It had been two weeks since we’d seen the ocean, so by the time we were moving on from Ho Chi Minh City we were itching for it.
Tiah had wanted to be the lead on the next leg of our journey so we let her, and she did a fabulous job. She researched beaches in Southern Vietnam within striking distance of Ho Chi Minh City and she settled on Mui Ne, not only because it was less built up than some areas but it also had two sets of incredible sand dunes as attractions.
Once we’d all agreed with the choice, Tiah went ahead and researched and arranged our travel plan and where we’d be staying. She asked what we were hoping for and then went on Bookings and found us a sweet ‘motel-style’ place just outside the village right on the ocean. She discovered that getting to Mui Ne was easy – it was one bus from Ho Chi Minh. Once the plan was solid she and Tony went to the bus station and she booked the tickets and he paid!
It was easy to catch the bus as the station we were catching it from was directly across the street from our hotel. What we didn’t realize was the mini bus we boarded would not be taking us to our final destination, but rather, it was only going as far as the side of the highway (literally) on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh where we had to get off and transfer to another bus that would take us to Mui Ne.
Of course it was a little odd getting off on the side of a busy highway but on first glance our new transportation looked fantastic. It was a real coach – a sleeper coach, non-the-less, that had beds, or rather thin, reclining seats rather than real seats. Like I said, on first glance everything looked so cool and comfortable but glances and reality didn’t really match.
As we entered the bus we were given a plastic bag for our shoes, which is a pretty smart idea for keeping everything clean. You simply take off your shoes and put them in the bag, only thing is it’s one more thing to find a space for. But still it all looked good until we found that our tickets were for the very back of the bus on the upper bunk – this is where it was not good and it was anything but cool and comfortable.
First it was super difficult to climb, barefoot, up the tiny iron ladder to get to our bunk and as we were the last to get on the couple next to us were already happily settled in and I have to say taking up more than their fair share! I was the very last to climb up and that was a struggle in itself as the bus had already started moving.
I did the best I could but I was stuck right in the middle, sandwiched between Tony and another gentleman – may I politely point out that this is a bus made in Asia, with delicate Asian-builds in mind – need I say more?! Within ten minutes I knew the ride was going to be h@#l. Tony was trying his best to make himself smaller and confined to his seat but the other gentleman obviously couldn’t give a hoot and was sprawled out and his arm kept touching mine, and we had bare skin, and ewwwww. I did not like it.
I did everything I could to try to make a little space for myself but it didn’t work. Looking around I could see how comfortable and relaxed the other passengers were, especially the ones that were on the bottom bunks. They had lots of space and were happily nodding off, or reading, or whatever, happy in their own personal bubble.
As I looked around I realized there was an empty spot and although it was still a top bunk it was on its own. When we stopped at our first rest stop I managed to have it confirmed that the spot was unoccupied and the conductor/attendant said I could move – thank goodness because by this point I was so cramped and twisted I was beginning to feel like I’d caused some muscle damage.
The rest of the four-hour journey was not bad at all. At least I had my own space though I did feel a bit mutinous that I’d left Tiah and Tony with the sprawled out stranger. Still I got to read and enjoy the view from my window as we zipped through the countryside of Southern Vietnam.
And so the lesson of the day is, if you are travelling on a sleeper bus try to make sure that your tickets are for a bottom bunk or at the very least that they are not for the back row!
P.s. I am also really glad that I didn’t read any of the reviews about travelling via bus in Vietnam until after we were safely back!
on a travelling bus
too close for comfort