Seat 61 (hope you don't mind my abbreviating your pen-name) I've been following your website for some time and used it for advice in travelling in Asia since 2006.
I'm planning a trip for 2 couples through Vietnam travelling from Sapa to Saigon and staying in Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue then Nha Trang.
Where overnighting is required on the trains, we'd strongly prefer a soft sleeper otherwise a soft seat with air-con would be terrific.
Could I get your advice on my suggested itinerary please, especially the last leg from Nha Trang to Saigon? I've marked our preferred train with an *
28 Apr (Sunday) Hanoi to Lao Cai SP3* (7, 1 or LC1) leaving 21:50
1 May (Tues) Lao Cai to Hanoi SP2* (SP4) leaving 20:05
7 May (Monday) Hanoi to Ninh Binh SE19* (7 or 5) leaving 14:30
9 May (Wed) Ninh Binh to Hue SE19* (SE7) leaving 16:50
[SE7 better for the day viewing but only runs when needed]
13 May Hue to Da Nang SE1* (3 or 5) leaving 06:12
15 May (Tues) SE7 Nha Trang to Saigon leaving 07:42
We've been advised that the Hue-Da Nang and Nha Trang-Saigon legs are the best parts of the trip (hence heading for overnight trips in other places). As your advice doesn't reflect this do you think it's better reviewing this timetable?
We planned to buy all the tickets at one go when we arrive in Hanoi from the Railway Station. Do you think this is a good idea?
Any help and/or advice would be appreciated,