Travelling by train is a great way of experiencing real, local lives and culture in Vietnam. Our country has an extensive railway network that connects provinces and cities.
Most major tourist destinations are connected by the main railway from the North to the South. Here are some quick tips that will help you plan your train travel in Vietnam:
1. Plan your trip ahead
Whether you want to travel in the country by train completely or combine the train and flight while you are in Vietnam, it is better to plan your trip ahead. So, you can have more time to enjoy your holiday and avoid all the hassles.
If you want to travel by train for your whole trip, then the best route to pick will be Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City or vice versa. You can stop at beautiful places on this route, e.g., Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Da Nang, Hue etc.
Of course, this is after you have already planned your trip and picked the destinations where you want to visit and stay.
2. Book your tickets in advance
I think I said we all want to avoid hassles during our holiday. Yep, that’s why booking tickets before you go is the best way. Of course, you can book the tickets on the way. However, be aware of peak travel seasons because you might not get a ticket while you are there.
You can book tickets online, or when you arrive in Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City, go to the station and get your tickets. I will list the addresses of the main train stations in the next section.
You can combine your trip travelling by train and flight. For example, you might want to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang and spend time in Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue. Then, take an overnight train to Hanoi from Hue.
3. Choose your seat class
Vietnamese trains offer a variety of seating classes, including soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat, and hard seat.
I don’t know if you understand these terms. However, the soft sleeper is the most comfortable one. Often there are 4 berths in a cabin for this option. You will share your cabin with another 3 people. Unless you pay for the whole cabin (4 tickets), You can sleep on the train, so pack your back smart and carefully.
Hard sleeper – often 6 berths in a cabin, the mattress is thinner than the soft sleeper one. You will share your cabin with 5 other people.
Soft seater one – the seat has cushion, a bit like the economic seat on the plan.
The hard seater one – Let’s say wooden chair or steal chair in the park :D.
4. Be prepared for delays and enjoy the scenery
Like airlines, train schedules can be subject to delays and cancellations. So, it is a good idea to plan a flexible itinerary.
If you like to watch movies, make sure that you have a movie on your phone or device to watch while you are watching. Enjoy reading. Then, a book would be helpful when waiting for the train.
The other day, I talked to one of my friends here in Australia. She and her husband have just finished their 4 weeks trip to Vietnam. She said the best part of her holiday was on the train. Looking at the stunning scenery along the way and talking to local people on the train! Many Vietnamese people who can speak a bit of English would be very happy to have a chat with you. Ask them things that only local people know, and they can practise their English.
Here are the train stations if you want to buy tickets yourself:
Vietnam Train stations
Ho Chi Minh City – Train station
Ga Sài Gòn – 01 Nguyễn Thông, Phường 9, Quận 3,TP. Hồ Chí Minh
Tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi stop in multi destinations. After you plan your trip, then you can go to ‘Ga Sài Gòn’ and buy all your tickets from here (if available)
Nha Trang City – Train station
Ga Nha Trang 17 Thái Nguyên, Phước Tân, Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa 650000, Vietnam
Da Nang City – Train station
GA ĐÀ NẴNG, 202 Hải Phòng, Tam Thuận, Thanh Khê, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Hue City – Train station
Ga Huế – Sunny B. Hotel, Nguyễn Tri Phương, Street, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam.
Quang Binh City – Train station
Ga Đồng Hới – tiểu khu 4,, Đồng Hới, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Ha Noi City – Train station
Ga Hà Nội – Số 118 Lê Duẩn, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội. Điện thoại: 19006469
Note: ‘Ga‘ means station. From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Ga Sài Gòn) you can book train tickets all most everywhere in Vietnam (if there is a railway).
The official Vietnam Train Website is https://vetau.com.vn/ or https://dsvn.vn/. These websites have the English version but be aware that they might not speak English very well.
There you go. Now you are ready for a trip to Vietnam travel by train. Enjoy your holiday!