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The railway network in Vietnam is not dense. But one of its main railway lines, Hanoi – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Railway, crosses Vietnam from north to south along the beautiful east coast with most stations set near the city center, making your trip in Vietnam more convenient.

Vietnam Railway Information

First built in 1881, now the total length of Vietnam railway is about 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) and the 2,700 kilometers (1,680 miles) is the trunk routes. Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Railway, also called the Reunification Express, is about 1,700 kilometers (1,070 miles) long, a popular route for tourists wanting to travel between the two cities while enjoying beautiful scenery. Train SE1, SE2, SE3, SE4, SE5, SE6, SE7, and SE8 are best trains running between. SE3 and SE4 are the fastest trains which could finish the whole trip within 30 hours, while others may take longer time, about 33 – 41 hours.

Except the Reunification Express, there are some popular tourist trains operated by private train companies, the tourist train carriages have better decoration and service, you have options like Sapaly Express and King Express on Hanoi - Sapa / Lao Cai line, Livitrans Express on Hanoi – Danang line, Laman Express or Lotus Express on Hanoi - Hue line. Also, tourists can take international trains to China at Hanoi, Gia Lam Railway Stations.

For independent travelers, if your destinations include Sapa, Hue, Danang or Hoian, the tourist trains would be an ideal way to save time and hotel bill. Overnight trains from Hanoi to Sapa, Hue or Danang actually saves time over flying, because the trains are located in city centers. And the train journey is an absolute Vietnamese experience. There are also trains from Hanoi to Haiphong (Halong Bay).
Vietnam Train FAQs
Do I need to book the train ticket in advance?
Trains in Vietnam are in great demands among tourists, so it is helpful to book tickets through local agencies or your hotel in advance especially in peak seasons from Nov to Feb. You could also book ticket online.
Is the ticket E-ticket or paper ticket? How to use?
You will get e-ticket. Travelers could print out the e-ticket by themselves or save the screenshot on smart phone. Before boarding the train, please show the e- ticket or screenshot to the railway staff.As for the tourist train tickets, travelers need to reconfirm the tickets at their ticket office about 1h before the departure.
Are there cockroaches on the train?
Yes, sometimes you will meet one or two cockroaches. You could prepare some non-flammable pesticide and give the compartment a good spray when boarding. Actually, cockroaches are everywhere in tropical countries whether you see them or not.
How much luggage I can take?
Each passenger can take one luggage no more than 20kg for free. If the luggage is sorted neatly, you will be brought up to 40kg free.
Is it Asian squat toilet or western toilet on trains?
There are western toilets in soft sleeper carriages, and Asian squat toilets in hard/soft seat and hard sleeper carriages. Besides, there is no toilet paper available. Please take your own.
Is there automatic announcement for each stop?
When you board a train, the staff on the train will know where you will get off. They may notice you when you arrive at your destination. Though the strain staff will announce the stops, you need to be aware of your destination in case you may miss the stop or get off at a wrong station.
What happens if there is a mistake in my names?
For most occasions, you can still use the ticket to board the train as long as the name is not totally different with your passport.
Is it possible to find my lost on the train?
It’s too hard to find the loss since the train staff will clean the carriage at each stop. Besides, there are many passengers on & off the train. Please take care of your luggage well.
Can I change the ticket if I miss the train?
Sorry, the ticket will be invalid after the departure, which means the tickets cannot be changed or cancelled anymore. Please use the ticket on time.
Is there a stair between lower and upper berth?
No, there is only a folding pedal on the wall. Passengers could unfold the pedal and climb to upper berth.
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Vietnam Train Reviews

4.7 3 Reviews
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  • OLGA from Latvia Posted on March 12, 2020
    The train trip from Hanoi to Saigon was not as good as I have expected. The journey is too long, and the train facility is not as good as the sleeper train in China. The views are good, but you could take part of the Reunification Express to enjoy it, for example from Saigon to Da Nang.
    4/ 5
  • KARINA from Russia Posted on January 09, 2020
    The Laman Express from Hanoi to Sapa was really good, we are four friends travelling together, and we have a whole cabin of soft berths. There are also VIP berth on the train, which is almost the same as soft sleeper cabin, the only difference is that the upper berths are folded. If you don't mind share cabin with others, then soft sleeper is ok, since the price for VIP is almost double of the soft sleeper.
    5/ 5
  • RAYMOND from Canada Posted on November 30, 2019
    We have took the train from Nanning to Hanoi. It was really sleepless but exciting since we need to get off the train twice in midnight. The station in Hanoi is Gia Lam, you still need to take taxi to get to the city. We would try other trains in Vietnam next time.
    5/ 5