Sharing my experiences to manage your expectations
Bus 1: From Ninh Binh to Sapa
Bus – VIP Sleeper 41 by Grouptour
- The bus arrived 15 minutes later than the official start time.
- Before reaching the sleeper seats, I had to take off my shoes and place them in a plastic bag.
- No seats allocated, free for all, first come first serve.
- I slept in the top bunk and had to figure out how to maneuver myself onto the top bunk.
- Width-wise, I could lie flat and my shoulders would almost touch the window or side bar. I also had a day bag which I brought on board with me and that took up some space in the bottom half of the bed.
- Length-wise, the bed would’ve fit me just nicely but I placed my shoes at the end of the bed so I still had to curl my legs. I think that if you are above 160cm, you would find the sleeper seat a tight squeeze for you ):
- Water was occasionally dripping from the aircon so I covered myself with the blanket provided.
- In the 7-8 hours bus journey, I recall that there were 2 rest stops for toilets and snacks and we were provided slippers to walk outside of the bus. Visitors were required to pay 3000 VND per toilet entry.
- I had planned to take a night sleeper bus so that I could avoid wasting daylight on long commutes, but I feel that it’s quite tough to have a good night’s sleep on the bus. Reasons being
- some roads were bumpy and winding,
- there were many passengers on board, so noise was unavoidable, and
- during the rest stops the bus would turn off the aircon and the stuffiness would make one’s sleep rather unpleasant
- For my bus ride in particular, we had to switch buses in the wee hours, and I have no wonder why till today ._.
Bus 2: Sapa to Hanoi
Bus – Eco Sleeper Bus by Kadham Bus
- This bus felt so luxurious! There were only 2 rows of sleeper seats instead of 3 and each passenger had their own “cabin” with curtains for privacy.
- There was Wi-Fi on board too, which was not present in the previous sleeper bus I took.
- Similar to the previous bus, I had to take off my shoes before boarding and was provided slippers to walk around at rest stops.
- The bed fit me just nicely length-wise, but the width was quite spacious!
- I took this bus during the day (2 pm) and reached Hanoi at around 7+ pm. In this 5hr+ bus journey, there were also 2 rest stops and thankfully, I was able to take a few naps throughout the bus ride.
- The bus captain would use a microphone and speaker to inform passengers whenever we were reaching a rest stop or our destination, which I greatly appreciated. In comparison, the bus captain(s) for the previous sleeper bus only knew how to speak Vietnamese and didn’t make any announcements. So, most of the time, I was just following other passengers on board.
No doubt, I enjoyed my second sleeper bus ride more, mainly because I had more space! 😀
Thank you for reading!