Night bus | Vietnam

If there one thing that I learned to hate on my last trip across Asia was night transportation. As much as night transport make sense logistically, I quickly learned that 1) I can’t sleep on them and 2) you miss out on all of the wonderful landscapes. I promised to myself that I would do no night transport on this trip, but haven’t been able to keep that promise thus far. With night train rides in Indonesia and Thailand, I had already broken the rule a few times. I was really grumpy after any night ride from being sleep deprived – but this had been on night trains, also known as the best of the worse.

In Vietnam, to get between Nha Trang – Hoi An, Hoi An – Hué and Hué – Hanoi, we’ve had to take sleeper buses. Two out of the three rides were during the night. One would think that lying down for 12+ hours is more comfortable than sitting, and that one can sleep better, but it isn’t the case, at least not for me. What makes it especiallyb challenging to sleep is the driving and the roads: it is always on steep, windy roads and the drivers always love to mix speed with breaks and horns. You are never still, always being pulled left, right or forward by gravity.

For the first two rides we had individual beds; for our ride last night we were shoved in the last row in a bus-wide 4 sleeper spread. Trying to sleep was hard enough in the singles, but at the back it was worse. There is no personal space. My bed was at least a foot and a half shorter than any other bed – I could not lie down without bending my knees. The back of the bus is also the bumpiest. You know those dreams where you wake up because you are falling? Well these occur because you are really falling, after being propelled up to the low ceiling. It’s a crazy, scary ride – if you can imagine being placed in a small box and vigorously shaken, you get an idea.

The no sleeping is definitively a large reason as to why I hate night buses. Other good reasons are the bad mood that comes from it during and after, and the sheer physical pain. You get cramps, numbness, tensions. You can’t get comfortable. And this last time around I left with a sore neck and a very sensitive back. (My back caused me many issues over the last year, and after numerous chiropractor, acupuncturist and massage therapy sessions I was able to get it into shape for travel.) With a bad back you can’t really do anything well, especially put on a huge backpack and walk around. As such, I’ve been taking painkillers, muscle relaxants and taking it as easy as possible. Wouldn’t want to actually get an injured back…

On the upside the sleeper bus rides in Vietnam are over now and I don’t foresee there being many others in future countries. On the downside though, we have at least 3 more train rides to get through before leaving Vietnam, two of which are definitively night rides…

Wish us luck!

Now if you will excuse me, I will go catch up on some sleep in a real bed…


About Magalie

Canadian girl living in Texas, off to see the world when she can!
This entry was posted in Asia, Post with photo, Vietnam and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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