Well … the journey from Da Nang to Nha Trang was not as bad as I expected. This time we chose a 4 berth sleeper cabin. It was comfortable and we were provided with pillows and blankets. However the cabin was quite shabby and could have done with a good spring clean. On the plus side it didn’t stink like a urinal. The journey at times was a little bumpy, sometimes it felt like they had installed sleeping policeman on the track. Other times the driver seemed to brake late and we would come to a shuddering halt. It was a shake, rattle and roll journey. Getting on and off the train was an experience as they don’t have platforms and you get down on to another track. Thankfully there’s limited traffic on Vietnam Network Rail.
We left pretty much on time and the views from the train kept us interested. The population of Vietnam is approx 100 million, of these 70 million work in the country as peasant farmers. This time of year is rice harvest time and the fields we passed had hundreds of Vietnamese manually cutting and threshing rice. We saw paddy fields being worked by water buffalo with very few mechanical aids.
On the journey we literally saw thousands and thousands of graves, the vast majority with ornate headstones. Some would be in the middle of a rice paddy field, vegetable patch or next to someone’s house. We also passed huge cemeteries, the vast majority of the graves are concrete/block construction, painted in vivid colours or brightly coloured tiles. Some of them seemed bigger and better constructed than the houses the living Vietnamese people lived in.