Vietnam Train Travel Guide

Road trips are fun, and air travel is fast, but taking a train ride is a once-in-the-life-time experience on your journey to Vietnam.

Where to buy Vietnam train tickets? How to choose a seat or berth? You may have several questions about traveling by train in Vietnam.

This comprehensive Vietnam train travel guide offers tips to help you travel by trains in Vietnam hassle-free.

Where to buy Vietnam train tickets?

a) Online

Book train tickets online and receive an e-ticket to save time and travel hassle-free. Here are some websites that you can search for and book train tickets for Vietnam.

getting around Vietnam transportation

Why should you book Vietnam train tickets online?

  • Official ticket: Avoid ticket resale and scams.
  • Easy booking: Avoid a long queue at the train station and receive an e-ticket by email. Especially if you don’t know Vietnamese, buying a ticket online will be more comfortable.
  • Secure payment: Pay with a credit card or Online banking
  • Seat selection: You can select seats and berths with Baolau
  • Reviews and pictures: You can read reviews and check photos of train services with 12go.
  • Customer support: Contact through mail or phone if needed.

b) At the train station

You can also buy train tickets at the station. However, it can be a bit difficult and time-consuming. Thus, we recommend purchasing online.

What is the Vietnam railway like?

Although the government runs all railways, private railway companies can furnish and provide luxury cars attached to the state cars. You can find several private train companies from Hanoi to Sapa.

Nearly all major tourist destinations can be reached by train, except Da Lat because the train station is closed. You can get there by bus or plane. Check my guide to Da Lat from Saigon

1. Are trains in Vietnam on time?

If you depart from the first station, for example, from Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang, it’s usually on time. Otherwise, there’s often a delay, and it can take up to a few hours.

So, you should not plan your trip without a significant break between train arrival and your next departure.

2. Are trains in Vietnam safe?

We never have any problems traveling by train in Vietnam, but we keep an eye on our personal belongings.

As sleeper trains in Vietnam do not have a curtain, you should take care of your luggage or personal items. Practice a general safety code like you’re on public transportation, and you’ll be fine.

Vietnam train travel

3. Can you take motorbikes on trains in Vietnam?

Yes, you can. You should visit the station the day before your departure to arrange with the luggage office. 

4. How long in advance can I book a ticket?

You can book most routes 60 to 30 days before departure. Shorter routes such as Da Nang to Quy Nhon may open closer to 30 days before departure, while longer routes like Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City will open 60 days in advance.

Seat selections on Vietnam train

  • Hard seat
  • The soft seat includes a vinyl-covered seat.
  • Hard-berth has three tiers of beds, which make up six berths per cabin. The upper berth is cheapest, and the lower is most expensive, and their level of comfort ascends by the price.
  • Soft-berth has two tiers of beds (four berths per cabin). The cabin quality also varies within the soft-berth option, ranging from wood-paneled one to harsh plastic one.

Traveling with children

If you travel by train with your children, here is what you should know:

  • Children under six years old are free only if they share a seat or berth with you. You don’t need a ticket for your kid for the child to be prepared to show their passport to prove age when boarding
  • From 6 to 9 years old, children get discounted 25% of the ticket fare for sleeping berths and seats.
  • Children who are over ten years old pay as adults and must be accompanied by the adult at the departure time.

Tickets notice

  • For bookings with Vietnam Railways and private railway companies New Livitrans Express and Violette Train, you will receive your e-ticket by email, ready to print and present when boarding the train.
  • For bookings with private railway companies such as Victoria Express, Fanxipan Express, King Express, Orient Express, Sapaly Express, Chapa Express, and Saigon Golden Train, or international railway service Hanoi-Nanning-Beijing, you will receive a voucher by email to collect the physical ticket at the station before boarding the train.

Why should you travel by train in Vietnam?

Here are five reasons to consider riding the rails.

Beautiful scenery

Taking a train ride is the best way to see Vietnam. Vietnam rail travel offers a breathtaking view, up close and personal. Mountains, rice paddy fields, and beautiful coastline reveal their beauty along the way.

Thanks to its fantastic view, the spectacular train ride through Hai Van Pass from Da Nang to Hue should be on your travel bucket list.

Da Nang coastline Vietnam

The convenience

Remember all the hassle that you have at the airport? Extra time is needed for check-in and departure, not to mention the time and money you spend on the cab to the airport (usually located far away from the city centers).

Rail travel solves these problems!

As the train stations are conveniently located, it’s time-saving and easy for you to get from and to the city.

Also, you can only go by train or bus to some places such as Sapa. It’s convenient to get on the night train and arrive in the morning at the destination.

The comfort

While seats on an airplane can be cramped, or the road can be bumpy if you travel by car or bus, rail travel is a better alternative.

Vietnam train travel offers a comfortable experience with space to stretch out and get cozy. You can also get up and walk around if you feel bored or sitting too long.

Local experience

You can have a local experience while traveling by train in Vietnam. Observing Vietnamese people, trying the food on the different train stops, buying souvenirs from the windows, etc., can make your experience unique.

Affordable price

Although traveling by train can be time-consuming, it’s cost-effective and cheaper than flying, or even by bus for some destinations.

Tips for traveling by trains in Vietnam

Below is the list of things you should remember when traveling by train in Vietnam.

  • Print out your e-tickets
  • Don’t forget your ID or passport
  • Arrive at the station 60 minutes before departure time
  • Bring a maximum of 20 kg
  • Take care of your belongings
  • Pack food and drinks in advance (optional)

What to pack for train travel in Vietnam

  • A suitcase with a digital lock. Also, if possible, choose a waterproof bag if you travel during the rainy season in Vietnam.
  • Wear comfortable outfit
  • Small towel
  • Food and drink. The food served on the train is not very diverse, and the price is quite high, so bring some snacks and water with you.
  • Toilet paper
  • Necessary documents: Passport / Identification card

Booking tips

a) Book Vietnam Train tickets with 12go

12Go Asia serves multinational customers with high-quality, safe, secure, and efficient transportation services in South East Asia and Vietnam.

Service fee: Unlike Baolau, which adds service at the end, the ticket price and fee will show when searching with 12go.

b) Book Vietnam train tickets online with Baolau

Baolau is a multi-transport travel search engine. The company connects cities by calculating and comparing travel routes and facilitates ticket booking for any means of transportation: flights, trains, buses, and ferries.

  • Service fee: 40 000 VND per ticket
  • Cancellation fee: 20 000 VND per ticket
  • Search and book train tickets:

Seat selections on Baolau

You can select the cabin and berth for Sleeper 4-Berth.

Soft seat selection for train

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