On my various travels around this little planet of ours I have found myself trying many of the world’s methods of getting about…
when flying i have sampled both the sheer luxury of a top commercial airline on long haul flights and the rather less luxurious budget airline.
Local transport about town has varied from ordinary car taxis to the more exciting 4 wheel drive and mopeds to the decidedly exotic tuk tuk and rickshaw.
Long distance overland is normally a train, seat or sleeper depending on distance to travel, or bus.
And of course travelling by sea has been achieved by an impressive variety of boat from large p&o ferries on a mini cruise to Spain a few years ago to, most recently, a basket boat in halong bay and everything in between ; fishing boat, kayak, hydrofoil, dive boat, RIB, outboard motor, inboard motor, 2 stroke engine…
And I am normally perfectly happy to get myself and my kit on board, settle down with book or ipod and laze away the hours reading, sleeping and often talking to carriage mates whether we understand each other or not.
In short I love the process of getting about.
However I think I may have just discovered my least favourite way of travelling…
Namely the Vietnamese sleeper bus. In many ways a sleeper bus is an ordinary coach. It has storage underneath for your motorbike – I kid you not, see photo – air con, even a loo. But that’s where the similarity ends for a sleeper bus does not have seats, instead it is decked out in very narrow, just-too-short, super uncomfy beds.
And every bump, corner, sharp brake and general movement of the bus seems determined to pitch you from your narrow berth and onto the floor.
And even if this primary object is not achieved you still come away battered and bruised due to 2 brilliant design features:
– the safety bar has been designed to be exactly the right position so that your elbow hits it with every movement of self or bus
– and the compartment for feet is similarly designed so that shins are caught a glancing blow at every opportunity.
It’s currently 06.30 on the morning after our first sleeper coach (everyone in Asia gets up suuuper early, wakes everyone else up by chatting for a bit then goes back to sleep – unfortunately I am of the school of once awake, awake for good so as the rest of the bus, including stef, slumbers I am blogging).
You gotta try these things once or how do you know you don’t like em, right? However if Stef is amenable this will be our last Vietnamese sleeper bus!