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Vietnam – Ways to Travel

Published: 30.6.2018
There are many places how to travel in the country. I have prepared for you a small summary with some recommendations.

You can rent a car or a motorbike. Some years ago it was not officially possible at all, and the international driving license did not help. I really do not wonder to tell the truth, so the experienced driver here will have problems. Especially in cities which are chaotic. The brave ones of you can rent a bike to the north and ride through the mountains. However, good orientation is quintessential, you will not find not many maps over there and locals don't usually even know how to use them.

cities are chaotic

The second option is the use of local public transport - day, night, and even busses with

vlak

 beds - in my opinion the worst option. They are not comfortable, they do not keep to their schedules and the crossings are long. Besides, the pockets with some pockets have one minor problem, the size of the pocket is normalized to the average Vietnamese, so you do not have a chance to fit in...

I would not recommend buses at all for long journeys. Even if you had a local driver. The maximum speed on the highway is about 80 km/h. So you can make quite a good guess how much it would take from Hanoi to Hue; nearly 700 km.

 

Domestic flight is not a bad solution either. Yet I recommend night trains instead. They will get you to a lot of places, save you some money you might otherwise spend for accommodation, and the next day you will see new places. It depends on the type of train, somewhere beside a bed, you can also get small refreshments, water, fruit and biscuits, some even one-time slippers. There is one disadvantage to trains – air conditioning is always put on max. Cabins are mostly 4-bedded and can be seriously cold on the top bunk. I have not met a train yet, where one can switch air conditioning off. However, the quality of this means of transport is improving, new wagons feature better toilets, digitized train speed information, information on the next stop or terminus. At the station you may be approached by kind helpers who will offer help with luggage. As soon as you nod to him, prepare a lot of money, however. Nothing is for free, and they can significantly overestimate the value of their work.

minivan

A minivan with local driver is the last alternative of transport which I recommend to take to places where trains do not travel. This is something you will appreciate a lot for a handy local driver or a guide might be very helpfull. They will be able to deal with significant weather changes and take you to places you will hardly find otherwise. He will be your mediator in communicating with local residents, acquainting you with exotic fruits and local specialties, finding a suitable restaurant or inventing a replacement meal.

We're by train to Lao Cai. Here you do not have to worry about losing a destination. In any case, Lao Cai is the terminal. Moreover about 30 minutes before the trip, you will hear the tones of the national songs that are played in local.

Sapa   Sapa

Lao Cai is the starting point for traveling north of the country. The first tourist destination was Sa Pa, to where you can take the bus which takes about 45 minutes. The mountain town is situated at the altitude of Snezka mountain. Over the years I've been visiting this place, it has changed a lot. Hotels and catering facilities have been built there. However, Sa Pa has not lost its atmosphere till today. It is definitely a smart place to go for a walk along the rice fields, a short walk from the new high-tech cableway to Phan Xi Pang in Indochina, or visit Cat Cat village.

Cat Cat Village   Cat Cat Village

We leave a walk on rice fields for the next time.

GPS: (vesnice Cat Cat) 22°19'51.3"N 103°50'00.3"E

 

Text a foto: Magdaléna Radostová



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