I have booked a hard sleeper tain from hanoi to hue in feb. on the SE3 train
what are the differences between hard and soft sleeper apart from having 6 people in each cabin?
as far as i can see on seat61 site the photos show no other differences, i kind of assumed that the hard sleeper would have no matreses but it shows them on the photos on this site.
can anybody advise me?
#1 dnev101 has been a member since 3/1/2013. Posts: 6
Hard sleepers don't have a door, so when you are sleeping make sure that your most valuable possessions are up by your head, or wrapped around you in a security pouch. Some hard sleepers also don't have air-con, but if you are traveling in February that shouldn't really be a problem.
If you like train travel and are continuing southward from Hue I highly recommend you take the Hue to Danang train during the day, as the views are wonderful.
Hard sleepers also have three-tiers if I remember correctly.
It would be impossible for a Westerner to get in the top bunk never mind sleep in it. I think I was told they don't allocate them to tall people (i.e. from the West.) It might be worth checking.
If there was one thing I hated in Vietnam it was sitting on the plastic child-size seats.This is the sleeping equivalent.
#3 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
you are asking the wrong question-and most answers do not recognise this. WHY? the SE are the very best of trains and thus have the latest/newest cars and of course airco etc.The diffferences are MUCH vaster betweent the old cars and the new cars. Hard sleep in a new car is ways better as soft sleep in an old. Seat61 is sooooo pro-rail that it simply never ever mentions-even minor- negatives of train travel. Newer cars are much like in China-older more like in de old CCCP=now Russia.
Actually sayad above here is also wrong-partly. In the upper bunk you also have the luggage room=above the aisle, to stretch oversized long legs into.
#4 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
Depends on what line you are on in China - going through the Gobi the trains are still pretty ratty. Most of the trains in the eastern provinces are nice so long as you book high-speed or express - most travelers would not want to travel K and T class.
I was bumped up to the Livitran (Hanoi-Hue) last year in February but wasn't much impressed - they have a nice classic train look about them, but the setup had nothing on the modern Chinese rails. Perhaps the whole train was made up of old cars though.
Main question - hard sleeper does not mean no mattress. I've traveled hard-sleeper a lot in China and the only time I advice against it is if you're on a trip that breaks the 10 hour mark, at which point I enjoy having a little more privacy that is offered by the 4 berth cabin (soft sleepers).
I agree that comfort depends on the train you're on, but to summarise, hard sleeper has a slightly thinner mattress and 6 beds (rather than the 4 in soft sleeper). I agree with caseyprich in that hard sleepers are fine, up to a point, but the main disadvantage for me is the lack of head space, which makes it tricky if you want to sit-up. I'd always opt for a soft sleeper if possible but would have no qualms about travelling hard sleeper if necessary.
The difference between hard sleeper and soft sleeper is the hard sleeper has no matress whereas the soft sleeper has a matress. So the hard sleeper is like sleeping on a wooden plank. I did the Nha Trang to Da Nang trip last night on the hard sleeper. After about half an hour, I did get a really goodnight sleep but I am used to roughing it.
The other difference is that there are 6 bunks verses 4 in the soft sleeper. The topbunk is accessable but you will need to be a good climber, but not impossible.
I am 180cm tall and fit quite comfortably, but any taller and you may need to bend a little in the middle.
Enjoy the ride.
I travelled in a hard sleeper last week, there was no mattress, repeat: no mattress! Unless you think a 2 milimeter thick woven bamboo mat is a mattress (its not, seriously) A thin doona and pillow were provided. I found it alright, actually. I rolled myself in the doona like a cocoon and the Vietnamese lady 35cm's across from me on the other stack of three sleeping shelves reached over and tucked me in... it was cold! Six people in a confined space made the temperature okay after a while. But if you have even a hint of a back or neck problem, don't do it. My cabin did have a door, however it was frequently opened by staff. Seems that there are quite a few different versions of the hard sleeper!
#9 enday has been a member since 12/9/2012. Posts: 30