Vietnam Railways

Company Information

Vietnam Railways runs the country's major train line, the 1600km-long Reunification Line, which connects Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam's two major cities. The Reunification Line was completed in 1936, with services running until 1954 when war divided the country. It wasn't then possible to catch a train from Hanoi to HCMC until 1976.

Vietnam Railways is the national train carrier with responsibility for maintaining the route but in these trains there are also carriages reserved by private transport operators who you need to contact directly to purchase a ticket or to reserve a seat.

Routes served by Vietnam Railways

Almost all the major destinations lie on, or close to, the Reunification Line so it's easy to get anywhere you might want to go in Vietnam. There are five trains connecting the capital city, Hanoi, and HCMC in the south, each and every day. However, a direct train between the two cities is very long, taking around 35 hours!

There is a wide range of tickets for all trips on this line from which you can choose depending or whether you want a seat or a sleeper, air-conditioning or a fan. Fares between Hanoi and HCMC start from VND907,000 for a seat, VND1,265,000 for a hard sleeper and VND1,423,000.

Before you reach HCMC, you'll pass Da Nang (15 hours journey time with seats starting at VND552,000 and berths in sleeping compartments from VND809,000) and Nha Trang (26 hours from Hanoi with seats from VND806,000 and sleeping berths from VND1,181,000).

Hanoi to Hue is a much shorter journey, taking around 13 hours. You can catch any train headed to HCMC and they will all stop at Hue as it is one of the most popular towns in the country. Ticket prices start from VND462,000 for a seat, VND755,000 for a hard sleeper berth and VND849,000 for a soft sleeper. For all trips, the fare will be the same in either direction.

From Hue you can then catch a train to Da Nang in just three hours, costing VND67,000 for a seat, VND94,000 for a hard sleeper and VND106,000 for a soft sleeper. Further afield lies Nha Trang which takes around 13 hours to reach by train with tickets at VND414,000 (seat), VND577,000 (hard sleeper) and VND649,000 (soft sleeper).

HCMC is still a distant 20 hour ride away from Hue, priced at VND666,000 for seats and from VND957,000 for a berth in a sleeping compartment.

If you're travelling from HCMC you can reach Nha Trang in about eight hours, with tickets priced from VND297,000 for a seat and VND469,000 for a berth in a sleeper carriage.

HCMC to Da Nang take around 20 hours and is priced at VND617,000 (seat), VND889,000 (hard sleeper) and VND999,000 (soft sleeper).

If you're planning on visiting some of the smaller stations, such as Ninh Binh, always check the schedule as not every train will stop there. The train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh takes around two hours with prices from VND77,000 (seat), VND111,000 (hard sleeper) and VND126,000 for a soft sleeping berth.

Of course, Vietnam Railways also provides services beyond the Reunification Line. For example, you can catch a train from Hanoi to Haiphong to travel onward to Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island. There are three trains a day to Haiphong, taking around three hours for VND60,000.

Alternatively, you will almost certainly want to visit Sapa. Although the town doesn't have its own train station, it is around 40km from Lao Cai and there are plenty of buses heading to Sapa. There are four trains per day from Hanoi to Lao Cai, taking around nine hours, with seats from VND116,000 and sleeper berths from VND295,000.

If you are in HCMC and fancy some beach time you can head to Mui Ne by catching a train to Binh Thuan and then travelling an hour onwards by bus. HCMC to Binh Thuan takes around four hours and costs from VND130,000.

Pros

If you have the time then train travel is the best way to get around Vietnam. It's more interesting than travelling by bus and you can see a lot more of the country.

Plus, it's brilliant value for money, there's no other mode of transport where you can travel from Hanoi to HCMC for under a million dong. These trains are an experience you should have at least once during your time in Vietnam, although it might take longer, it's more interesting than flying everywhere! Plus, it will save you a night’s accommodation.

Overall, these services are pretty comfortable. Previously, carriages maintained by Vietnam Railways were considered inferior to some of the ones run by private operators but this is no longer the case and these carriages are usually of a similar standard.

Throughout the journey you'll be offered very tasty, cheap food by vendors wandering up and down the carriages. It's definitely worth trying what's on offer, after all, it's all part of the experience.

If you're potentially spending almost two days on a train, then it's essential that there are charging ports throughout the carriages. This will help keep you entertained and ensure that once you arrive you are able to contact anyone or book a hotel.

Cons

Delays are common and the journey is often very long and slow so you should take this into consideration when planning your trip. For example, if you're only in the country for a couple of weeks it won't be much fun spending a whole day sitting on a slow train.

The air-conditioning is not always the best quality, but unfortunately, this is the case with pretty much all of the operators in Vietnam. Probably a more important issue is the fact that there are no announcements when you're arriving into a station so make sure you pay attention or find out when you're due to arrive so you can set an alarm to wake you up.

Keep in mind

It's very easy to book tickets with Vietnam Railways whether you choose to do this in person or online.

Families travelling with children will be pleased to hear that children aged below four years old can travel for free, whilst those between five and nine years old get a 25% discounted fare.

Travellers reviews

Visitors were really pleased about the price of train travel in Vietnam, it's the cheapest way to see the country and is incredibly easy to navigate. Due to the narrow shape of the country, most of the main tourist sites are along the Reunification Line so it is an ideal way of getting around.

The main issues that customers have with Vietnam Railways tend to be the cleanliness of the carriages. For example, the bathrooms are often unpleasant and way below the standards you'd expect on public transport in western countries, this can be especially problematic if you're on the train for ten or more hours as you won't be able to avoid going. Another issue some visitors highlight is that the bedding isn't always changed during the journey. If you board at either Hanoi or HCMC, then your bedding will be fresh, however, if you catch the train at Hue then the bedding may not have been changed after the traveller who was previously in your bunk has left.

Buy Vietnam Railways Tickets

Da Nang - Hanoi
Find tickets
Train Class II AC
14:40, 18:45, 19:40
Train Class II Sleeper AC
11:09, 14:40, 18:45
Train VIP Sleeper
14:40, 18:45
Hanoi - Da Nang
Find tickets
Train Cabin 2x
22:20
Train Class II AC
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 13:10, 14:25, 14:30, 19:30, 20:00, 20:10, 20:45, 22:20
Train Class II Sleeper AC
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 13:10, 14:25, 14:30, 19:30, 20:00, 20:10, 20:45, 22:20
Train Class III AC
09:00, 19:30, 22:00
Train Class III Fan
06:00, 09:00, 13:10, 19:30, 22:00
Train VIP Sleeper
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 14:25, 14:30, 19:30, 20:10, 20:45, 22:20, 22:40
Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh
Find tickets
Train Cabin 2x
22:20
Train Class II AC
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 13:10, 14:25, 14:30, 19:30, 20:10, 22:20
Train Class II Sleeper AC
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 13:10, 14:25, 14:30, 19:30, 20:10, 22:20
Train Class III AC
09:00, 19:30, 22:00
Train Class III Fan
06:00, 09:00, 13:10, 19:30, 22:00
Train VIP Sleeper
06:00, 08:50, 09:00, 14:25, 14:30, 15:55, 19:30, 20:10, 20:45, 22:20
Hanoi - Sapa
Find tickets
Train Class II AC
06:10
Train Class II Sleeper AC
21:35
Train Class III Fan
06:10
Train VIP Sleeper
21:35, 22:00, 22:30
Ho Chi Minh - Hanoi
Find tickets
Train Cabin 2x
21:55
Train Class II AC
06:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55
Train Class II Sleeper AC
06:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 12:10, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55
Train Class III AC
09:00, 19:30, 22:00
Train Class III Fan
06:00, 08:00, 09:00, 13:10, 19:30, 22:00
Train VIP Sleeper
06:00, 08:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55
Ho Chi Minh - Hue
Find tickets
Train Cabin 2x
21:55
Train Class II AC
06:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 11:40, 11:50, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55, 22:50
Train Class II Sleeper AC
06:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 11:40, 11:50, 12:10, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55, 22:50
Train Class III AC
09:00, 19:30, 22:00
Train Class III Fan
06:00, 08:00, 09:00, 13:10, 19:30, 22:00
Train VIP Sleeper
06:00, 08:00, 08:45, 09:00, 09:40, 11:40, 11:50, 13:10, 14:30, 14:40, 19:25, 19:45, 21:25, 21:55, 22:50
Sapa - Hanoi
Find tickets
Train Class II AC
10:05, 20:55
Train Class III Fan
07:00
Train VIP Sleeper
19:40, 20:55, 21:40

Vietnam Railways Company Reviews

3.4
6710 customer reviews
5
22%
4
31%
3
24%
2
12%
1
11%
98.9% of 145,264 travelers were presumably happy with Vietnam Railways as they left good or no review
AO
4
train #SE9 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
Train was on time. Seats were comfortable and clean enough. Good price-performance ratio.
EJ
4
train #SE10 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
The service was on time and very good. However, the air conditioning was too cold, which made everyone uncomfortable.
SM
2
train #SE7 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
Much better than the sleeper bus, but that’s the best you could say about that train. The toilets are extremely disgusting, the sheets are not fresh or clean, it’s quite expensive considering what you get.
JS
4
train #SE7 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
Great ontime service. Comfortable. Dirty toilet.
AR
3
train #SE2 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
Not bad for a first experience. A bit noisy and the staff are quite rude but I think they're just trying to do their job.
BG
4
train #SE7 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 17, 2019
On time, efficient, spacious in first class. Take your own food or snacks., and some warm clothes! So much better than bus or van transport.
MS
2
train #SE3 2nd Class Sleeper AC, Vietnam Railways, Nov 16, 2019
The cabin looks clean but I had some cockroaches in the bed. They should check this ASAP
DM
2
train #SE20 2nd Class Sleeper AC, Vietnam Railways, Nov 16, 2019
Toilet was dirty. Bed sheets smelled disgusting.
AT
5
train #SE22 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 15, 2019
Accurate departure, arrival, clean couchettes, it was easy to find the train. It was a perfect trip! The train itself could be a bit newer, but I was happy with the trip!
DS
5
train #SE7 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 15, 2019
Clean, nice hosts and everything on time
FR
2
train #SE5 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 15, 2019
seats cannot be turned into driving direction. Dirty restroom/toilets
AD
1
train #SE7 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 15, 2019
The train was full of cockroaches in all the seats and from the windows and everywhere, I think they have a big problem of cleaning. In fact, my trip was disgusting and stressing the whole time. Cheap doesn't have to mean dirty I think.
ST
3
train #SE8 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 14, 2019
Go to Nha Trang from Mui Ne is better than bus even we have to take taxi to the train station by 1 hour. Train route not that bumpy.
RJ
4
train #SE2 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 14, 2019
We were accommodated and were given the option of paying additional for sleeping quarters as we booked the seats only. It was nice for the dispatcher to do that.
PV
3
train #SE5 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
The room is so comfortable except the smell (cigarette) and the process is so messy, the staff wasnt sure about the schedule and the seat.
AO
3
train #SE5 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
It's comfortably enough. But we where in an old part of the train. So the 1e class was a little bit disappointing comparing with a new part of the train. The Bed was shorter.l and the toilet was dirty.
TH
2
train #SE21 1st Class Sleeper, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
No food service . The air-conditioning was noisy and very cold making it hard to sleep.
MB
5
train #SE2 Cabin 2x, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
Lower your expectations folks, it’s a frickin train! Yes, toilets are smelly, but there’s ha hose to shower of all possible disgusting things and bring wet tissues and hand sanitizer. We had toilet paper, but better bring some of that too if you want to be sure. Yes, people leave and new come and that makes some noise, also it’s a train so it make noise. Bring noise cancelling headphones or earplugs - no big deal. They served food on the train, we ate that and brought instant noodles and fruits. Also they sell snacks on a carriage but that’s quite expensive. There is hot and cold water, but we only used the hot as we were unsure of the quality of cold (means also bring own water). Cabin for 2 was great, nice pillow and blanket. They provided water, tea, coffee and some strange vacuum packed banh mi which was terrible. AC was on and off so mostly the temperature was ok, but do bring some sweater or something for the day. The views were amazing! First through south of Vietnam overlooking the cloudy hills and then train changed orientation and we got to see the coast in central Vietnam from our window. We’re about 40-60 min late all the way but arrived on time. Overall (after experiencing Russian railways) over my expectations and a great experience.
SB
3
train #SE1 Cabin 2x, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
We had a 2x VIP cabin, traveling from Hanoi to Da Nang. The bed's were comfortable, but a a little bit dirty. The cabin was not very clean and a few bugs were traveling with us. The toilet's were in a bad condition, even at the start of the trip it looked like nobody had cleaned them. The air-condition was very cold and there was no way to turn it off. All in all was it a good way to travel overnight, the staff was very friendly. But the hygienic standards were very low. The train was very loud, so get yourself some earplugs for the night.
JV
4
train #SE19 2nd Class AC seats only, Vietnam Railways, Nov 13, 2019
Comfortable seats, plenty of room in the overhead racks to store luggage. Views were not up to expectations, entirely because of heavy rain and wind from nearby cyclone. Glad we did this trip; good value

Vietnam Railways Stations

Bien Hoa Cho Sy Dong Ha Dong Hoi Di An Dong Le Da Nang Dieu Tri Hanoi Huong Pho Hue Long Khanh My Duc Minh Khoi Minh Le Binh Thuan Ninh Binh Nam Dinh Ninh Hoa Nha Trang Phu Ly Quang Ngai Ho Chi Minh City Suoi Kiet Thap Cham Tuy Hoa Thanh Hoa Tam Ky Vinh Yen Trung Bim Son Bong Son Cam Giang Gia Lam Hai Duong Hai Phong Phu Thai Thuong Ly Long Bien Bao Ha Sapa Lao Cai Lang Khay Pho Lu Trai Hut Vinh Yen Yen Bai Yen Vien Mau A Phu Tho Viet Tri Duc Pho Gia Lang Co La Hai Nga Ba Nui Thanh Phu Cang Tra Kieu Song Mao Song Than Phan Thiet Giap Bat