The old people on the bus.

by James Murtaugh, Jul 26, 2004 | Destinations: Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh City

May 2003.

My wife and I are going to Vietnam for thirty days. This will be my wife's first time there. I have been on tours in VN before. This time I wish to avoid the rush of being with a tour group. I also wish to stretch our money over the thirty days. I also want to see VN in a different way. To stay as long as I please when I'm in a place I like.

The answer is the Sinh Cafe bus. Sinh Cafe is located on De Tham St., HCMC (Saigon). They run their buses between HCMC north to Hanoi. You may get off where you wish and leave again on another bus. They will try to get you to stay at the hotels they stop but you may stay where you wish. You are on your own. If you wish, you may take local tours with Sinh or other local travel agencys.

Most of the people on the bus are backpackers from Australia and New Zealand and are in their early twentys. Except for us!

We stay at the Hong Hoa Hotel next to Sinh Cafe. The hotel is family run and has a internet cafe and a small store. Eight dollars a night and a dollar for breakfast. Just a simple room to sleep in. There are many small hotels in the area also. Always haggle the price and look at the room before you check in.

De Tham street is a good area to stay in. Lots of places to eat,a real nice park nearby, the central market is not far away. We enjoyed the area very much.

The bus ride to Dalat is a good one. Lots to see. A rest stop has buildings that look like they belong in Califorina. It is owned by the Tamchau tea and coffee company. Great food at a good price. The hotel Sinh stops at is fairly new and the people that work there are very nice.

The road to Nha Trang is long and rough at times. The hotel the bus stops at is not very good.

We take the only bus to Hoi An. A night bus! Many trucks on the road. The road is good but the Vietnamese have decided to replace every bridge at one time and we use temporary bridges every few miles. The trip takes all night.

Hoi An is a great place. Good food and hand made clothes. Stayed at Thuy Duong 3 Hotel, new, big pool, good food and good price.

The bus ride to Hue is short but lots to see. Here I break the rules and stay at the Saigon Morin Hotel. It is the best hotel in VN. The rate is about 70 dollars a night. A small family run hotel in Hue is the Phong Nha hotel. Much cheaper.

Many times you will meet people you met on the bus and learn of good places to eat or stay and you can enjoy sharing your trip. Be advised the bus will be full most times. We found this to be a good way to travel and was fun for the most part. We would do it again.

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