Cost Breakdown: 5 days, 5 nights in Hoi An/Da Nang(?)
One way train ticket HCMC to Da Nang – $38/person
Accommodation – $101.31 total
Transportation – $45 total (Ubers to, from, and around Hoi An/Da Nang)
Food/Drinks for 5 days – $70/person
Attractions/Activities – $19.50/person (Hoi An Bike Tour, Marble Mountain ticket, Massage)
Hoi An is known for being a romantic and relaxing getaway, but historically it’s a city of tailors. It’s still quite touristy, but I don’t necessarily find that to be a bad thing. A local told us that, not long ago, it was a very poor area, and only relatively recently has it become a popular stop for foreigners. This was definitely a much needed break for Will and I after being in crazy Ho Chi Minh City. Flights from HCMC into Da Nang, which is 30 minutes away from Hoi An, were about $70 per person. The train was half the price, so we decided to embrace adventure and give it a go.
Oh boy. Dat train ride doe.
First of all, the country of Vietnam may not look too big on the map, but it’s long. It’s an 18 hour train ride from HCMC to Da Nang, and that’s only going half way up Vietnam! A lot of people recommend taking the train not only because it’s cheaper, but it’s a pretty scenic route. The scenery was definitely beautiful during the daytime, and the sleeper car really wasn’t that bad…I mean, if you’re tired, anywhere will be comfortable, right? The soft sleeper, which is what we booked, has four beds. At some point about 2/3 of the way there, a polite couple from New Zealand took the top bunks. I was ecstatic about bunking with other English-speakers, and Will put up with it without any complaints.
If I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t take a train so far again unless absolutely necessary. While some could handle it, the condition of the train’s bathroom was too much for me. It was just dirty and there was a river of mysterious liquid flowing along the perimeter. As I struggled to open the door around 3am, my foot took a plunge I’ll never forget. I’m getting older – too old for a ride this rough. Anyway, on to Hoi An.