After a few amazing days and nights in Ha Noi we woke up a little slow at 11:30 and had to decide to stay another day or pack up our room filled with many new street treasures. A quick google online and saw a train schedule for trips out of the city and to the bay, Hai Phong. We saw that we could get tickets online and at first it seemed like a good idea because it’s nice to use a bank card instead of spending your cash. There were two options, hard seats, and soft seats with AC. The tickets where about 9$ each online. Fortunately to buy them it took us to a paypal site and we decide to back out and just walk to station and buy tickets there. This way we wouldn’t buy a ticket and miss the train. We found out, DONT BUY TRAIN TICKETS ONLINE, BUY THEM AT THE STATION. We ended up paying about 12$ for all three tickets instead of 27$ as it was online. This was also from the government train page and not a travel agent.
If you find yourself walking to the train station from the old quarter in Hanoi to the
Long Bien Railway Station becareful for the closest market. YOU MAY WANT TO TAKE TAXI TO TRAIN STATION. We ended up in the least friendly place we have been yet. This wasn’t a market for tourists and we could feel it. We have been met with many smiles and wonderful people, yet in this market we got angry looking faces and we got waved away from stands when we stopped. As we came out of the market area we were meet by a group of people that gave us smiles and we felt back into the Vietnam we had felt and loved before. The only issue is there was a really big dog that came out full aggression with its hair raised and it barked and came very close. Luckily the people around us helped and yelled at the dog. We felt lucky because if this had happened 50 feet before we don’t think anyone would have helped. A trick I have learned from traveling is IF AN AGGRESSIVE DOG COMES TOWARDS YOU, PRETEND TO PICK UP A ROCK & HOLD YOUR HAND HIGH AS IF YOU ARE GOING TO THROW IT AT THEM. Most dogs will back up and leave you alone or quit following you when you do this.
We had made our way to the train station and walked in to get our bearings, a ticket and make sure we are in the right spot. We went to the counter and ended up getting all three tickets for 270,000 dong, about 12$. We had to later make sure that we got the soft seats and not the hard seats and maybe that is why the price was different. We had the correct seats and where ready to go, except we needed food and supplies. One thing we learned is that SHOPS ARE VERY SEGREGATED IN THEIR GENRE OF OPTIONS. AN AREA WILL BE MOSTLY FOOD, OR MOSTLY CLOTHES, OR IN OUR CASE MOSTLY WORK SHOPS FOR VEHICLES AND METAL WORK. We certainly didn’t want to go back into the last market we walked thru so we walked for many blocks of vehicle and metal stores. We found a few cafes, yet it seems that IF IT SAYS CAFE, THEY WILL NOT HAVE FOOD. We had eaten at many coffee shops and houses previously, yet they didn’t say cafe. We found a small grocery store, bigger than the small convenient stores you see everywhere. We got wine, cheeses, salami, some crackers and sweet drinks for chaser. We decided to go get some bahn mi from this lady at the train station and spice them up. Standard egg bahn mi costs 20,000 dong, a little less than 1$. We ended up making some amazing upgrades bahn mi with hot sauce, cheddar and blue cheese, salami and some random sweet french fries we picked.
This were amazing sandwiches that hit the spot.
When getting on the train, we had to figure out which seats were ours because from what we saw there were people in our numbered seats. It’s confusing because the seat numbers are on the back of the seats and we didn’t know if that means the seat number or if the number you look at infront of your seat is your number. We just took random seats and then we were asked to move by other people that just got on the train. We asked these people to move but they wouldn’t move. Luckily some locals spoke up for us and explained to the other people that they had to move. We learned ** THE NUMBER ON THE BACK OF THE SEAT IS FOR THAT SEAT, NOT THE NUMBER THAT YOU LOOK AT FROM YOUR SEAT**. We got our seats and the train started moving. Of and out of the city we left. Back to the beach with some fancy new diggs.