Recently we completed our final main stretch of travels in Vietnam by hopping on a 17 hour overnight bus from Hoi An to Hanoi. This was our third – and final – long haul bus trip in Vietnam. We definitely realized that taking the train was a far more comfortable way of getting from point A to point B; in hindsight, if we could do our trip again, we would pay for train tickets for the entire journey.
For this particular bus trip, we had been promised a bus with a toilet which we quickly noticed wasn’t provided for us. One of the most frustrating things about taking the bus in Vietnam, is that the travel agents often promise certain creature comforts (such as bathrooms, snacks, etc) that aren’t delivered when actually taking the journey. They even go so far as to show you photos of what the bathroom on the bus looks like and a picture of the water and snacks you’re supposed to receive.
It’s frustrating being ripped off like that, especially when it comes to the toilets, because the drivers have a well deserved reputation of stopping very often. By the time they do stop, quite often are bladders are screaming 😉 One of the main reasons we wanted to ensure our bus had a toilet had to do with our most recent trip from Nha Trang to Hoi An where our bus (not equipped with a toilet) rarely stopped for restroom breaks. We didn’t want a repeat performance of this situation but unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.
One of the bright spots of this final journey was the marvelous scenery as we were treated to such diversity in landscapes ranging from rolling hills to mountains, riverside to ocean-side views and from farmland to urban hives to activity.
We enjoyed munching on some local Vietnamese peanut snacks along the way. They were loaded with quite a bit of sugar and often quite chewy. Peanut based snacks jacked up on sugar are a lethal combination that I have a hard time avoiding.
Although we’ll miss traveling in Vietnam we won’t miss these long journeys which have been exhausting. When I backpacked in South America the average bus trips tended to be longer; however, they were also far more comfortable in terms of padded reclining seats, tasty meals and clean toilet facilities.
When the bus finally pulled into Hanoi we were relieved to have finally arrived.