The overnight bus journey that we embarked on from Hue to Hanoi with Camel Travel was incredibly bittersweet.
On the one hand, we were very excited because the bus was taking us to Hanoi where we were then due to catch a flight home via Singapore and Greece the following day. It was time for us to head home back to the UK for a little while until the terrible COVID-19 situation had placated somewhat.
However, as well as feeling excited at the thought of seeing our family for the first time in almost a year, we were also incredibly devastated to be leaving Asia behind for the time being.
Anyway, it’s time to move on with the story of our journey from Hue to Hanoi and as it was the last one for a while, I had high hopes that it would leave a lasting impression!
We arrived at the Camel Travel office at 5:00 pm after spending the afternoon at a local restaurant in Hue (I can’t remember what it was called unfortunately!). We showed our booking confirmation email to a member of staff who told us to sit outside and wait for a taxi to take us to another office. We weren’t told why this was the case but we weren’t exactly in a position to question.
Sure enough, at 5:15 pm, a taxi (that was included in the price of our bus ticket) arrived to take us just two minutes around the corner to another travel office. We could have easily walked there, but I think Camel Travel wants to ensure that everyone gets there safely and on time, so they drive you themselves.
Hitting the road: Starting the ride from Hue to Hanoi
The bus set off promptly at 5:30 pm and as we weren’t provided with assigned seats, we were allowed to sit anywhere. Thankfully, the bus wasn’t too crowded at this stage, so my boyfriend and I managed to get seats next to each other.
This wasn’t our first overnight bus in Vietnam, so we knew exactly what to expect this time and were well equipped with plenty of snacks, water and comfortable clothing.
The buses in Vietnam aren’t exactly the comfiest or most spacious, but luckily I’m only 5ft 2 so I don’t struggle to fit in too much. My 6ft boyfriend on the other hand always feels particularly squashed and cramped whenever we travel on overnight buses!
The bus supposedly had free Wi-Fi on board, but there was no connection available so we just resigned to watching downloaded episodes of Netflix on our phones.
At around 7:30 pm, the bus stopped for the first time for a brief toilet break. However, the toilets were absolutely vile and completely flooded with water, so if you can, I’d recommend holding it as long as possible!
The next few hours seemed to drag by in a state of tiredness while watching Netflix, until the bus stopped again just after midnight for another toilet break; at least these ones were much more pleasant this time.
I spent the next couple of hours desperately trying to get some sleep as I knew we had another 48 hours of travel left until we arrived home back in the UK, so I really needed to be prepared!
Arriving in Hanoi
I think I managed maybe around 3 hours of sleep before the bus pulled up at the side of the highway at around 5:00 am the following morning, an hour earlier than it was meant to arrive.
We all sleepily disembarked and retrieved our bags from the luggage compartment, before being hounded by local taxi drivers trying to charge three times the price of the normal fare to take people into town.
Even though we were extremely exhausted, we begrudged getting ripped off so we decided to walk ourselves.
It certainly wasn’t the most enjoyable walk in the world and it took over an hour to get close to the center of Hanoi, especially with our 14 kg backpacks on our backs, but our flight from Hanoi to Singapore wasn’t until 7:00 pm that evening, so we had plenty of time to kill!