Experiences for travelling by train in Vietnam

by TAA on December 24, 2019

Train is one of the 3 most popular public transportation in Vietnam today with extremely large number of daily passengers. Previously, traveling by train was not popular due to some problems such as incomplete ticket system, poor service quality on the train, long running time... However, in recent years, thanks to great investment and upgrade, the railway industry has attracted significantly more tourists to choose this type of transportation. If you are planning to travel by train or are searching more about this option,you may find the article helpful.

The current Vietnamese railway system has a total length of 2,600 km, including the main railway lines:

  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City (1,726km in length)
  • Hanoi - Lao Cai
  • Hanoi - Hai Phong
  • Hanoi - Quan Trieu
  • Hanoi - Dong Dang (Lang Son province)
  • Kep (Bac Giang province) - Uong Bi - Ha Long (Quang Ninh province)
  • Kep (Bac Giang province) - Luu Xa (Thai Nguyen province)
  • International train Hanoi - Beijing (China), through Dong Dang Station (Lang Son)

Which destinations can be reached by train?

There exist some famous tourist destinations that you can reach by train, especially for those famous tourist cities located on North-South railway axis. Here are some suggestions in order from North to South.

Sapa - Lao Cai

This is a rare tourist railway in the northern mountainous provinces, which originates from Hanoi and passes through some provinces such as Phu Tho and Yen Bai and then Lao Cai - the last stop of the journey. The train usually runs from Hanoi in the evening, around 9 - 10 p.m, and arrives Lao Cai in the early morning (around 5 a.m). In this train, there are some compartments invested by tour operators for their passengers. Previously, when the Hanoi - Lao Cai highway was not completed, travelling by train to Lao Cai or Sapa was often chosen by travellers owing to equivalent time but more comfortable than travelling by car.

green terraces in Lao Cai
Sapa - Photo: Internet

Read more: Experiences of Hanoi to Sapa by train

Hai Phong

Hanoi - Hai Phong railway connects Hanoi capital and the port city of Hai Phong. This line was built by French in 1901. On June 16, 1902, the entire route was officially put into operation. This railway is 102 km long running across Hanoi, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Hai Phong. It is an "edge" of the economic development triangle (Hanoi - Hai Phong - Quang Ninh) of the Northern key economic region. The starting point is Hanoi Station and the end point is Hai Phong Station.

Hai Phong city

Hai Phong - Photo: Internet

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is located in the southernmost region of the Red River Delta, which has the economic and cultural exchange between the Red River basin and the Ma river basin, between the Northern delta region and Northwestern mountainous region.

mountains and paddy fields surround in Trang An, Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh - Photo: Internet 


Hue is a city located on the East Coast, a central city between two major cities Hanoi and Saigon. The two neighboring provinces of Hue are Quang Tri and Da Nang. Hai Van pass connects Hue with Da Nang and become the weather boundaries of the two regions.

Hue ancient Imperial
Hue - Photo: Internet

It is the only city in the country that still retains the appearance of a medieval city and the architectural integrity of a monarchy. Hue has become a great and priceless museum. Therefore, the government ranked the monuments in the ancient capital of Hue as a valuable asset and in December 1993 Hue was ranked as the world cultural heritage by UNESCO.


Da Nang is a coastal city located in central Vietnam, located in the central between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. With diverse natural landscapes, Da Nang not only attracts visitors with a beach longer than 60 km, voted by Forbes magazine as one of the 6 most attractive beaches on the planet, but also has many impressive landscapes such as Son Tra Peninsula, Ba Na Hills, Marble Mountains

Dragon Bridge at night

Da Nang - Photo: Internet

Quy Nhon

Located in Binh Dinh, a province in the southern central coast of Vietnam, with tropical monsoon climate. As one of the five provinces of the key economic region in the central Vietnam, Binh Dinh is located in the center of the North-South axis (on all 3 aspects: National highways 1A, Vietnam railway and domestic airway). Binh Dinh is home of many art forms such as Tuong, Bai choi... with a long sea coast, many bays with beautiful beaches, and famous tourist spots such as Quy Nhon, Tam Quan, Tan Thanh, Vinh Hoi, Trung Luong, Hai Giang, Yen island, Hoang Hau beach, Quy Hoa, Bai Dai, Tan Phung and Vinh Loi...

Quy Nhon

Quy Nhon - Photo: Internet

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is the coastal city and center of politics, economy, culture, science and technology, as well as tourism of Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam. Before becoming a part of Vietnam, Nha Trang belonged to Champa. Relics of the Cham people are still in many places in Nha Trang.

Nha Trang beach

Nha Trang - Photo: Internet

Mui Ne

Mui Ne is 14 km northeast of Phan Thiet city center. Mui Ne is the name of a fishing village and also a familiar tourist spot in the South Central Coast. The beach is shallow, the water is clean and clear, the sky is sunny throughout the year, and there are no storm, so Mui Ne is an ideal place for bathing and resting for tourists.

Mui Ne sand dunes
Mui Ne - Photo: Internet

Read more: Hanoi to Halong Bay by train: unique experience

Some tips when traveling by train

There are some tips below, which help you to avoid encountering some problems when you travel by train.

  • Always book tickets about 2-3 days before the trip so you can choose your seat in advance. For big holidays, you should book a few weeks in advance.
  • Before buying tickets online, be sure to prepare your ID / passport information of all passengers on the train. Each transaction takes only 10 minutes, so if it is time to ask about it, you will not be able to complete it in a timely manner.
  • On the train running through the night, especially in the bed cars with air-conditioning, it is often quite cold, families with children and babies should wear long clothes for them.

train cabin with convenient beds to sleep at night
Inside the train in Vietnam - Photo: Internet

  • The current Thong Nhat train, if you go on long distances, you will receive free lunch / dinner meals. Meals are packed in aluminum boxes like on a plane. With the short journeys, you can buy these meals at quite reasonable prices.
  • There is boiling water on the train, so you can bring noodles to eat.

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