I have to warn you that this was not a good experience. However, it's experiences like these that make this trip a real adventure.
The day was off to a good start in Halong Bay, with warm weather and fantastic food, but all good things must come to an end. The boat was taking us back to the harbour, where we were getting a bus back to Hanoi. At some point on this five hour bus journey, Harmony and I realised we might not make our bus from Hanoi to Hue. There was lots of traffic and also a lot of waiting around - first, there was the hour long wait for the bus itself at the harbour, then there was an unnecessarily long wait at a strange rest stop along the way and then we had to wait for the other passengers to draw out money, but it seemed that all of the ATMs in North Vietnam were out of order. What a nightmare! Fortunately, we were a priority and were first off the bus.
We made it to Hanoi in time for the bus, but my phone was now out of power. Obviously, a dead phone in this day and age is a bit of an emergency situation. How was I going to listen to music on the bus and how was I going to find our hostel when we arrived in Hue. Thankfully, I could use my laptop as a back up charging port throughout the journey.
At first, the bus itself seemed like the coolest thing ever. There were three rows of fully reclined seats and two levels of them to (like a bunk bed, not a double decker). I climbed into my allocated seat and quickly realised that I was two inches too tall for it. So, to say the least, it wasn't a comfortable journey. I also had my camera bag on my lap which wasn't ideal but it wasn't going to leave my side.
I probably slept for five out of the fourteen hours we were on that bus. They like to beep their horns in Asia. It's a communication thing, and there's no end to it. The problem was solved when I put my earphones in, but then another issue popped up. Because of the design of the bus, whenever the driver slammed on his breaks, I slid forward and, whenever I slid forward, I whacked my shin on the metal bunk bed posts.
Three hours went by and we arrived at our first stop. What a relief. I needed a wee since the second I got on the bus. Too bad we stopped at the most disgusting place I have ever set foot in. The toilets were leaking whilst also overflowing. The smell was indescribable and the food wasn't any better. Harmony wanted some rice but I couldn't let her. Not even the rice was worth the risk. You don't want food poisoning on a fourteen hour bus journey, and I didn't want to sit next to her with food poisoning on a fourteen hour bus journey.
The rest of the journey was broken up with one or two other stops. By this point, I was just happy to stretch my legs regardless of how clean the place was. We got oreos to keep us going and water to combat the dry air conditioning. There's not much else to say about the journey other than the constant coughing, crying babies and loud snoring. I think you get the picture though... It wasn't a good experience. However, somehow, I loved every minute of it. It was an adventure and adventures are all about being outside of your comfort zone... WAY out if your comfort zone!
Related Blog Posts:
Ha Long Bay
Hue's Abandoned Waterpark
Vietnam Image Gallery