There have been so many accidents recently - usually caused by unskilled drivers, that I thought it important to notify all who were considering this option. Please read Death is a Bus here:
During my first trip to VN in 2001. I took a TM Brothers open tour from DaLat to HCMC. The driver was speeding down the mountain at a very reckless speed. I asked my VN GF to tell him to slow down. She would not do it. Too intimidated by a VN male in charge. A younger, more aggressive guy from Australia got up, stood next to the driver and shouted at him: "Stop the bus, stop the bus!!" He got the driver to stop and then my GF told him he was driving very reckless and we were going to report him to TM Brothers office in HCMC if he did not drive safely. He did slow down, for about 15 minutes, then the reckless speeding started again. Again the Ozzie guy shouted at him to "SLOW DOWN". He did and then we were out of the mountains. Uneventful trip once on flat ground. Several of us went into the TM Brothers office and reported what a terrible driver this guy was. I don't know what happened next, but at least we arrived in HCMC in one piece and reported a stupid driver. I talked to a local ex-pat about the experience and he said TM Brothers had a terrible reputation. I now use Sinh Cafe or Hahn Cafe when using the open tour buses.
The train is safer, but accidents occur on that system as well.
I hear that stretch of road is a killer. I need to take the Nha Trang-Dalat trip next month, and I will insist on taking the Mai Linh bus that goes on the new road. I refuse to set foot on the Dalat-HCMC road. I'm flying Vietnam Airlines from Dalat to Saigon.
I flew...I heard of people taking some three days to travel on the trains and/or buses...but Vietnam Airlines was amazing. Plush leather seats, lots of space, plus they rush out to feed you a great meal, the staff are incredibly friendly, the best bit, you get to watch take off and landing care of a small drop down screen!!!
I was impressed. The flight from Danang to Saigon took about 1.5hrs, and cost about $55.
The only way I'd want to use the roads in Vietnam is under my own steam (much like Top Gear) on two wheels!!!
We were forced to do two 12 hour bus trips when all other transport was completly booked over the TET period.
The drivers were maniacs, they seemed to aim for other drivers coming towards them. There was two lanes but to overtake the driver pulls into the middle of the road and just bibs his horn for others to get out of the way........which happened continuosly. On high hills and downhill they went so fast I though we were going over the edge of the barriers, my heart did not stop pounding. They also changed drivers mid flow.......could not believe it, one held the wheel while the other moved into place.
Every seat was booked, tiny uncomfortable seats that you slide off and do not recline. The floor space was also booked........about 10 vietnams sitting on the floor, so you could not strech your legs.
We also ran out of petrol, luckily a moped was stored in the luggage compartment, so they off loaded it and sent someone off to get a gallon.
What an experience!
Thanh Nien News reports that 8,200 people died in bus accidents so far in 2009: