Arrived in Huế, Vietnam on Thurs, Oct 17th at 2:25pm after being on the train from 7pm the night before. Was an OK ride, but doesn’t seem that Vietnam has done any work to improve either their rolling stock nor leveling of the trackbed.
Because the Vietnam Gov’t seems to have left the trackbed deteriorate over the last few years, Mai ended up getting motion sickness on the train because it swayed from side to side so strongly (not to mention sometimes bucking up and down). Mai had to wear the acupuncture bracelets on each arm and take homeopathic medication to reduce her discomfort. She has never had motion sickness on the Vietnamese train between Saigon to Hue and Hue to Saigon which we have taken almost every time we arrived and/or left Vietnam.
While we generally enjoy the train much more than the plane, we will have to reconsider if we take the train again. We can pack all our large/heavy luggage and send it via the train. It cost VNÐ2,000/100kg/day for storage (which is quite reasonable).
We took a slightly cheaper version of the train than we took before and the berths were harder, the bathrooms started cleaner but rapidly deteriorated and it was sidelined more ofter for a faster train or a train heading South.
I would have loved to capture more photos of the aftermath of the typhoon which hit central Vietnam a few days before we passed through, but the conductor was such a PITA that he wouldn’t let me open a window to take quality, clear pictures and the window glass was so dirty that it was hardly worth taking a picture through.
Met a wonderful couple from New Hampshire on the train which were backpacking throughout SE Asia for more than SIX MONTHS. I find very few people/couples my age traveling by backpacking and not on organized tours. I was impressed!