Second Class Vietnamese Sleeper Train – OMG Never Again

Second Class overnight sleeper train Vietnam

Yes, we took a second class Vietnamese sleeper train. In my defence, I booked First Class tourist tickets for this overnight train from Hanoi to Hue. I absolutely did not book second class tickets, at least not on purpose. There was certainly some kind of scam going on here.

Hannah thought the sleeper train was a great adventure. Emma also thought it was cool but wouldn’t take it again. Ben and Rob were laid back about it and had no complaints.

I barely survived. And I was a bit pissed at the scam going on.

Inside second class overnight sleeper train Vietnam
Rob tells me he had no expectations so was not perturbed by what we got. Initially…

Continue reading “Second Class Vietnamese Sleeper Train – OMG Never Again”

Da Nang – A Beautiful Beach Town

Following our long travel day from Hue to Da Nang (see Road Move) we were happy to arrive at the Sofia Boutique Hotel.  The hotel staff were overly attentive and we were slightly annoyed with an up-charge to pay for Ben as the third person in our room.  We booked through ExpediaforTD and the reservation was clear on how many people were coming.  We also booked a room with a balcony but were given one without. Colleen often gets annoyed with herself for not being more demanding. Not backing down this time, we got one of the nicer rooms in the building.

Eating Local

We set out in search of dinner and it wasn’t as easy as you would think.  We were still craving local Vietnamese fare and all the places around the hotel were catering to tourists.  We found a side street and ended up in a Vietnamese seafood restaurant called Ky Em.

Shirt – who cooks with a shirt?

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Hanoi, Northern Vietnam

When we left Japan, we flew direct from Tokyo to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city and second largest by population.

Vietnamese Flag

Based on overwhelming recommendation from bloggers and travel forums, after our first night at the Sheraton Hanoi (which you can read about here) we moved to a hotel in the Old Quarter. This was a complete consensus in the travel blogosphere. Everyone says ‘stay in the Old Quarter’.

So that’s what we did. Continue reading “Hanoi, Northern Vietnam”

Live from Hoi An – the Ancient City

Ever behind. We’d intended on catching up by now. Though there really are not enough hours in a day, regardless of one’s obligations. Somehow it takes us hours in the morning to get it together.  Sigh.

We’re in Hoi An, Vietnam. The Hoi An of the famous Ancient Merchant City variety. We stayed three nights in the old city. And just relocated to the outskirts of Hoi An for some rest and relaxation.

We specifically chose our hotel because it had a lovely looking pool. We enjoyed it yesterday afternoon. This is what we woke up to this morning.

Sigh. Continue reading “Live from Hoi An – the Ancient City”

Halong Bay – Northern Vietnam

A World Heritage Site (UNESCO)

According to the UNESCO web site, “Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is 165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 hectares and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitated and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.”

The Cruise – 3 Days (or is it 2 Days?)

Colleen negotiated her best price for a 2 night / three day cruise through the Hanoian Hotel. This included travel by private van (we shared with one other couple), all meals, kayaking, two rooms (each with a balcony) and touring around.  The price was $165USD for 4 adults and 25% reduction for Ben.  That is 3.7 million Dong or $204CAD.  Since drinks were not included we bought 12L of water and 14 beer for $14.60CAD and brought it on board. (That beer and water cost 266,000 Dong and was 11,000 Dong more than we paid for dinner!).

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Adventures in Eating – Vietnam Part II

Because I’m full of wind and can’t control myself, I divided this too long post into two parts. See the first part here if you missed it.

Eating Like a Local – Hole in the Wall Restaurant

After a hot and frustrating morning in an almost futile attempt to solve our money woes, we followed our app (a great little app that does not need wi-fi) to a restaurant clearly marked as Vietnamese. Once we crossed the street, we actually passed on the little hole in the wall shop. It was at the front of a small alley and had one long table beside the small open kitchen. The menu board was in Vietnamese and offered five choices, one of which was bia (beer).

Great Food – shop closed (hence tarp to the left) for the afternoon while we were eating


5 items on the menu

Too adventurous maybe. It was only our second day after all and we still didn’t know if there’d be consequences from the previous night. Continue reading “Adventures in Eating – Vietnam Part II”