Home to some of the world's most extraordinary subterranean landscapes, deep and heroic history and its unique and friendly culture. This is Vietnam and how to travel the stunning country via train. The train is a great way for those who have a stronger sense of adventure to explore, meet new people, see more of the country and experience another side of Vietnam, getting stuck into what is on offer in this picturesque paradise. For more stunning train journeys, check out our series here.
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Why Travel By Train In Vietnam? 🇻🇳
Most say that travel by train in Vietnam is the best way, but why? To begin, the majority of Vietnam’s trains are fully air-conditioned, which is vital when travelling with lots of luggage, also considering that temperatures can reach highs of 30 degrees in its hottest month, which is hot when you have a backpack on! This is always a benefit for those who dread long journeys as well as for those who are travelling alone and want to ensure full comfort.
In addition to the cool AC, trains mean that as a traveller, whether alone or with family/friends, you have the possibility to meet some Viatmenese people who are known to be extremely kind and polite. This opportunity can lead to travel tips and advice as well as recommendations and a new blossoming friendship along the way!
Typical mistakes tourists in Vietnam tend to make is that sometimes you think you can save time and money by using internal flights, but an overnight train ride from Hanoi to Hué or Danang saves time over flying. In addition to slashing your time spent travelling, you also save the need to pay an additional hotel bill as you can sleep on the train due to some routes leaving in the evening and arriving in your desired city centre the next morning!
Despite the need to get to and from Point A to Point B, the train allows you to experience views that you may not be able to acknowledge if you were to head up into the clouds or speed along an expressway (highway) in Vietnam. Rice fields, palm trees, water buffalo, Vietnamese towns and villages... You get a real insight into Vietnam when you travel by train, both urban and rural, which you don't get from 35,000 feet. The views you take from the window of your train add to the experience of your brilliant trip to this destination. Parts of the country you would not have considered visiting on your excursion if you didn’t have the time or budget add to your memories and experiences anyways! Win-win no?
The Best Routes & How To Take Them 🚆
Da Nang to Hue - This is considered one of the most popular train routes in Vietnam. The road route is plied by hundreds of motorbikes and scooters every day, and it is quite a ride; therefore, it is very handy that there is a train that offers this route and also offers beautiful views along the way.
Hugging the coastline and surrounded by dense jungle, the Da Nang – Hue railroad is absolutely spectacular, so make sure you get a good seat on the right going to Hue and on the left going to Da Nang!
The SE2, SE4 and TN2 run from Da Nang to Hue during the day and SE1, SE19 and SE3 run from Hue to Da Nang all before lunchtime. They depart daily and take over 2 to 3 hours (From Danang to Hue or return).
Saigon to the Beach by Train - Fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the Viatmenese streets and cities and want to head down to one of the popular beaches? We don’t blame you. With more than 2000 miles of coastline, Vietnam brims with secluded coves, white sands and waters fit for snorkelling and other water activities.
The popular beaches of Mu Nei – Phan Thiet can be reached directly with a short 4-hour train journey straight from the city streets to the sand. Trains depart Saigon at 6:40 and 17:40, so you can either spend a whole day basking on sun-baked strands or head to the beach late afternoon/ early evening to take in the sunset.
Hai Phong to Hanoi - From Hai Phong’s Railway Station, passengers can buy train tickets for around $5 for a 2-hour-and-45-minute ride to Hanoi. This is one of Vietnam’s most scenic train journeys, with views of picturesque landscapes such as rice fields and bustling streets portraying vibrant local life. Covering 102KM, the railway route between Hanoi and Hai Phong is brilliant way to see more of what is on offer in Vietnam in its remote/rural areas. (Pro tip: Hanoi is a great stop-over for those looking to remote work for a few days)
The highlight of the ride must be the part when the train approaches Long Bien Bridge as it enters Hanoi. Passengers will be awakened by the exhilarating breeze and wowed by the panoramic view over the vast Red River and its verdant fields on the river banks.
Da Lat to Trai Mat (Via Tran Quy Cap) - One of the most picturesque cities in Vietnam, Da Lat has a reputation for its numerous off-the-beaten-track landscapes that can only be viewed from a train’s seat. Travellers who climb aboard at Dat Lat Railway Station will be wowed as the train rolls past Tran Quy Cap Street. Dense rows of stunning Cherry Blossom will make you feel as if you’re in Japan. A sight like no other!
Along the 7KM length of the railway, passengers can catch sight of picturesque flower fields, quaint villages, and mist-covered lush mountains from the comfort of their carriages. When departing the train at Trai Mat, tourists can talk a five-minute wander to Linh Phước Pagoda, Da Lat’s biggest pagoda that is made of thousands of broken glass pieces.
Vietnam Train Travel Tips 🎫 🧳
1. Book train tickets online and receive an e-ticket to save time and travel hassle-free
2. Sleeper trains in Vietnam do not have a curtain, you should take care of your luggage or personal items.
3. You can book most routes 60 to 30 days before departure. Shorter routes such as Da Nang to Quy Nhon may open closer to 30 days before departure, while longer routes like Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City will open 60 days in advance.
4. Don’t forget your ID or passport.
5. Arrive at the station 60 minutes before departure time
6. Bring a maximum of 20 kg
7. Take care of your belongings
8. Pack food and drinks in advance (optional)