Hanoi, S1 is the fastest, and departs at 19:00; the S3 at 19:30; and the S5 at 10:00.
Prices vary according
to train and type of travel: hard-seat, soft-seat, hard-sleeper, and soft-sleeper.
is the most expensive, and S5 the cheapest. For those
planning to stop off at Hue, a soft-seat on the morning train is pleasant enough.
The train from Hanoi leaves punctually and passes the morning activity of a long,
long line of open-house, cum shop-front commerciality.
Forty-five minutes later, and you are looking at banana plants, bamboo clusters,
and an army of workers knee-deep in mud, diligently painting the landscape green, with
fresh rice seedlings.
Appropriately enough, attendants arrive to distribute free, airline style meals.
more like a large portion of rice (bring your own chili sauce for flavoring), some sort of
fatty meat off-cuts, and a small amount of scraggy vegetable leaves, to which is added
soup from a large, round tin on wheels. No thanks...
Dessert is a strawberry wafer; which
tastefully neutralizes the chili sauce, earlier applied like ketchup.