15.12.2009 - 16.12.2009 25 °C
OMG! OMG! This is crayzeeeee….
First of all we arrived at a back alley where Hanoi’s major train station was and within 2 minutes we were ushered out of the waiting hall and waved into a separate waiting room. Little did we know this was the VIP waiting area for people who had booked soft sleeper seats.
Before long we were boarding our train and as we walked out onto the platform we were greeted by what look like soldiers waiting by each cabin door. They were all immaculately dressed and very authoritative looking. We got on the train and OMG the train was plush! First of all there was carpet and there was hotel lobby music playing. We were shown to our to cabin which was amazing. It was the 4 berth sleeper and we had the whole thing to ourselves for the whole journey.
The seats were actual mattresses, the pillows and duvets (yes actual pillows and duvets) were of a luxury hotel quality and it had a heater which made it as cozy as hell!
We were loving it!
The train left exactly on time and before we knew it we were snoozing away snuggled up under our warm cozy duvets. The journey was 11 hours long - but it was no way enough time. We wanted to be on the train longer.
Half way the train stopped at both the Vietnam border so that we could get off and pass through immigration and once again 5 minutes later in Pingxiang (the Chinese side of the border).
Of course this formality was a huge nuisance when all we wanted to do was sleep! However the best thing about disembarking was seeing the train’s staff all get off the train and march in a single file (all who happened to the same height and build) with their identical trolley suitcases. They looked more like airline flight attendants than train staff - though we referred to them as our ‘royal guard’.
We would recommend that everyone try this journey once. If only for the star treatment.
We arrive into Nanning, China soon where we know the weather is a lot colder than what we have been used to and of course - we’ve heard the stories about how no-one speaks English. We cant wait though and we’re ready - armed with our small but basic phrase book…..