Hi slowwalker, frankly speaking, if u not fussy, should be able to get a room when u touch down in HCM, coz there's plenty of hotels and lodges. Can try out the backpacker areas, rooms are cheap and u can go ard to another place if that is full. juz make sure u get to view the room first. dun thk the tourist season is on yet.
Hi batubata, no prob. hope this will answer ur doubts.
1. The scenery on the train i didnt get to view much as i made a couple of stops and mainly nite trains. manage to catch some morn views along the way from Hue to Hoi An though. that's the recommended day trip ride as it spans from the coastal area and the scenery was wonderful. check out this website more on info and pics.
2. basically i took nite trains and i stop by the towns so i didnt go str fr hanoi to HCM. mostly spent sleeping since itz overnite train rides. wake up in the morn and reached the stop i wanted. but i did bring along a MP3 player to shut the noise fr the train and to entertain miself, oso tok to some other passengers on the trains. other den that, thk u gotta maybe bring along bks to read so as to pass the time. most travellers i saw do that.
3. the cabin is pretty safe as it locks from inside, so u are safe from any prying eyes and thieves who might walk pass during the nite. but do bring along a lock to lock ur backpack to the bunk as there's no safe. carry along ur valuable stuff if u need to go to the toilet. otherden that, i shared with 2 other passengers and sometimes they were locals. they basically juz do their own stuff. not a bother for mi. oso i got mi pouches secured to near where i slept juz in case.
pinkbunny, i didnt get any jabs but in case u really wana play safe and u have weak, can take it. mostly the food there was ok as itz well cooked and i drank bottled water mostly. only towards the end of trip, den start taking the icey stuff, dunno, maybe i got a stronger stomach. hee...