Whilst staying in Central Vietnam I want to ride the daytime train from DaNang (or Hoi An) to Hue - I beleive the scenery is spectacular?
Does anyone know if I can just buy a ticket on the day (and how much), board the train, and be on my way - or if I need to pre-book (March '08)?
Is this short rail journey worth the effort (time, cost, hassle) - otherwise I'd fly from Da Nang to Hanoi, rather than train then plane (Hue to Hanoi).
Thanks for your advice...
#1 ozscott has been a member since 21/1/2007. Posts: 18
Both Mrs Travelfish and famous travel writer and train-rider Paul Theroux describe it as one of the most beautiful train trips in the world, so yeah, it is pretty good.
There's a lot of trains every day (both fast and creakingly slow) so unless you have specific train requirements, probably no need to book ahead.
The question probably comes down to how much time you have -- if you've got a few days up your sleeve, then why not, but if you're already running out of time, perhaps just settle for reading Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar" while on the plane from Da Nang to Hanoi!
I'll save you a trip to a bookshop, here's how Theroux describes one part of the trip:
"'No one knows it,' said Cobra Two. No one in the States has the slightest idea how beatiful it is. Look at that -- God, look at that!'
We were at the fringes of a bay that was green and sparkling in bright sunlight. Beyond the leaping jade plates of the sea was an overhang of cliffs and the sight of a valley so large it contained sun, smoke, rain and cloud -- all at once -- independent quantities of colour. I had been unprepared for this beauty; it surprised and humbled me in the same degree the emptiness had in India. Who has mentioned the simple fact that the heights of Vietnam are places of unimaginable grandeur? Though we can hardly blame a frightened draftee for not noticing this magnificence, we should have known all along that the French would not have colonized it, nor would the Americans have fought so long, if such ripeness did not invite the eye to take it."
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux, pp 289.
You obviously want to see the famed Hai Van Pass where the French engineers carefully threaded the rail line around the terrain.
There are several trains each day and tickets can be purchased on the day of travel with soft seat air-con being the best and hard seat 'au naturel' being the worst.
The journey is only 3 hours or so with longer waits at Da Nang and Lang Co where an extra engine is attached / detached for the trip over the hill.
#4 CatBa2 has been a member since 6/11/2007. Posts: 53