Hi, I did not realise there were trains other than the R/U express when I wrote my last posting. Have visited the Vietnam train site and am not sure which train is which...cleanliness is an issue as am travelling with my parents (I am more incline to "rough it"). Any suggestions, more feedback about the R/U - most seem to think it's pretty grim.
Thanks very much in advance.
I don't know who the 'most' are.
There are essentially two types of train: publicly owned and privately owned.
The state owned train sets have three classes of service in two types of configuration. Soft air-con, hard air-con and cattle class.
The best are the soft-sleeper with generous air-conditioning that requires light sweaters in the north and in the south is just right. There are 4 bunks to a roomette.
Hard sleepers are six to a roomette and have thin pads to soften the wooden bed frame from your body. These come in air-con and sweatbox versions.
Finally for the cheap traveller there are soft and hard seats.
There are two types of Reunification train sets (rolling stock) the newest and the older (green) designs. The new trains cost a little more and travel faster - about 10 hours off the journey.
Thre are also privately owned train sets and are generally better than the state owned trains and are notably found on the Sa Pa < > Ha Noi, Nha Trang < > HCMC and the Phan Thiet (Mui Ne) < > HCMC - the best is the Nha Trang < > HCMC train.
As for cleanliness, you will find the roomettes clean (they steam clean - literally - regularly) and the bedding is 99.9% fresh. The toilets are where Foreigners have problems, but since when have ANY train toilets in ANY part of the world been spotless?
There are two toilets at either end of the carriage - one is equipped with mirror, handbasin and 220V power outlet. The second toilet has a handbasin, mirror and the infamous squat toilet.
Since some passengers steal toilet paper I suggest you (always) carry your own, along with your soap.
All facilities are routinely cleaned during a journey.
Old hands even know how / where to get a shower!
Of course there is always air or the notorious Open Tour bus, most of which are downright dangerous. Road deaths number around 13,000 annually in VietNam, rail around 0.
#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349