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Travel Hanoi to Sai Gon by train

 

Early morning in Hanoi. The mist has gripped the station, the day soon rise. On the court, the seventies and gymnasts will trot briskly to their beneficent choreography. Departing on the 2 platform, travelers asleep drag their boobs like balls. Under the yellow glow of sodium lamps, the train crew is working SE7 : final preparations for the big day in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

A young controller glued to his cell phone ear address to a sweet goodbye... like a sailor leaving port. Foghorn ghost ship rail emits a long complaint, notify the laggards of the impending departure and warned residents of his next visit.
train Hanoi to Sai Gon, Vietnam train tickets
At 6h15 precise train pulls into the roar of diesel engines. The convoy through the neighborhood, brushing each side homes, lifting machine, daily random magnitude earthquake. It runs along the Lenin Park and then through the boulevards already loaded motorcycles, past the Bach Mai Hospital and a siren sound means his farewell to the capital.

On the train, all agents are at their posts. In brief audio announcement, the breakfast menu is declaimed : pho beef or chicken soup traditional North, my xao, noodles, Chao gà, broken rice soup with chicken.

The train goes south, begins his journey across the great plains and along the Red River. At infinity, the great green carpet of paddy fields unfolds, the bustle of the city are forgotten. On checkered flooded lands for generations, women bend to the task under their conical hat. Standing in the cold mud, accompanied by the spirits of the soil, transplanting them with application. Between the rods in the water mirror of the sky, the whole country is reflected.

The train gives the impression that the long morning never ceases to rise. It takes us into the bucolic landscape of the country still three rural quarters ( see the slideshow Landscapes of Vietnam, from north to south). On the bunds between flooded fields, guards buffalo roam slowly palm sugar announce crossing the province of Thanh Hoa. Between dream and reality, villages such garlands parade of homes.

Architectures appear suddenly, like slides. Here a little wet blue farm where a brushed yellow colonial house, later a gray building charmless 1970s seat of any popular committee. North awakens, but it must leave. En route to elsewhere, Annam and South and full of promise tropics. At the end of Vinh, the railway goes towards Laos and follows the meandering river Gianh. In the distance lies the Annamite Cordillera, spine, natural barrier against which leans the country.

Sitting in a corner, Cung scans the landscape. Engineer living in Vung Tau (formerly Cap Saint- Jacques, near Saigon ), it is for the first time back to his native village, leaving twenty-five years ago. " Twenty- seven hours to return home, it gives me time to review the landscape. This is why I chose the train. The aircraft is expensive, and then I want to see everything. "

History catches up with us in the first major central plains, the former Annam. The edge of each bridge, each crossing the rice is round, wedding concentric shapes pools. The bombs from the air have left on earth a drawing that, despite the time, can not be erased. Near the 17th parallel, we cross the Ben Hai River : DMZ from 1954 to 1975, she served as a border between the two countries, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

In cars hard seat, the seats are wooden. Tickets are cheaper half, and the density of travelers is far superior. Crossing such a car is like an epic. All access barred seems impassable. A tangle of feet, hands, arms and body, sometimes on the benches, sometimes on the floor on mats. Employees catering not intimidated.

In their warning, they commit their carriage between the seats ; members, heads and tote disappear temporarily grunts characterized. Here and there orders fuse ; tickets go hand in hand, which are sent back goods and beverages : steamed corn, incubated eggs, beef jerky and chili, yogurt, rice wine, coffee, tea... in wagons soft seat, the atmosphere is air conditioned. One half of the seats look the other : in the center, two flat screens documentaries broadcast in loop and Hong Kong action films ( see the slideshow on the train, with the Vietnamese).

Outside the dark. The head of the train finally announced the arrival in Hue. After 13 hours of travel, the litany of iron stops for a stop of calm and charm in the old imperial city.

Two days later, at 6am, back to the station rose to a fresh start. The SE5 train from Hanoi restarts towards Nha Trang and the southern beaches. Imperial Citadel, Perfume River, royal tombs, pagodas and garden houses are arranged radius memories. The fuss rails gets more beautiful. Dirt road, iron road, the two routes come together and meet. The " mandarin road " described by Roland Dorgelès (On mandarin road Kailash, 1997), has lost its charm. Rice fields have almost disappeared in favor of shrimp ponds. The commercial activity is grafted as a monstrous canker along the once enchanting axis.

The route of the train, it has retained its originality and allows a unique discovery of landscapes untouched by the frenzy of economic growth. To work around the neck of the Clouds, the rails are going tightrope above the waves salted borrow tunnels to emerge on the other side of the massif in the bay of Da Nang, the ancient Turan. Here lay the land of Cham kings, Hindu culture, from the ninth to the fifteenth century, dominated the center of the current Vietnam. Reflected in the My Son Sanctuary, near Hoi An

Nha Trang, the main coastal city of Vietnam, is proud of its long beaches and its sunshine. At the entrance to the station, the old water tower is still there. It was used to power steam locomotives, the last Pacific which linked Hanoi to Saigon, and were used until the late 1980s.

When the train departed Nha Trang, it crosses a vast plain towards Phan Rang. Tigers once roamed the forest here. We could hear their groans from the station who terrorized the population. Since then, large mammals and dipterocarp which served as their shelter have disappeared, replaced by crops that enrich the region. Only giant mango, guardians of the plain, still bear witness to ancient times this land of plenty.

The station Phan Rang, Po Klong Garai temples are the last visible vestiges cham from the train. Along the way, brick kilns and pottery reminiscent of the technical specialties in which Cham artisans always excellent.

Toan, 25, is controller for four years for Railway Vietnam. Saigon, he takes the train every week to Hanoi and then returns four days later. He works eight to ten hours straight and sits four or five hours in the car reserved for staff where twenty controllers take turns. The train is transporting all. Officials, soldiers, farmers and workers prefer for travel because it is cheap and mostly it is safer, the road is a place of carnage.

For foreign travelers, the train offers time for meetings. Asia is not discovered in the air teleportation. The journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in two or three steps is a journey across the country and seasons. While in the north, has barely begun transplanting, the center, the green rice is already high and is carried weeding and south, where the paddy is ripe and yellow, the activity is centered on the harvest and threshing.

Before arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, the train is climbing tea laterite. Along the way, planted like an army of soldiers at attention you, rubber bare trunk show off their dark green foliage.

Ho Chi Minh City is finally announced. Passing Dong Nai River on the cell phones of travelers come into action. The girls recoiffent, adjust their clothing. Ho Chi Minh City has a taste of freedom. Of all the northern provinces, people come here to pursue their dreams of success, his fantasies of happy life. The city attracts capital, loving energy and youth. As we approach the center, the armies of motorcycles seem to converge towards a miraculous place.

Few minutes before entering the station, loudspeaker broadcasts a song in praise of Ho Chi Minh while a voice welcomes travelers who completed the 1726 km from Hanoi and wished them "good luck and happiness " ultimate message to passengers of a ship approaching the promised land.

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