Clever as we were, we decided to go to the bus stop ourselves to buy a ticket for the night bus from Dong Hoi to Hanoi instead of booking through our hotel. This saved us 3 Euros and our backpacker hearts jumped for joy. 😉

When we arrived at the bus stop at half past six with half an hour left till departure, the bus staff ushered us into the bus with some kind of urgency. What was the stress about we wondered. At the entrance of the bus the driver’s assistant pointed to our feet in their flip flops and showed us a plastic bag. WTF?! We should take off our shoes and get into the bus barefooted? Luckily we had a pair of socks in our day packs in preparation for the freezing A/C bus ride. We put on our socks, were handed our shoes in a plastic bag and were shown to our seats, or to be more precise to our beds. Sleeper busses in Vietnam have narrow recliners in them that almost resemble beds. There are upper and lower bunks, where the lower ones are almost on floor level. We were placed at the bottom.

Sleeper Bus Vietnam

Sleeper Bus Vietnam

Bunk on sleeper bus Vietnam

And just as I was getting all comfortable, feeling happy that this would be my first night bus ride on which I would actually be able to sleep, the first cockroach passed through my field of vision. Anyone who knows me closer knows how awful that moment was for me. I don’t mind spiders or snakes, but anything that crawls at high speed is a nightmare to me. And then I saw another one, not far from the first one on the floor…close to where I was planning to place my head. Oh and on the other side of the aisle there was another one! I was horrified! How the hell was I supposed to shut my eyes, let alone sleep with this I wondered after jumping up, standing in the aisle. As we were the only non-locals on the bus, I wondered if the tickets our hotel would have organized would have spared us this adventure.

When the bus was ready to leave one of the staff asked me to sit down and I hissed at him whinily that I could not, pointing at the two roaches closest. He came over, rolled up the green plastic carpet, causing both bugs to fall over next to each other and without a warning smashed them with two loud cracks of his bare hands. He rolled the carpet back and nodded that everything was ok now and we should move into our bunks… 😯

I don’t know what was the worst part of this night bus ride: the fear of cockroaches climbing over our sleeping bodies or the stench of the smelly guy’s naked feet resting right next to our heads.