This article was submitted by guest author “Nha Toi” in Vietnamese. The English translation is provided by Vinh Dang.
Last time, we’ve talked about different methods of transportation in Vietnam. One of the many ways to travel throughout Vietnam, the S-shape country, is to ride the Thong Nhat train from the North to the South. The train spands from Hanoi station to HCMC (Saigon) station.
1. Many people still prefer to call Hanoi station by its old name of Hang Co station. Hang Co station was built in 1902 but its original architecture had been destroyed during the Vietnam war. This train station was then rebuilt in December 1976 and renamed as Hanoi station. Hanoi station is known as the largest railroad station in Vietnam.
2. After one day of travel, you will reach Lam River and be able to enjoy the tranquility of this sight through the train’s window. Lam River begins in Laos and runs through Nghe An province. Toward the end of its current, Lam River merges with La River, and the combined rivers detach itself from the land before running into the ocean through the gate of Hoi.
3. Lam River got its name because of its vibrant shade of blue. Both sides of the river are full of alluvium. Lam River divides the land between Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces. For this reason, Lam River and Hong Mountain have been known as the shared symbols of Nghe An and Ha Tinh because they stand between the two lands.
4. In the early morning when the dews haven’t yet settled, the hard-working farmers awaken to start their day on the fields. According to the farmers who work in Dong Xuan rice field, the changes in climate will help them predict the year’s harvest. When the winter is at its coldest, the farmers predict a successful harvest. If the winter is only moderately cold, the harvest will be even more successful. Conversely, a warm winter indicates an unsuccessful harvest.
5. Look! There is an old brick furnace…. Many people may not have seen it in real life but only read about it through the literature works of Nam Cao, a legendary Vietnamese writer. Brick furnace is such an old artifact that only exists on certain rice fields.
6. This is another brick furnace, but a more often used version. These hand-made brick furnaces are still very popular in Vietnam despite them not being environmentally friendly.
There exists new variety of brick furnaces are called “tuynel”, a type of furnace that was imported from Germany since 1976 with enhanced technology for the environment. Since it is much more costly to purchase and maintain these new furnaces, the big old hand-made ones are more prefered.
7. The roads in the countryside have been coated with cement.
8. As soon as we pass Quang Binh, we can see many vast fields with white sand and soil. The soil in these fields can grow melaleuca trees but not much else.
9. It is interesting to note that the power cable and the rail road are almost parallel with each other. After the Vietnam War, Thong Nhat rail road, 1A highway, and the 500 Kilo Volt power system from North to South have been the top priorities of the country’s construction plan. The 500 KV power system had officially launched in late May 1994. It eliminated the painful power outage problem in southern Vietnam. In 2010, the electricity price increased by 6.8% due to the increase in cost of all resources that are used to produce electricity.
10. The Thach Han River’s name comes from the belief that there is a series of rocks that lay across the bottom of the river. This river does not have much alluvium due to its limited length. Even though during the Spring, the river holds the most water, but it is still not as full when compared to the other rivers. During the dry seasons, many parts of the river dry up, and people can easily walk across to the other side.
11. Truoi Bridge watch house was built during the French colony. Because of its rigid structure, the watch house is standing still throughout many violent wars of this country.
12. Lang Co Pond.
13. Lang Co Bridge connects the road into the tunnel of Hai Van trail.
14. A corner of Lang Co Bay looking down from the Hai Van trail.
15. During holidays away from school, the village children tend to take care of the ox, the most valuable property their family owns.
16. The image of a buffalo and a plow is still considered to be very unique to the Vietnamese farmers.
17. Pumpkin field. The soil in the Central Vietnam is not as rich when compared to other regions of the country and the world. The people who live in Central of Vietnam are known to have the most struggles. Due to this reason, many Central citizens move to the cities in search of jobs.
18. Vietnam is a friendly country with very friendly citizens. However, the tourism industry in Vietnam has not yet developed fully because the lack of skills in organizing events and utilizing the country’s resources. This gives the country’s tourism a disadvantage in competing with its neighboring countries even though Vietnam has the most potential. Allow me to quote a few words from the article “Penguin Traveling” of the Thanh Nien magazine: “Vietnam Traveling is like a penguin, which has a pair of feet but without a pair of flying wings; therefore, it can only toddle but cannot fly up high.”
19. A group of white egrets is waiting for the sun set so they can take a rest on top of those bamboos behind the village.
20. When the evening comes, the train arrives at Phu Yen. There will be a long sleepless night that is full of loud noises from the train.
In the following morning, the train will reach its last destination, Saigon Station. Here ends our travels from Hanoi to HCMC.