Because of the cold weather we skipped Halong Bay and returned for one night to Hanoi before taking the sleeper Bus down to Hue. We read a lot of terrifying stories about the sleeper busses in Vietnam with titles like “Bus to Hell” or “Bus de la muerta”. But it was the easiest way to go to the center of Vietnam. And of course we read the same stories about the slow boat to Luang Prabang and it turned out as one of the best things we did so far.
We sprint our day walking around Hanoi and had some nice lunch in the middle of the old city center district.
We were picked up in our hotel and had to wait a little in front of the bus office until our bus arrived and we were allowed to go inside. It’s probably a good thing if you’re one of the first to choose your seat and if your not traveling alone and want some seats next to each other. There are no seat numbers given in advance and it works: first come / first serve. Of course you can talk to the other passengers to arrange the best but a lot don’t understand English or are just kind of assholes.
The seats/beds in the bus were in three rows and up and downstairs. We hoped it were like two to each other but it was different. So I took one in front of Ari but both of us downstairs next to the window. Upstairs it shakes more because of the movement of the bus and in the middle row there walk the people on both sides of you. We prepared us for the 12 hours bus trip with some Brandy, just in case. And beer is a bad idea because of the toilet situation on the bus. There is one on board and we used it in the beginning but it’s better to skip this experience. In the bus you have to take off the shoes and you go to e toilet barefoot or with socks. And as you can imagine people pee all over the small toilet room. Because they are unable to be a little careful or because of the movements of the bus caused by the bumpy roads and the sudden stops of he bus. But luckily the bus stopped after 2-3 hours to get dinner and a toilet break.
After this break I fell asleep and woke up when it already get bright outside and the sun said hello to us. From now on it was less then 2 hours to our destination and although he beds are not big enough for a person with 1.85 meters it was an unexpected comfortable bus trip from Hanoi down to Hue.
For this don’t trust all the horrible stories out there and make your own experience. Probably it’s more dramatic to write something terrifying then to tell that it’s just a good way to travel. But the stories about the toilet conditions on board are true as long you’re not the first one to use it!