All about trains in Vietnam and how to use them
General information about Railways in Vietnam
The train network in Vietnam is not very developed. There is a railway line connecting the North with the South (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city), and passing through all the major cities and tourism center of the country: Nha Trang, da Nang, hue, Vinh. Hanoi is a branch in Lao Cai (to get to Sapa), Hai Phong (to get to cat BA island or Halong Bay). Also from Hanoi railway goes to China and then to Russia and Europe down to London.
However, travel by train is one of the most comfortable ways to travel around the country. Tickets for trains are cheaper than planes, but truth is more expensive almost twice, than the buses the same areas. In the period of the Vietnamese new year of Tet, and this January and February, prices for travel in trains increased up to 4 times.
Besides the obvious savings on the cost of travel compared to planes, trains and still save on accommodation, especially on the night trains. Indeed, instead of to spend the night in a hotel, you can sleep well on the train in the morning to arrive at the resort fresh and rested.
How and where can be reached by train in Vietnam
Not all resorts in Vietnam can be reached by train, and have to make connections to bus, ferry, or taxi. Here is a brief about how and where you can get on the trains, and more detailed information, refer to the relevant sections of the resorts:
- Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Nha Trang. All these cities lie on the same branch, to get from any one in any possible the direct train.
- Sapa. Train to Sapa is not, but from Hanoi need the train to get to Lao Cai city (usually night trains) and change there to a bus to Sapa in about 1 hour. Cm. read more on how to get to Sapa.
- In Hoi An. In Hoi an the train goes, but can be reached via da Nang. From the railway station and da Nang to Hoi an can be reached by taxi or by local bus number 1. Cm. how to get to Hoi an from da Nang.
- On cat BA island. To get to cat BA island, you need to take the train from Hanoi to Haiphong, from where a taxi to get to the ferry, and the ferry to cross to the island. You can also take a tourist Shuttle from Hai Phong to cat BA island, which is even cheaper than getting their own. Cm. how to get to cat BA island.
- To MUI ne and Phan Thiet. 15 kilometers from the resort is the station Binh Thuan (Muong Man a former). Through this station all the trains are from Ho Chi Minh city. From Binh Thuan to MUI ne will have to get a taxi for 20-30 dollars. Cm. for more information on how to get to Phan Thiet/MUI ne.
The schedule of trains on the lines
Classes of trains and wagons
In Vietnam, cars and trains come in different classes, as we do. There is a standard of Seating and sleeping, this air-conditioned and not air conditioned, hard and soft, as well as corporate and commercial trains of enhanced comfort. In different trains can have different classes, but not all, are from all classes.
General useful advice for the trip in air-conditioned carriages: dress warmly, especially on night flights. Air conditioners work here mercilessly, in the coupe at night is very cold even under the blanket. Experienced travelers have long been taken to train and duct tape vent grilles on the night.
The usual routes of trains are denoted by SE1, SE2, etc., and also SNT2, SNT2, SPT1, PT3. But there are special luxury carriages, which are included in the regular composition: Livitrans, Golden Trains and Violette.
Here the standard classes:
- Livitrans, Golden Trains and Violette is a private luxury carriages, which equates to five stars. Basically, these trains are traveling provided by the Europeans as the price for ordinary Vietnamese, and even budget travelers are unaffordable. Do not ply on all routes, but only from Hanoi to da Nang (hue) and from Saigon to Nha Trang.
- Soft sleeper is the most popular and convenient option. It is similar to our coupe, which is almost identical except for the details. There is also quadruple compartment lockers, toilets at the end of the car, and the heater is boiling water for tea, coffee, noodles. In the new trains have plug sockets for 220V.
- Hard sleeper is the same, and Soft sleeper, but in the compartment 4, and shelves for six passengers in three vertically. Otherwise, absolutely not inferior to the previous class.
- 2-berth soft sleeper VIP – is a new coupe Deluxe. In the compartment two shelves instead of four, the price of the ticket included drinks and food, but the price is prohibitively high.
- Air-conditioned soft seats are a good option for short journeys, but from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city is better not to go. This is the usual seats as in a bus or plane, with two seats per row with the aisle between them. The seats recline back and you can even to get some sleep, but relaxation will not work.
- Air-conditioned hard seats for short trips within a few hours. These cars – similar to our old trains with wooden seats, and the back is absolutely vertical. They can go, for example from da Nang to hue, from Hanoi to Haiphong, but in any case not for long distances, or just sachets on the road.
- Ordinary hard seats – the same as the previous class, but without air conditioning. Also only use for short trips.
Where to buy tickets
Tickets for trains in Vietnam can buy at the railway station (cheaper), the Internet (a bit expensive), or in the tourist areas in travel agencies (a large profit).
You can buy tickets for 60-90 days before the trip, and this is best done in advance. Especially a lot of problems with tickets for the period of the Vietnamese new year of Tet, which takes place in February. On the eve of the Theta tickets difficult to buy for the whole period of January and February, better book them soon after the opening of sales for 60-90 days. Also keep in mind that prices at this time go up almost 4 times. If you pre-buy a ticket did not work, then you can try your luck in special ticket offices unclaimed and returned the tickets before the train departure.
Children under 6 years can travel free unless they occupy a seat. Tickets for children under 10 years are 25% cheaper for a bed and 50% cheaper for a seat. For children older than 10 years need to pay full price. Prices for directions, see above in the tables to the schedule.
But the ways where and how to buy tickets:
For tourists the most the actual purchase via the Internet, since the best tickets for trains of distant following to buy in advance. Sorry, buy your official tickets online Railways https://dsvn.vn/ tourists are not yet possible, because only payments with plastic cards of the Vietnamese banks. But tourists can buy tickets through the site 12go.asia. This site has Russian interface, but the purchase is carried out with a small Commission. Here is the form for the search and reservations:
💲 Pay the ticket online
✉ Will receive an itinerary receipt by email
🚌 Arrive to departureⓘWhen searching for tickets on buses and trains for 12go.asia pay attention to the ranking of tickets/carriers (marked with asterisks on a five-point scale) and the reviews of actual users who traveled on this route. Selecting carriers with the highest rated according to user reviews, you will protect yourself from possible problems during the trip.
After payment you will receive by email the e-ticket which you can print or just save to smartphone for planting. At the stations for boarding e-ticket to scan at the turnstile, after which you can follow to the train. In any case, if something will not understand, the staff at the station always help you.
Purchase in travel agencies
Travel agencies on the street to buy train tickets, but with the Commission. What is bad, in addition to a large fee you can still get on common fraud: buying a ticket on the car in high class, and as a result get a cheaper ticket.
Buying at the train station
It is the most reliable and cheapest way. At all major railway stations have staff who speak English, and even a special window to service foreigners. Per ticket no fee is charged, you will pay exactly what they pay and local. In Hanoi and Saigon, you can buy tickets to any destination and any stations but at other stations can be purchased only with the departure from this city.
Usually in large railway stations there is a system of electronic queue at the ticket office: get there pass and waiting room for their turn, which will be highlighted on the window. Even without knowledge of the language to buy tickets would not be a problem, since adopted such a scheme: pre-write on a piece of the desired route from-to date and if you know the exact departure time, number of tickets and class of the car. The operator will write on a piece of paper the amount you pay and receive a ticket. Payment is only cash Dong (see Vietnam currency), foreign credit card you can not pay.
Transportation of Luggage and bikes
Baggage is carried, as in our trains: take along in the car, and piled up on shelves. Keep in mind that the Vietnamese often carry a lot of baggage that may not even be enough space, so try to Board the train early to take a seat for their bags. In some cars there is a top of the third shelf, but it is not used as we have storage Luggage and travel passengers.
If you are traveling by motorcycle or Bicycle, it is no problem to carry them, but you can purchase tickets for their transportation online will not work. For this you need the station to go to a separate entrance, usually labeled as Luggage and motorcycle delivery, there to pay and arrange delivery. Of course, before that you need to buy a passenger ticket for yourself.