vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours

vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours

vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours

vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours

vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours
vietnam travel - vietnam tours - vietnamtravel - vietnamtours

Transport

Train Travel in Vietnam

Why trains are the best way to get around Vietnam...

You'd be crazy not to.  Vietnam's air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable & inexpensive, the ideal way for independent travellers to get around and see Vietnam at ground level.  The train journeys are an experience in themselves, and become an integral part of your visit to Vietnam.  You might even meet some Vietnamese people.  Inexperienced travellers often mistakenly think they'll save time by using internal flights - in fact, an overnight train ride from Hanoi to Hué or Danang is not only far more of an experience (and cheaper) than a flight, the train actually saves time compared to flying, because the train leaves Hanoi city centre in the evening and arrives in Hué city centre next morning.  Flying takes 4 or 5 hours out of your sightseeing day in getting to a remote airport, checking in, taking the flight itself, collecting your bags and getting back into the city centre.  And the sleeper trains saves a hotel bill, too.  And what's the rush anyway?

Air-conditioned trains with sleepers and on-board catering link Hanoi, Hué, Danang, Nha Trang, and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).  Hoi An has no station, but it's just 30km by bus or taxi from Danang.  There are also trains from Hanoi to Halong & Haiphong (for Halong Bay) and Hanoi to Lao Cai (for Sapa).

Is it 'Ho Chi Minh' or 'Saigon'? 

Since the end of the Vietnamese war, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has been the official the name for the whole conurbation.  However, the city centre is still officially called 'Saigon'.  'Saigon' is of course the city's time-honoured, traditional, historic name, and in fact it is shown as 'Sai Gon' in all Vietnamese railway timetables and in big letters on the station building itself.  So do what the locals do, call it Saigon, not 'HCMC'.

The Reunification Express?

Trains between Hanoi & Saigon are sometimes referred to as the 'Reunification Express' by guide books or tourist agencies.  However, there are now many trains on this route and no single train officially carries this name.

 


 Hanoi - Hue - Danang - Saigon

The North - South 'Reunification' Main Line...

Over the last decade the Hanoi-Saigon train service has been steadily improving and a whole range of daily air-conditioned trains now link Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang & Saigon (HCMC).  Here are the principal trains, all running daily.  There are additional trains at peak times, such as the Tet holiday period.

Southbound timetable...

 Hanoi ► Hué ► Danang ► Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)

 

Train number:

SE19 SE1 SE3

SE5

SE7

TN1

SNT1 P2/SPT1
0 km Hanoi depart: 14:30 day 1 19:00 day 1 23:00 day 1 15:45 day 1 06:15 day 1 10:05 - -
116 km Ninh Binh  16:50 day 1 | | 18:06 day 1 08:33 day 1 12:33 - -
175 km Thanh Hoa  18:00 day 1 22:18 day 1 | 19:22 day 1 09:43 day 1 14:12 - -
319 km Vinh 20:25 day 1 00:49 day 2 04:12 day 2 22:16 day 1 12:01 day 1 16:54 - -
522 km Dong Hoi 01:15 day 2 04:43 day 2 08:01 day 2 02:46 day 2 15:55 day 1 21:51 - -
688 km Hué 04:48 day 2 08:02 day 2 10:50 day 2 06:12 day 2 19:12 day 1 01:18 - -
791 km Danang (for Hoi An) arrive 07:50 day 2 10:31 day 2 13:12 day 2 08:56 day 2 21:41 day 1 04:38 - -
791 km Danang (for Hoi An) depart - 10:46 day 2 13:24 day 2 09:11 day 2 21:56 day 1 04:58 - -
928 km Quang Ngai - 13:31 day 2 | 12:05 day 2 00:38 day 2 08:12 - -
1,095 km Dieu Tri (for Qui Nhon) - 16:28 day 2 18:32 day 2 15:09 day 2 03:35 day 2 12:26 - -
1,315 km Nha Trang - 20:33 day 2 22:08 day 2 19:45 day 2 07:42 day 2 16:58 18:40 day 1 -
- Phan Thiet depart - | | | | | | 14:05 day 1
1,551 km Muong Man (for Phan Thiet) - | | | 11:44 day 2 22:23 23:44 day 1 14:19 day 1
1,726 km Saigon arrive: - 04:10 day 3 05:00 day 3 04:40 day 3 15:05 day 2 03:03 05:20 day 2 18:40 day 1

All these trains run every dayHanoi to Saigon is 1,726km or 1,070 miles.

SE1, SE2, SE3, SE4:  These are the best trains.  They have air-conditioned soft sleepers (4-berth), air-conditioned hard sleepers (6-berth), air-con soft seats & air-con restaurant car.

SE5, SE6:  These trains have air-conditioned hard sleepers, air-con soft seats, air-con hard seats, and non-air-con hard seats.  No soft sleepers!

SE7, SE8:  These trains may not operate between May & October.  Air-conditioned soft sleepers (4-berth), air-con hard sleepers (6-berth), air-con soft seats.

SE19, SE20 is a new train introduced April 2011. Air-conditioned soft sleepers, air-conditioned hard sleepers, air-con soft seats, air-con hard seats, hard seats.

TN1, TN2 have air-conditioned hard sleepers (6-berth) & non-air-con hard seats only.  No soft sleepers or seats.

SNT1, SNT2 have air-conditioned soft sleepers, hard sleepers & seats.

Livitrans private tourist sleeping-cars:  Trains SE5 & SE6 have a tourist sleeping-car attached between Hanoi, Hue & Danang run by private company Livitrans.  It has 4-berth sleeper compartments of a higher standard than the normal Vietnamese Railways ones, but fares a bit higher. 

Northbound timetable...

 Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) ► Danang ► Hué ► Hanoi

Train number:

SE2 SE4 SE20

SE6

SE8

TN2 SNT2 SPT2/P1
Saigon depart: 19:00 day 1 23:00 day 1 - 15:45 day 1 06:30 day 1 10:05 20:00 day 1 06:50 day 1
Muong Man (for Phan Thiet) | | - 19:07 day 1 09:45 day 1 14:14 | 10 44 day 1
Phan Thiet arrive | | - | | | | 11:00 day 1
Nha Trang 02:36 day 2 05:38 day 2 - 23:54 day 1 13:28 day 1 18:24 05:10 day 2 -
Dieu Tri (for Qui Nhon) 06:29 day 2 09:26 day 2 - 04:20 day 2 17:25 day 1 23:32 - -
Quang Ngai 09:16 day 2 | - 07:22 day 2 20:34 day 1 03:21 - -
Danang (for Hoi An) arrive 11:51 day 2 14:30 day 2 - 10:18 day 2 23:12 day 1 06:38 - -
Danang (for Hoi An) depart 12:06 day 2 14:42 day 2 16:50 day 1 10:34 day 2 23:27 day 1 06:58 - -
Hué 14:48 day 2 17:11 day 2 19:49 day 1 13:26 day 2 02:12 day 2 10:38 - -
Dong Hoi 17:56 day 2 20:08 day 2 23:35 day 1 17:14 day 2 05:33 day 2 14:06 - -
Vinh 21:42 day 2 23:46 day 2 04:52 day 2 22:13 day 2 09:31 day 2 19:12 - -
Thanh Hoa 00:19 day 3 | 07:19 day 2 01:01 day 3 11:59 day 2 22:49 - -
Ninh Binh | | 08:57 day 2 02:28 day 3 13:10 day 2 00:11 - -
Hanoi arrive: 04:02 day 3 05:00 day 3 11:25 day 3 04:45 day 3 15:28 day 2 03:05 - -

How to get to to Hoi An...

Hoi An it features on many visitor's itineraries.  It's about 30km south of Danang, but has no railway station, so take a train to Danang, then a bus or taxi.  There are regular buses, minibuses & taxis from Danang to Hoi An taking between 45 minutes and an hour.  The bus fare is about US$3, a taxi will cost in the region of US$9-15 depending on your negotiation skills.  See map.

How to get to Phan Thiet

The seaside town of Phan Thiet is on a 15km-long branch line from Muong Man.  There's a daily direct train between Saigon & Pan Thiet shown in the timetable above, or you can take any mainline train to Muong Man station and then a taxi to Pan Thiet.  Pan Thiet is 15.7 km by taxi from Muong Man.  For heading north from Pan Thiet, take a taxi to Muong man station.  See area map.

How much does train travel cost?

Train fares in Vietnam are cheap, and sleeper trains save on hotel bills as well as the cost of taxis to & from airports way outside the cities they serve.  The fares shown below are for the best trains SE1 & SE2, but fares for other 'SE' trains are similar.  Fares for the slower 'TN' trains are cheaper.  'Soft sleeper' is the recommended class for overnight travel, although hard sleeper is fine if the soft sleepers are fully booked or if you're on a tight budget.  Soft seat is a good choice for daytime journeys.  Incidentally, the old system of charging foreigners higher fares than Vietnamese citizens was abolished in 2002.

Children aged 0 to 4 travel free, children 5 to 9 travel at half fare.  Children10 and over must pay full fare.

Fares are shown here in 1000s of Vietnamese Dong.  £1 = approx 32,900 Dong.  $1 = 20,500 Dong.

Fares from

Hanoi to:

Soft seat Hard sleeper Soft sleeper

air-con

air-con

lower berth

air-con

middle berth

air-con

top berth

air-con

lower berth

air-con

upper berth

Ninh Binh 70 103 100 84 110 108
Thanh Hoa 107 157 150 128 166 164
Vinh 194 285 273 232 300 298
Dong Hoi 335 493 472 400 520 515
Hue 442 708 677 575 748 740
Danang 508 784 750 637 828 820
Quang Ngai 570 836 800 680 883 873