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En route to Nha Trang

I decided to skip Phu Quoc this time as it would take too many days - there weren't any flights available. Public bus and ferry [6 hour bus trip plus 9 hour ferry ride] didn't sound appealing either. I'm on a cafe bus to Nha Trang, an 11 hour trip.


Does "cafe bus" mean food while you ride?

That would rule, but no. I'm not sure I have the terminology right, but basically, they're bus lines that are operated by a network of cafes and guesthouses throughout Vietnam, to fill the gap between public buses, public trains, and Vietnam Airways. Foreigners are routinely overcharged on public buses and trains, usually only Vietnamese is spoken, and they don't offer the kind of schedules and destinations that travelers wanted, especially the backpackers. Vietnam Airways is the only airline that does domestic flights within Vietnam, and it can be pricey.

So I bought what's called an open ticket where there are 5 or 6 segments, from Saigon/HCMC in the south to Hanoi in the north. I can hop on and off as I wish. It's a hell of a deal at $25 for the pack. The buses are in good condition and are well-organized. The only downside so far is that the segments are quite long, and I don't know that my patience will hold up. But even if it doesn't, I should be able to get a partial refund. [I did end up taking the train from Hue to Hanoi, but wasn't able to get a refund. Only lost about $6 for that segment, though, and the train was well worth it]

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