The bus company collects us from our hotel at 7pm with a modern mini bus to take us to the bus station where there are 10 buses with coloured lights at the ready. All are heading to Da Nang covering three different companies. Our bus company’s four buses are lined up. The number plate is pointed out to us: this would be important at the midnight stop.
I’d heard horror stories of overnight bus trips in Vietnam. Statistics are online about crashes and crazy drivers. I doubt these take into account the sheer number of buses driving here. At the midnight stop four buses from the same company are stopped en route to Pleiku. Four more red buses pass in each direction north and south. And that’s just in the space of 30 minutes. There must be hundreds of buses cross crossing the country every night and then hundreds more during the day.
Our trip is comfortable. The bus sways. We watch movies and listen to music on our phones, and sleep. There’s bumps and twists but the driver rarely uses his horn and keeps the speed low.