Our First Train Experience

In an attempt to leave Phong Nha and head up north to Ha Long Bay, we ended up bed hopping, staying in four different places over five nights. We left Phong Nha for a quick night in Dong Hoi before an early morning train ride, where we stayed at the Sunshine Hotel. The woman who owns the hotel, Moon, is the cutest human to walk planet Earth. She offered us fresh fruit and juice, was so intrigued by our stories, and insisted on taking some pictures with us before we left, asking if we will be back next year. Aw.

Anyway, back to our travel to Hanoi. We decided upon a 10.5 hour train to Hanoi, leaving at 9am. We were curious what the experience would be like, and turns out, it wasn’t too shabby. The time passed quickly, with the help of downloaded Netflix shows, books, and podcasts, but honestly, it was filthy. People around us were coughing up lungs onto the seats, the bathroom was not a place you want to linger, and there were a couple overly hyper kids. Once we accepted all this, time passed quickly, and arrived in Hanoi at 7:30pm. After a quick taxi, we plopped our stuff down at our Hostel, the Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel–possibly the nicest hostel in the world–and sought out Mexican food.

Quick background, we were both relatively sick and hadn’t eaten much in a couple days, and I had the most intense craving for authentic Mexican (this is very hard to find in Vietnam). I actually followed Chipotle and Taco Bell on instagram just to look at pictures of burritos… Gross, I need to undo that. Needless to say, I found the number one spot in Hanoi, and we had the most expensive meal we’ve had in Southeast Asia so far, and it was worth it.

After our amazing meal, we tripped around the Old Quarter–which interestingly has streets named after the goods sold on that street, such as silver street where they oddly enough only sell silver–and made our way home, exhausted after the long train ride.

We had an early morning meeting our tour guide the next day for the Swan Cruise that will take us through Ha Long Bay for two nights and three days. (We wanted a more immersive experience, rather than a quick day trip, so opted for the long cruise).

This post was a quick one on my craving for Mexican food… But more to come on our trip through Ha Long Bay!