Overnight trains in Vietnam are more comfortable and cheap as compared to buses and cars. They provide you a good and comfortable sleep just as much as a regular hostel or budget hotel at a lesser price. If you like to consider taking an overnight train along the center routes in Vietnam, the following tips are suggested.
First, you should book in advance. You can do this through a travel agent and is best recommended during peak seasons. This can be simply executed by emailing popular tourist agencies. A voucher will be provided which will be traded with a real ticket before boarding the train.
Next, pack your belongings in a small luggage size because the trains in Vietnam are quite small and their corridors are a bit narrow. Donning a small baggage makes it easier to move in the train and avoid you from getting stuck around the train area. If you suffer from any injury or have children with you, ask for the lower bunk because it prevents your children from falling off from their beds and prevents your injury from getting strained in going up. Among all overnight trains in Vietnam, the Sapaly Express train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) offers the most comfort and clean beds for overnight train travelers.
It is also best to be not so punctual when waiting to board the train because it is customary in the country to delay their schedules a bit late. If you do not like to wait too long, be sure to estimate your delay to at least 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time as specified by the travel agent. In terms of food, it is better to prepare your own food. Usually, the most available food in the train is instant noodles. More importantly, look for the counter which is stated on your voucher when arriving at the train station. Avoid giving your voucher to anyone who is not part from the train company. A lot of cases have happened involving scammers who have tried to aid tourists in exchanging their vouchers. Make sure to know the contact number of your travel agent and contact them once you can’t find the counter for the exchange of train tickets.
For a better experience, it is best that you get friendly to your bunkmate especially if you travel alone. In this way, you can share some travel experiences and solve the boredom by traveling alone. If your bunkmate is not cordial enough to make friends with you, then it is essential that you have with you a paperback novel to read or an MP3 player to entertain you while riding the train. Better yet, you can sleep through the entire journey and wake up at the next train destination center. While sleeping, you should be wary of your personal possessions. Your money should be placed in a very secure place where it is difficult to be reached by a stranger.