Arriving in Nha Trang & My First Experience of a Sleeper Train | Southern Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City was such a good experience – the chaos & craziness was surreal and unlike any other big city I’d ever been to. But I was ready to move on, and anxious to travel by sleeper train for the first time – I’d heard many horror stories from other backpackers and was eager to see for myself! 

We were heading for Nha Trang, a smaller, beach town on the South East coast, and the second stop in travelling up from the South to the North of Vietnam. 

In true backpacker style, we boarded our 10 hour train from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, and embraced our accommodation for the night. Maybe I was lucky, and I certainly avoided a lot of the horrific things that I’d heard, but I thought the sleeper train was pretty cool! (I could be saying something totally different in a few days, when we’ll be sat on one for 14hrs from Hué to Hanoi!) 



The journey was a combination of what felt like a rollercoaster, a bumper car and a crazily quick train, and being woken up by a shaking bed was a regular occurrence! 

But despite all of that, it was a pretty unique experience and we arrived in Nha Trang at 6am, bleary eyed and without showers. 


Nha Trang was still quite hectic – the moped numbers had decreased, but crossing the road and driving anywhere was still quite risky. But what I’ve realised, is that although the roads look totally chaotic, there is a system that all car/moped drivers and cyclists understand, and surprisingly, it works. I’ve not seen a single accident, and I think I’d even argue that the Vietnamese beat the New Yorkers and the Londoners in terms of skilful driving! 

We somehow managed to power through the day, running on Vietnamese iced coffee + croissants and then headed to the Tháp Bà Spa for their mud baths. For 13 USD, we got taken straight to the spa, and first step was to bathe in the mud – which looked like a pale chocolate milkshake, but was grainy and actually a little cold. It is supposed to be exfoliating and keep skin looking refreshed and youthful. Worth a try! And overall, very relaxing – which was exactly what was needed after a sleeper train. 


The second day day in Nha Trang was another great one – starting with $6 head, neck, shoulder + back massages and a lunch time trip to the Skylight Bar, for 360 degree views of the city and its pretty white houses. 


Nha Trang also served the best meal I’ve had in Vietnam – its chicken Vietnamese curry, which for me, blows Indian out of he water, with its soup like consistency. A good final meal before boarding a second sleeper train to Hoi An! 


So so much more has happened in the last few days, and still have a packed itinerary, including heading for HaLong Bay! 

Thank you for reading! 


Charlotte J. X 

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