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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

Day 122: 2nd June
Bussed Up
The flag of Vietnam

Saigon, Vietnam

On the face of it, night buses seem like a good idea. They're dirt cheap - I'd paid US $20 for my whole open ticket from Hanoi to Saigon, including stops - plus you save on a night's accommodation each time. But in reality, they originate from the same place as Michael Bolton: the very depths of hell itself.

Firstly, the seats recline. A nice touch. Yours, of course, won't. On the other hand, the seat of the person in front definitely will, and they will enjoy pushing the boundaries of international seat technology by forcing it back as far as possible, leaving you with so little leg room that even Christopher Reeve would have complained.

Next, the driver, who by his erratic driving has presumably taken a course of caffeine laced with amphetamine in order to keep him up, will hurtle the bus violently around corners, thwarting any foolish thoughts you had of sleep.

The air conditioning commonly doesn't work very well if at all, and even more commonly has (unbenownst to the valiumed up travellers sleeping like babies) been turned off either to