both a male and female family heirloom, so that we could wear to ward off lady boys and other such unwanted attractions. Both rings were beautiful and although wedding bands, the ring Cheryl received was a very simple but beautiful platinum ring with a subtle design around it. It didn’t have a huge rock on and therefore wouldn’t risk her having her arm chopped off or somebody trying to steal it whilst sleeping etc, you hear many stories of this kind of thing happening.

The stage was therefore almost set, all I needed was to plan where exactly in Bai Tu Long I would propose and how. I then struck gold when I found a cave dining experience, which involved dining in a candle lit cave and be served gourmet food in a very private and intimate setting. Everything was set and now came the hard part…….getting it all booked without her knowing. Before we left it was easy to research everything without being rumbled as we had our own devices, however whilst travelling, we are sharing my iPad and therefore this made for a very secret agent approach to everything, which luckily Cheryl obviously trusts me a lot and didn’t question my shifty nature whilst booking the trip and emailing questions etc.

I had asked the company to keep it a secret from Cheryl and only speak to me about it when she wasn’t present, once we were on board. They could’t have obliged any more. Not only that, but they also unintentionally made the trip extra special, as you can read in our post ‘going on a pirate boat’. I was blown away by how lucky we got with the upgrade and almost private boat, it couldn’t have panned out any better. Everything we done before the cave experience went absolutely perfect, we had also got on joking terms with the crew and it set everything up beautifully.

We came out of our room for dinner and one of the guides apologised that they had forgot to set a table for us and would need us to wait while he sorted this and really went to town on joking about dining in our room and other alternatives, which Cheryl thankfully replied ‘yeah, why don’t we eat in a little boat’, you couldn’t have scripted it better. The guy ceased the moment and said ‘OK Lets go’, to Cheryl’s horror I obliged and joked along, just saying come on lets see where this leads to! Once i stepped in the boat she started getting a bit sussy, but i played along some more and said lets just appease them and see what happens, again could not have asked for it to go any better.

We arrived into the mouth of the cave, which was all beautifully lit up with candles and Cheryl really didn’t have a clue what was going on. I chivalrously helped her up out the boat, through the candle lit cave and pulled out her chair at our fancy table for two, then the tears came flooding, I hadn’t even said a word yet and she was so blown away by how beautiful it was. The guide then took our wine order and said he would come back in 10 mins with the drinks and starters and gave me the nod and wink that only men understand, which means ‘go for it’. Cheryl managed to stop the tears slightly and then they came flooding back again as soon as I dropped onto one knee and before even waiting for her to say yes, I had nervously put the ring on her finger. The rest of the night was just amazing and the food we ate was beyond any of my expectations, without the help of the company and fantastic guides, none of it would have been possible. The crew even gave Cheryl a bunch of red roses as a good luck and congratulations which made her almost start crying again!

The cherry on the cake was when we came out of the cave and the guide said, ‘wow look up’, which we were met with a star filled sky, that was just mesmerising and unspoiled by light or clouds. He then went on to say he had never seen stars over the bay for a very long time or this bright, which could have been a total lie, but given the moment, it made it all that better.

And who said I don’t have a romantic side eh!!


—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

We’re going on a Pirate Boat!

It looks like one to me but as Adam repeatedly told me, its called a Junk. All it needed was a pirate flag and I would have been 100% convinced that we would have to walk the plank at some point. We got a Junk (…pirate boat) as we booked a cruise to go to Bai Tu Long Bay which is a quieter port about 15 minutes from the insanely busy and well known Halong Bay.

We paid a bit extra to go to a quieter place, but boy was it worth it. We were picked up from our hotel in Hanoi and met the other two passengers who would be on our Junk with us. Yes, it seemed we would be sharing a 10 man luxury boat with just one other couple…perfect! As we passed Halong Bay on our bus we were very relieved not to be joining the masses who were getting crammed onto their junks. We moved on past and were dropped off at a secluded port where there were no tourists to be seen, just a few locals transporting goods. We got a chug boat out to sea and we all joked around when we saw a beautiful junk sitting in the water, “so this is ours then?!” we asked our tour guide (called Deni) “yes” he replied seriously, “this is the Santa Maria”, “Oh…really…?” We replied. We did not expect this at all. The boat from the outside was unfortunately painted white as all the junks are now, due to a government hair brained idea that they would look better that way….they do not. But from the inside, it was like a step back in time. Rich mahogany wood covered the whole of the inside of the Junk with beautiful detailed carvings throughout and fresh cut flowers on (nearly) every surface.

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Our guide, Deni sat us down and gave us complimentary tea and went through the history of the boat, why its painted white and about all the detail on the inside. He also had a great surprise for us, he spoke to his boss and he upgraded us to the Royal Suite which not only had its own private deck but a lounge area, large bed and beautiful bathroom. When we were shown our room, I squealed and jumped up and down like a child whilst Adam held his cool until Deni left, then ran around the room.

After getting settled we had a “small” lunch on the boat which consisted of about 6 dishes which we could not finish. If this was small, we were wondering what a dinner would be like! After lunch we cruised for a few hours deeper into the bay going past hundreds of islets which the area is famous for and why it became a World Heritage Site. It was simply breathtaking. Even though it was cloudy and overcast, as it is for 95% of the time there, it made it even better as the islets appear out of no where in a very eery fashion. All of the islets are uninhibited apart for birds and some monkeys. Unfortunately both are rare to see as the locals kill and eat the birds and the monkeys are very aloof- probably as they saw what was happening to the birds.

When we dropped the anchor a small row boat came up to the ship and we all (unsteadily) climbed aboard the small bamboo boat. A lady rowed us over to a cave where we could explore and then she rowed us over to her home at the floating fishing village. Here we were given tea, and rice wine, and we watched their daily life unfold which included buying fish off of the other villagers to sell at market.


the floating fishing village

the floating fishing village

weighing up some fish to buy to resell at market

weighing up some fish to buy to resell at market

Once aboard the Santa Maria Junk, we got ourselves sorted and had dinner, another feast! So far, Deni was doing an amazing job, as he was not only seeing to us but also teaching the serving crew as they were all brand knew, had no English and it seems, no idea how to serve. Whilst also doing some of the cooking. Dinner was beautiful, courses full of fresh fish and seafood and plenty of vegetables and rice.

After dinner we got to do some squid fishing off the side of the Junk. The crew had started it, and had caught two, and then we got a turn and managed to catch 3 more! Deni then quickly whisked them away and cooked them. Squid cannot get any fresher than that! He sat with us and ate and drank a beer and looked relaxed, which was nice to see as he had been working very hard.


The next day we got back aboard the small bamboo boat, which we were all still very rocky on. Getting on and off was hard enough, trying to balance the weight of the boat with who was on it and who was getting off without tipping it was scary! We got to hunt around a much bigger cave this time and managed to scramble up quite high and look over all the other islets and see people fishing and just see the tranquility of the place. We clambered back down, back into the boat and off we went to a different fishing village. This one was not as stable as the last. It floated, yes, but it also moved with every step you took and we were warned to only step on the outside of the planks to make sure they don’t sink….Well at one point I just froze. I had to step/jump from one platform to another with only a thin plank to land on and having the option of either landing in the water or landing in a net full of fish, and I opted to just freeze as this seemed liked the safest bet! Until one of the ladies noticed and laughed and gave me a hand over. Felt a bit silly.

this man managed to hold 2 toddlers whilst squatting on the rickety walk way- whilst I could barely walk!

this man managed to hold 2 toddlers whilst squatting on the rickety walk way- whilst I could barely walk!

We then got in some kayaks and went on a long trip in and around the islets. They are impressive to see from a low vantage point, and also quite intimidating. We kayaked through a bit of drizzle and rain but also had a bit of fun and had some races and a general nosy about. We got back to the fishing village and had some lunch. Again a banquet of food came out, fresh prawns, squid, fish and pork with rice and veggies. We were definitely fed well on the trip, no doubt about that! After lunch we were able to go out on the boat with the family and pull in the fishing nets. Well, they pulled them in, kept what they wanted, threw back what they didn’t and threw all the weird stuff at us, in which we poked and prodded, and even kept a few crabs as mascots! After bringing the nets in we got off at the fishing village again we were given some basic rods to fish from the side of their house! We OK at it too, caught at least 10 little fishies!

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this gorgeous boy accompanied us on the boat, helping his grandparents out

this gorgeous boy accompanied us on the boat, helping his grandparents out

We returned to the Santa Maria for another fun filled evening full of surprises….

A sleepy town called Dong Hoi

From the train we jumped in a taxi to take us to a well known guesthouse, which was full so we took a walk around and found one on the main road overlooking the harbour and we managed to converse with the lady through a mix of gestures and numbers. We had a lovely large room with balcony for 300,00 dong (just under 10GBP)

All was going well until she wanted to keep our passports, and for us this is a big no-no. Your passport does not leave your sight. Unless you are in Vietnam it turns out. The lady tried to explain by pointing at the emblem on our Visa, but I still wasn’t too sure. I went back to the room, sans passport and Adam wasn’t happy. He went down to try and speak to the lady, and he returned 5 minutes later with a defeated look on his face, “She’s got mine too now.” I just laughed. The big macho man tries to fix the problem and just gets himself in deeper, it’s just funny!  As we couldn’t converse with the lady we went back to the full guesthouse and she explained that this was normal, that the police check them each night and they have to hold onto them. We felt slightly more relaxed about it.

For the rest of the day we mooched around Dong Hoi, getting lots of funny looks from locals, but mainly just big smiles, waves and hellos. That seems to be the beauty of the place, they do not get many tourists and when they do, everyone is just very pleased to see you. We were sat in a little outside cafe enjoying the famous Vietnamese ice coffee and a man purposely crossed the street with his young child, and stopped right in front of us, smiled at us, pointed and said something to his child. We waved, said hello,  child looked terrified and hid behind Dad. We all laughed. Then at other points in the day, large groups of children/people cycle past and shout big hellos at you. Its refreshing as in more touristy parts of Vietnam you seem to just get harassed to buy this or that, but here they just wanted to interact for the fun of it.

We never did find out what this was about!

We never did find out what this was about!

2 children just playing on a rice bowl boat, as you do

2 children just playing on a rice bowl boat, as you do

We visited the Paradise Caves in Dong Hoi, that’s its main attraction, and a very recent one at that only opening in 2011. And it’s beautiful. It goes underground for about 2km and is full of little streams and rivers and stalagmites and stalactites of varying shapes and sizes. It is very well designed as there are plenty of viewing platforms. We spent a few hours in there just mesmerized by every detail. Its a must-do if you’re ever in Vietnam…


Perfectly clear reflection in the underwater lake...can you see it?

Perfectly clear reflection in the underwater lake…can you see it?


—Love to all, Cheryl—

Our first sleeper train

After leaving Halong we headed back to Hanoi, which kindly before we left, our hotel said we could go use an empty room to shower, relax and get ourselves sorted for the train, which made us slightly nervous as to why we should ‘get ready’ for it! Also the man at reception said ‘it is not good for you to wait in the station’!! As we had planned to burn 5 hours just sat around playing cards until our train departed.

When we arrived at the station we immediately saw what the man meant, it was a sea of people clambering to get last minute tickets, accompanied with their baskets of food, clothes etc. We watched from a far and wondered how we would get through the monstrous crowd to our train! It turned out there was another entrance, which only by chance and wanting to find somewhere quiet to let the queue go down, did we find the pre-booked ticket entrance, which was quiet, empty and just one person checking tickets as your breezed through.

The station and train itself was so dated, but really cool in the same sense, like something out of a black and white movie. We found our carriage and our nests for the night. It turned out we struck lucky as we had 4 Vietnamese people in with us as well, where as the french guys next door had a family of 10 with drinks, stove and the kitchen sink. The cabins/rooms are no bigger than a standard garden shed which has 4 bunks, which not by our choice, houses 2 tourists on the top bunks and as many as 6 Vietnamese on the bottom, which we immediately felt very embarrassed about, although they probably paid a lot less than us, as this is a common scam in Vietnam to bump the prices up massively for tourists and making out that cheap tickets are not available, when they clearly are.

Our roomies for the night were a very friendly Vietnamese couple who spoke great English, their Grandfather another guy who ended up getting kicked out halfway by a tickets inspector and replaced by said ticket inspector who kicked him out!! It certainly wasn’t the most solid night sleep i have had, but i have certainly slept in a lot worse. About an hour or so out from our destination, the breakfast man came round, which luckily i had bought with the help of our friendly roomie, a ticket the night before whilst he was doing the rounds. A nice noodle soup to start the day right.

Fit much? Train cabins not made for long legged mack daddies...

Fit much? Train cabins not made for long legged mack daddies…

Before the A/C was turned on

Before the A/C was turned on

We arrived in Dong Hoi at a reasonable time (as some of the trains arrive 5/6am, not great for hotel hunting) and managed to find ourselves a bed from the choice of 5 hotels! All in all the sleeper train is a great experience and if we could afford it, is something we would do again and again, unfortunately when backpacking for a long time, it verges on the pricey side at $30 average per person! Especially when you can get a sleeper bus for under $5.

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—