Taking the Long Way travel blog

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum (no photos allowed of him of course)

The changing of the guard is quite impressive; those guys are very...

Ho's old house; a Ho house perhaps??

The 'amazing' One Pillar Pagoda outside the Mausoleum.

Hanoi traffic

The Camel bus brochue that started it all...I was hooked

On the sleeping bus

A closer look at the seats

The view from my bed/seat

It even has a toilet downstairs

Streets of Hue

Along the south bank of the Perfume River

The Truoung Tien Bridge

Perfume River

In Dong Ba market

Very smelly produce in Dong Ba Market


Guinea pigs for sale on a footpath pet store...

The rest of the 'pet shop'

The north bank of Perfume River

I spent one last wet and soggy day in Hanoi yesterday, killing time after checking out of my dorm with copious drinks in cafes, a visit to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum (where his dead body is embalmed and on view 4 days a week) and a few bowls of pho.

I had gone to a travel agency the previous day to arrange my travels south and was tossing up the merits and cost of the bus versus the train, as my next destination was 12 hours away. I was told that the bus was cheaper (by half) and that I could get the sleeping bus so i could lie down. I seriously thought this girl was having me on; nothing like that existed last time I was here!

I asked around and it seemed that the Camel Sleeping bus was indeed the way to go and highly recommended as the way to travel the country. So I waited to get picked up by the bus but at the appointed time of 6pm a very small Vietnamese man with an even smaller motorbike arrived and said I had to hop on and he would take me to the sleeping bus. I was adamant I was not getting on the back of his bike with my pack, bags etc but after 5 minutes of arguing I had no choice and off I went bags hanging every which way off me as I desperately tried to balance for the 15 minute ride, hoping I would not fall off as I didn't even have a helmet.

The bus was fantastic, I think the government back home need to look at introducing these; particularly for commuters! It was hard to get a clear picture inside but basically the bus is full of 'bunk beds' that operate like a pool chair; you can lay them down or sit them up. And they come complete with seat-belt, blanket and pillow. What more could you want? No head flopping forward when the seat doesn't recline far enough, and no fat person next to me taking up half my seat as well.

The only problem I had was that the cover for the air conditioning vent above me was missing so I spent 12 hours under what felt like an arctic gale. I had to get into my sleeping bag, put on my hoodie and pull them both over my head, along with the supplied blanket, to stop shivering. This bus has to be the way of the future I'm telling you!! I'm going to catch them everywhere I can while I'm here, I think I am addicted. But I'll have spare pair of socks handy to shove in the vent if need be next time.

I arrived in Hue this morning and found a great little hotel to stay in for $14USD a night. And the best part; I have a room to myself for the first time since I left home! It feels fantastic, I can leave my bag unlocked and my toothbrush in the bathroom (actually I could also do that when I was in Bali, sorry Luke :P).

The weather is much better here, I've seen the sun for the first time since I left Borneo. Like Hoa Lu, Hue was also once the capital of Vietnam this time between 1802 to 1945 during the 13 emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Seems every city must get a turn... Hue is much smaller than Hanoi, so its a nice change of pace. The city is set on both side of the Perfume River with two bridges allowing access between the north and south banks. I'll only stay here a couple of nights before I continue on south.

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