Livitrans Express

Company Information

Livitrans Express was launched in 2007, connecting Vietnam's capital city, Hanoi, with Lao Cai, the gateway to the incredibly popular town of Sapa. Based in Hanoi, Livitrans Express runs private carriages on routes managed by Vietnam Railways and is one of the most popular operators for tourists looking to head north from Hanoi.

Routes served by Livitrans Express Train

Previously, Livitrans Express offered just one route but this service has since been expanded to cover three major routes throughout the country.

Hanoi–Lao Cai (Sapa)

Firstly, there is one train per day leaving Hanoi for Lao Cai at 21.30, arriving in the town at 05.25, so anyone looking to head to Sapa from there should arrive in the early morning. The journey to Lao Cai takes around eight hours and costs VND835,000 for a berth in a four-bed VIP sleeper carriage. The return journey is priced the same but leaves Lao Cai at 20.35, arriving in Hanoi at around 04.45.

Hanoi–Hue–Da Nang

A newer addition to the Livitrans Express schedule is the Hanoi – HueDa Nang route, which takes around 16 hours in total. There are two departures from Hanoi each day, at 19.30 and 22.00. The 19.30 departure arrives in Hue at 08.50 the next morning (13 hours) and arrives in Da Nang at about 11.25 (16 hours after leaving Hanoi). If you depart from Hanoi at 22.00, you'll reach Hue and Da Nang at 10.35 and 14.00 respectively. Tickets are priced at VND1,700,000 to Hue and VND2,000,000 to Da Nang.

If you're leaving Da Nang to head back to Hanoi, you have two options. Trains depart Da Nang at 12.45 and 14.13, taking around 3 hours to get to Hue and 16 hours to reach Hanoi. Prices are the same regardless of the direction you're travelling in.

Ho Chi Minh City–Nha Trang

You can also book tickets with Livitrans Express to travel between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and the beach resort of Nha Trang. There is one train each evening, leaving HCMC at 20.30 (arrives in Nha Trang at 05.30) and departing Nha Trang at 19.10, which is scheduled to arrive in HCMC at 03.24. The journey takes around nine hours in either direction and costs VND1,100,000.

Pros

If you're travelling on the Hanoi – Da Nang route then you will be pleased with the well-scheduled arrival times, which minimises any hassle caused by arriving late at night or early in the morning, when it can be difficult to find accommodation.

There are also charging ports in all the carriages so you can ensure that your phone is fully charged in case you need to contact someone when you arrive, or to use your map to find your hotel.

All the carriages offered by Livitrans Express are four-bed VIP sleepers, so you know that you will be travelling in greater comfort than if you booked with another operator.

Cons

It can be worth getting to the station early, especially if you're boarding at the start of the route, as sometimes the carriages can be overbooked. Don't worry, you'll still get onto the train you booked but if you turn up just before the train departs then you may find someone in your seat and will have the hassle of trying to explain the problem to a guard. It's best to just get there in plenty of time.

The other major issue is that the cleanliness of the carriages isn't always up to the standard you might expect, especially as you're paying a little more than if your purchased a ticket with Vietnam Railways. The toilets on these carriages are western toilets but, again, they are not always as clean as you'd like.

Keep in mind

All the carriages on services with Livitrans Express are air-conditioned VIP sleepers so the beds are about as comfortable as it gets on an overnight train in Vietnam.

This company is primarily aimed at foreign tourists, so you are paying a bit of a premium for this service.

Also, if you're travelling between Hue and Da Nang it is probably not worth the extra cost to pay for a sleeper for just three hours, if this is the case then you should look at other operators as Livitrans Express doesn't offer seats, only sleeper berths.

Travellers reviews

The biggest complaint is the cleanliness of the toilets, unfortunately, this is likely to be the case on the vast majority of train services across the country. Livitrans Express carriages are part of a train managed by Vietnam Railways and the cleanliness on the standard carriages elsewhere in the train is likely to be just as much, if not more, of an issue.

The VIP four-bed cabins are ideal if you are travelling in a group of four as you will have a private room. Even if there are three of you, you might want to consider paying for an extra space so you can get a bit more room between you all as well as added privacy.

Livitrans Express Company Reviews

3.2
153 / 2,590
5 19
4 57
3 39
2 18
1 20
98.5% of 2,590 travelers were presumably happy with Livitrans Express as they left good or no review

At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:

Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)

Make your choice! Please remember that while we are closely monitoring the services, we are still an agency marketplace. That means we focus on ticketing services and route availability & coverage rather than on the factual seat reclining angle you will get on the bus today.

Jul 16, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Everything went well, couches are for Europeans a litlle small but not to bad
Jul 15, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
We had booked a VIP Sleeper which was very clean and tidy. Toilets were maintained well during the journey also however the beds where extremely uncomfortable to the point it might have been more comfortable sleeping on the ground. We booked VIP due to the 13 hour journey however the 1st class sleeper we had the night before from Sapa (Lao Cai) to Hanoi was so much more comfortable. If Livitrans provide more comfortable mattresses then it would be VIP but with the ones provided it was more like a hard sleeper experience.
Jul 6, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
Good night with only minor problems. Food served was terrible and the bathrooms and sinks ran out of water early in our trip. Our compartment was new looking and comfortable.
Jul 2, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
It was more or less as expected and the journey went quite smoothy. The bedding wasn't the best but was adequate and the toilet was reasonably clean. Room got very cold throughout the night due to air con so wrap up well!
Jun 25, 2018
train #SNT2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★☆☆☆
We had no tickets on the railway station (!!!!!!), so we didn't know until last moment if we will able to depart! This situation was very stressful. Everyone was looking strange onto your voucher and was not able to help us. In the train, we had 6 people in cabin (in 4 berth sleeper!!!), toilets were horrible and the train was full of cockroaches. On the next trip, we have bought airplane tickets, becouse this experience was horrible. Never again!!!!!
Jun 16, 2018
train #SE4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
We took the Livitrans from Hue to Hanoi. I was concerned due to the many bad reviews. However we were pleasantly suprised. The cabin was clean, air conditioning worked. They even had water, cokes and snacks for us.
Jun 5, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Great trip- we had the whole cabin to ourselves! The beds are pretty hard (even though we booked a soft sleeper) and the bedding did smell a bit stale, but the bathroom and sink facilities were great, the staff were really friendly and helpful (they even gave us a 10minute warning before our stop). A million times better than the night bus- actually had a decent night’s sleep. Would definitely recommend.
Jun 2, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Make sure you receive a paper ticket when you arrive, as this is your boarding pass. Directly ask whoever picks you up at the Mango Hotel for the boarding ticket. They might give you a ticket with someone else’s name on it, as I think the agency books a bunch of tickets at once, but as long as it’s the right train and destination then you’re fine.
Jun 2, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★☆☆☆
It was possibly ge worst train trip I’ve ever taken, that’s a lot coming from me as I’m a tour leader on the Trans Mongolian Railway! It was ok at first although very hot in the cabin. The worst part was at night the air conditioner kept going on and off. When it was off it was like a sauna and when it was on it was like camping in antartica! I spent half the night sleeping with a jumper on and the other half in as little as possible. Sorry sleeping would imply I actually got some sleep. I would amend that to trying to sleep!
May 29, 2018
train #SE4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
miles better than my first trip. clean cabins helpful staff. the only thing that would have made it better was to have coach and berth numbers on the ticket not sorted out on the train. top tips: bring snacks, good headphones, and something warm it gets chilly.
May 22, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
The train was a lot better than we had anticipated. I had read reviews staying it was difficult to exchange tickets at the station, however when we arrived there was a lady who directed us into our cabin (a VIP livitrans 4-sleeper) that we would be sharing with two others. We were very lucky as the train was empty, so one of the staff asked us if we would like to move to another cabin free of charge, which we had to ourselves - a very welcome surprise! The airconditioning was very strong, so I would recommend bringing along a jumper/extra blanket as it can get quite uncomfortably cold. The beds were quite hard, but comfortable enough. The toilets were as expected of train travel, although the staff did make an effort to clean these regularly - just take tissues with you just in case. We didn’t try any of the food from the food cart, but highly recommend bringing your own snacks. Overall a pleasant trip - if you take some headphones to drown out the sound and a jumper to keep you warm, you can get a decent nights sleep and enjoy some amazing views. Would recommend over flying.
May 18, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
I wanted to be enthusiastic & embrace the train. I’ve travelled extensively by train. The coach was filled with cockroaches & the western toilet was filthy. You shouldn’t need to clean it every time you go in! The beds were rock hard offering not a fraction of comfort & the main bedding smelt of urine. The violette carriages looked cleaner & there were no roaches. The staff were helpful & polite. I’d now opt for a plane every time!
May 12, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
Was impressed with the Livitrans carriage and slept surprisingly well on the train. The journey was stunning between Hue and Da Nang. However we struggled to swap our voucher at the station for our ticket and was left stood a while feeling anxious about whether anybody was going to show up. We also had to change cabin at Hue despite the carriage not being full. If these issues were better organised I would give a 5*.
May 11, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Livitrans vouchers worked as promised, train was clean if a bit cramped
May 10, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
The boy looking after cabins was very dishonest. He told all the people in our carriage that they were sharing but if you paid him 30 dollars he would give you one on your own. Nobody's was sharing. He then pulled our locked door pulling our handle off demanding our bedding while we were asleep and 3 hours before arrival.
May 8, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
Excellent staff, facilities as stated, beds are hard, sheet bag and cover provided, not keen on hot breakfast. Very interesting train journey.
May 1, 2018
train #SNT2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
Staff were well organised and we were directed to our cabin efficiently. Cabin and beds clean and comfortable. Only major concern was the toilet! Once the train started moving there was water slopping out of it - the floor was 5cm deep in water from the toilet, and the water was at a high level and slopping around in the bowl which made it unuseable, not ideal for an overnight trip!
Apr 29, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★☆☆☆
Instructions for receiving tickets were incomplete, despite my inquiry via email with 12go. You will need to find a lady right outside the platform, who will be confirming your identity from a list and giving you the actual tickets.
Apr 29, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
Exchanging tickets at Hanoi was not as described in the materials provided. There is no desk - you just have to try and find the fellow wandering around who has your tickets. The train itself was fine - hard beds, a little dirty, air conditioning too high, sheets felt a bit sodden, bathroom gets progressively worse over the trip, people smoking in the cabins and on the car (which filtered into our cabin through the aircon). But - perfectly acceptable for the price paid, distance traveled, and the fact it’s Vietnam not London. Plenty of water and snacks in the cabin, snack cart cafe by from time to time, train arrived perfectly on time. Please sort out the ticket situation at Hanoi. Then it would be 4 stars.
Apr 27, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
We enjoyed the nighttrain from Hanoi - Danang. With 2 kids and 2 adults it's easy to travel. Bring soms food and drinks yourself! Beds are very hard. Read before about the aircon, so we were prepared, but it was not that cold I expected. We really enjoyed the views. It was a good experience!
Apr 21, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
When we got on the train we thought it was great and better than we expected. The cabin was clean and we had room to store our bags. It was also nicely air conditioned but they turned it off a few hours into the trip. It was like a sauna. The bathroom stunk so bad we placed a cloth over our noses to go in. It wasn't filthy but they stored a dirty smelly mop in the bathroom. It hung on the door and when we complained that this was causing the smell the person didn't seem to understand. The other thing to improve is the voucher. It didn't have the right cabin on it and people working for the company acted like they had not seen the voucher before. They finally called someone and gave me the right cabin number. If I hadn't asked when we arrived at the station I would have gone to the wrong car number. The food was good and there was a few staff that tried to be helpful. Maybe we were expecting too much from government workers but everyone else we meet in Hoi An was just so lovely we expected the same service. Anyways we survived and got a little sleep and got where we needed to go.
Apr 20, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Talking about the volume of the train is unecessary as this is not the domain of the Livitrains. It was clean,comfortable (I recomend upper bed!). Everything was ok,exept of the changing of the ticket. It is not as we thought. We were there waiting at the train station,as at the reception they constantly said we have to wait...at one moment an agent or some worker just stepped to my boyfiend and pushed some bill-like tickets to his hands and left. We didn't understand this,as the number of passport was not ours stated on the ticket. After a while the same people at the reception showed us that this are the tickets,the passport number is irrelevant. Otherweise the couch itself was fine.
Apr 9, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
Clean and comfortable with some free drinks and snacks included. Couldn't really ask for more on a sleeper train.
Apr 8, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Sleep is difficult
Apr 6, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
The Livitrans car was fine for our group of four. Exchanging vouchers for tickets and boarding was as described in voucher package from 12goasia. Cabin was clean.
Apr 5, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★☆☆
Cabins couldn’t fault. Noted the staff only refolded duvet and not washed. Toilet overflowing with urine and not flushing properly. One particular male staff member made myself and partner feel uncomfortable before the train took off. Again, cabins were faultless, very happy with this. Drinks on arrival and working charging ports, comfortable beds.
Mar 30, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
A little confusing at the station (note: 'Gate 6' as printed on voucher just means 'Platform 6' for example). We were approached by a Livitrans staff member in waiting area to show voucher and receive tickets as there is no desk or counter to do this. Once aboard, everything was fantastic. Cabin included water & fruit. Bedding was clean. A service trolley came around selling drinks & snacks shortly after departure and we were able to preorder coffee for the morning, half an hour before arrival.
Mar 30, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
Clean, very well organised and met our expectations of a unique journey
Mar 22, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
Service was perfect - very easy picking up tickets at station and staff very helpful! Thank you
Mar 12, 2018
train #SNT2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★★
Compartment was good, was afraid because of the air con, but it was turned down a bit during the night. Yes, train is a bit bumpy, but hey, why would you expect to sleep as well as in your own bed?
Mar 9, 2018
train #SE19 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
I had typed two paragraphs when the web form reset itself and I can't be bothered to type it all again. I give 4* not 5* because of the confusion over Livitrans tickets at Hanoi station. I had received a voucher by email. I thought I would sort it out in advance so went to Hanoi station the day before, only to discover there is no Livitrans office. I was told to come back an hour before the train journey. It does say this on the voucher but is not very clear at all. I thought it meant you shouldn't turn up five minutes before the train left. The voucher said go to Coach 12. It turned out this was a Violette coach and the attendant did not know about me. There was great confusion as people were boarding and cleaners were still making up the compartments. In the end the attendant went to coach 11 and found someone from Livitrans who got me into the right compartment in that coach. She had a list of people on her clipboard so I presume there was some organisation behind the chaos. The journey itself was fine. Arrived 30 minutes late which is nothing for an overnight trip. A tip for when you arrive in Hue. If getting a taxi to your hotel make sure it is on the meter, or agree a fare in advance. I was charged 150,000 VND for the ride to my hotel. On returning to the station a few days later it was 23,0000 on the meter. Be warned!
12Go response:

Thank you for the review and very sorry about the confusion with the boarding process! We’ve been told that due to maintenance the numbering of the coaches was mixed up but it should be back to normal now.

For anyone reading this review:

PLEASE DO NOT GO TO THE STATION THE DAY BEFORE TO EXCHANGE THE VOUCHER, THEY WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AND PROBABLY CAUSE A LOT OF CONFUSION.

Mar 5, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Much cleaner than the last train. The lady assistant in our carriage was most helpful, we say thank you to her. Still very noisy.
Feb 26, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Prima reis. Op voorhand allerlei negatieve kritieken gelezen. Maar onze reis heen en terug verliep goed. Lekker geslapen op een relatieve harde matras maar die hebben ze wel vaker in Vietnam. Enig minpuntje: het omwisselen van de voucher in een ticket : dat gebeurt door privaat personen die niet herkenbaar zijn als zijnde vertegenwoordigers van Livitrans. Dus dat is even een lastig moment. Voor de rest prima
Feb 24, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★★★☆
Mijn vrouw en ik, samen met twee Vietnamezen en hun klein kind, sliepen heel de nacht rustig door. Voor ons was een een prima rit.
Feb 7, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Livitrans Express
★★☆☆☆
No internet connection for the whole trip, carriage not very clean but friendly staff.

Livitrans Express Stations

Hanoi Hue Danang Sapa Lao Cai Nha Trang Ho Chi Minh City