Violette Express Train

Quick company Intro
Violette Express Train began offering services from Hanoi in 2016. Like many other private transport operators in Vietnam, the carriages on all routes are purchased from Vietnam Railways, the national company which manages the country's rail network.

All carriages on the Violette Express Train are air-conditioned four-bed VIP sleepers so you can rest assured that you will be travelling in the most comfortable surroundings.

Routes served by Violette Express Train

Hanoi–Lao Cai (Sapa)

Initially, Violette Express Train only connected Hanoi with the northern town of Lao Cai, a key stop on the route to the ever-popular mountain town of Sapa. As Sapa doesn't have a train station, if you are heading there by train you'll have to travel to Lao Cai before then catching a bus to Sapa, which should take around an hour.

There is one train each evening leaving Hanoi at 22.00 for Lao Cai, a journey that should take around 8 ½ hours, arriving into Lao Cai at 06.20 the following morning. At 21.10 each evening you can catch a train from Lao Cai headed to Hanoi, arriving at 05.25. The tickets will cost VND1,030,000 regardless of which way you're headed.

Hanoi–Hue–Da Nang

A newer route introduced by the Violette Express Train, connects Hanoi with the popular tourist cities of Hue and Da Nang.

There are two departures each day from Hanoi to Da Nang, leaving at 19.30 and 22.00 (scheduled to arrive at 11.30 and 13.00 respectively). There are also two trains heading in the opposite direction every day, at 12.45 and 14.15, which arrive in Hanoi at 04.50 and 05.40. The 15 hour journey costs VND2,005,000 each way.

Travellers wishing to visit Hue can catch services that are headed for either Hanoi or Da Nang. Hue is around 13 hours from Hanoi with a single ticket priced at VND1,750,000. If you're travelling from Hanoi to Hue, then jump on the train headed for Da Nang (at 19.30 or 22.00 every day).

Alternatively, if you're already in Hue and want to travel to Hanoi you can purchase a ticket for trains leaving Da Nang that will stop at Hue at 15.30 and 16.45 and then take you all the way to Hanoi.

Pros
The route connecting Hanoi and Lao Cai is incredibly scenic and you'll enjoy stunning views. Train travel really is the best way to see this part of the country and although it may be a bit slow, the journey will fly by.

The VIP sleepers on these routes are usually pretty comfortable and all have charging ports so you should be able to keep yourself entertained for the duration of the journey.

Cons
Unfortunately, the arrival times in Hanoi from Lao Cai, Hue and Da Nang are not ideal. It can sometimes be difficult arriving early in the morning or late at night as you may not be able to get to your accommodation easily if you have booked somewhere specifically. If you haven't booked any accommodation then you might have to carry your bags around for a few hours at least.

Although the cabins are usually fairly clean, there can be issues with the bathrooms on board these trains. Western toilets are available but they may not be cleaned thoroughly during the journey so probably won't be up to the standard you used to.

Keep in mind
It's worth bearing in mind that Violette Express Train only offers berths in sleeper carriages and there are no seats. This means that if you're travelling the short distance between Hue and Da Nang then you'll probably want to consider an alternative operator.

What travellers say
The biggest complaint on board these trains is typically the cleanliness of the bathrooms. Unfortunately, this is likely to be an issue on most forms of transport throughout Vietnam.

The noise levels on these routes can also be a bit of a surprise and take some getting used but is part of the experience of train travel in Vietnam. In truth, tickets are slightly more expensive in these privately-run carriages so they are likely to be less noisy than the cheaper carriages managed by Vietnam Railways.

Buy Violette Express Train Tickets

Da Nang - Hanoi
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12:45, 13:53
Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh
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11:25, 11:40, 13:15, 13:41, 13:45
Da Nang - Nha Trang
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11:23, 11:25, 11:40, 13:15, 13:45
Hanoi - Da Nang
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19:30, 22:00, 22:20
Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh
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19:30, 22:00, 22:20
Hanoi - Hue
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19:30, 22:00, 22:20
Hanoi - Quang Binh
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19:30, 22:00, 22:20
Hanoi - Sapa
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22:00, 22:30
Hue - Hanoi
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15:30, 16:26
Hue - Ho Chi Minh
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08:37, 08:55, 10:35, 10:59
Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh
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21:12, 21:22, 22:15, 22:26
Quang Binh - Hanoi
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18:40, 19:40, 19:50, 19:55
Sapa - Hanoi
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21:10, 21:40

Violette Express Train Company Reviews

3.0
191 / 3,664
5 24
4 58
3 42
2 31
1 36
98.2% of 3,664 travelers were presumably happy with Violette Express Train 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.

Feb 21, 2019
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Great journey
Feb 12, 2019
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Got us from Hanoi to Hue. 12go Asia booking/instructions were great. As for Violette "superior service" not sure what that was as never saw a sole.....maybe the small bottle of water?...
Jan 15, 2019
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Despite being told I needed to change my document from 12goasia to tickets with a barcode I didn't. I only needed to turn up at the Violette counter 1 hour before departure. The boarding process was good. The cabin was merely functional despite all the claims it was more luxurious than the standard 4 berth cabins. The toilets were fairly horrendous. Lots of coffee/tea/snacks vendors. My advice save your money and buy a standard 4 berth ticket and buy it from the station ticket office and save $+++
Jan 15, 2019
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
Cabin was as nice as we expected. Looked like the picture, just smaller. The bathrooms even had toilet paper, which is as nice as it gets in some places. It was a little cold so dress warm or bring a jacket. And would suggest Drommamine if you get car sick for the motion of the train.
Jan 13, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
Great train ride. The complaints by some people are unwarranted. If you like trains then this is a great way to get to Hue from Hanoi. John M, Australia
Jan 9, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Pros: Very clean cabins. Plenty of storage space USB charging points. Complimentary water and snacks. Departed and arrived on time. Very easy booking process through 12goasia. Cons: The mattresses are really quite hard. You have to share with strangers. No curtains for privacy.
Jan 7, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
It was great, nice view.
Jan 5, 2019
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
Everything was quite cheap and check was not well arranged. Arrival time was perfect.
Jan 5, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
It was ok, we had a toilet smell occasionally, the bed was fine and the train arrived on time.
Jan 2, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
NOT at all like photo. It was very bad. Smell like a toilet
Jan 1, 2019
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
We booked through 12go.Asia and were very happy with the information provided prior to booking and found the tongue in cheek, say it like it is, info provided with the tickets highly entertaining and having lived in Asia for 10 yrs very accurate! For example they say if you may a phone call to the train operator and you sound like you’re speaking Klingon they will just hang up on you! We travelled in a Violette carriage. Boarding the train at Hanoi was easy. We checked in at the ticketing booth in the waiting room and were told our carriage and cabin number. When we went to go through the barriers the same lady appeared and gave our actual tickets directly to the attendant, to stop us losing it I guess! We couldn’t board the train until 30 mins before dept so the recommended ‘be there an hour before’ is actually plenty of time. The cabin was as expected: 4 berths and a table, 4 bottles of water, 4 over ripe bananas and some ( not very nice) chocolate biscuits. A USB port and reading light above each bed. Plenty of space under the bottom bunks to store suitcases but large hard shell ones may not fit. Top bunks have some small storage shelves by the beds. Each bunk has a small rail and a hook, a pillow, duvet and bottom sheet. It did get a bit cold but a a jumper was sufficient and the children said the top bunks were coldest as they were closer to the aircon. ( note we travelled in Dec and Hanoi was freezing so maybe it wouldn’t be cold in the summer, I don’t know!) We read the reviews in advance and so were prepared with extra toilet roll, disposable toilet seat covers and hand soap: all were def needed. We also took rubber flip flops to wear when going to toilet. We had read the reviews about the bedding not being changed and so took our own silk liners and slept inside them above the sheet, under the duvet and with the pillow inside the pillow pocket; seemed a hygienic way around the problem! I had also been warned about the lack of and quality of food but that there was plenty of free hot water so we took plenty of snacks, coffee and hot chocolate sachets and pot noodles. Take your own spoons and cups etc and a thermos coffee cup/ flask for getting the hot water. We also took wet wipes which were great for freshening up on the train and wiping the sink down for teeth brushing etc. We were so glad we did this journey by train. The experience was fun, the scenery was interesting and beautiful. It was much less stressful than flying and probably what me and my children( 16 and 13) will talk about more than anything else when we return from our trip. Additional point: we were in a Violette cabin, the state run 1st class cabins seemed the same except the bottom fitted sheet was more like a thinly padded mat placed on top of the mattress but apart from that exactly the same. Both these carriages seemed to have similar people in them ( I don’t mean race, there was a mixture of Caucasians, Asians, Indian etc) by that I mean friendly and respectful when we walked through the carriages. The locally run 2nd class carriages were the same except that they had 3 bunks on each side so you couldn’t sit upright and less storage space. Because of that there were more people spilling into the corridors chatting loudly or on their phones and gathering and smoking where the carriages connected. It was not intimidating at all but it was quite noisy with chatting and phone calls. Whereas the Livitrains and Violette were quieter and more restful. Equally there would have been more people to share the bathrooms etc. If you choose to take a seat and not a cabin that seemed fine too for the money. We would have considered that had we been just adults but it wouldn’t have been as relaxing. For example some people were playing games on their phones without turning their sound down and that would’ve got on my nerves after 16 hours! If I did it again (and we def would!) the only thing we would take extra would be an eye mask each and some good ear plugs but it was fine - we didn’t really expect a really good nights sleep but what we got was okay!
Dec 26, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Overall the experience was OK, but now - when we can compare to a lower class trains - it can be counted as a good one actually. Minuses: - the train shakes really hard, it’s hard to walk and not so easy to sleep - not very clean (1 cockroach seen, old stains on the sheets, the toilet was not super clean) - super noisy staff (especially in the morning)
Dec 26, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
The train ride itself was fine. I knew it was going to be long and not so spacious. However, I was not prepared for how dirty the hallways and bathrooms were going to be, especially considering the way it was advertised on their own website. Most (if not all) of the toilets were not flushing and considering the fact that the train was bumpy, this was a fairly horrendous sight. It got so bad that we ended up avoiding the bathroom all together for the last 4-5 hours. Furthermore, we were so concerned about the our train from Danang to Ho Chi Minh that we decided to purchase flights instead and eat the cost of the train tickets. A plus was that the last 4 hours of the ride was met with gorgeous views of the countryside and the ocean. So beautiful in fact that it almost made up for everything else. While I am open to this situation being below the average experience, please consider our feedback when determining a flight or train ride.
Dec 23, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Saw very little of train staff, but they were pleasant, dropped off linens. Car was fine. Seemed clean, rather noisy. Food was bad. Toilets were marginal, clearly needed more upkeep.
Dec 13, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
The cabin is clean and comfortable, although it’s a bit small. Suitable for lean people below 178cm. The toilet at the end of the coach has a lock but it’s spoilt. Passengers who smoke could only do so along the corridor. However, the train crew maintain that the could only do so at the end of the corridor.
Dec 13, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
The train wasnt so good. When I booked I choose the lower berth only to find the receptionist says the agency didnt tell them. When we arrived at our berth there were tons of laundry under our bed so no space to put our luggage. The pillow was damp and the bed was solid as rock and not to mention the snack only very tiny wafer and little water bottle. The bathroom was filthy. .my experience with this train was disappointing conaidering it was expensive train.
Dec 12, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
The toilet was not flushing properly. The water was all over the floor. The meal option for breakfast was limited to pork, which I don’t eat. At the train station when I went to claim the ticket i was asked by the staff if I want to have a full private cabin by paying another 2 million Vietnamese Dongs ( i am not sure if this was a scam or real, since I didn’t receive a voucher for that and the staff put the money in her own bag). Probably next time i will try the Vietnam Railways 1st class. Since there is no difference but the later is cheaper.
Dec 9, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Good trip but the track was closed just before Danang due to flooding
Dec 2, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
All good. Easy check in. Clean train. Bouncy but fine. Would recommend.
Nov 22, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
We booked 2 lower sleepers in VIP and had only 1 the 2nd was upstairs. Train is very noisy and hard to sleep, beds are really tiny and not very clean. For the price and the 12 hours travel, I should have take the plane
Oct 29, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
Train was clean and on time. There was a free breakfast of Vietnamese noodles and other reasonably priced drinks and snacks available The checkin process was very easy
Oct 24, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
Rooms were too hot. Could not breathe at all so could not sleep at all. Other guests were drinking and partying until very late.
Oct 23, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
Very clean and safe ride.
Oct 19, 2018
train #SE4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
The booking process with 12Go was good. Exchanging the voucher for a ticket at carriage 9 as instructed seemed touch and go for 15 minutes, until they found the booking in carriage 10. From there it was all ok.
Sep 26, 2018
train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
The air con was inconsistent and the toilets were disgusting and smelly. There was fecal matter on the floor. I would have preferred to bus instead.
Sep 16, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
Very hard beds and too much noise early morning. Bed linen was dirty. On the positive. The toilets were cleaner than expected
Sep 9, 2018
train #SE2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Basic and clean room. Food supplied was ok. Able to but cold beer for not much $$ We did not expect 5 Star but we’re pleasantly surprised
Aug 25, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
it was easy to buy the tickets and the train was exactly as expected. But even though the instruction said (several times and in capital letters) that we had to change our e electronic voucher in a norma ticket this was'nt necessary at all and created some misunderstanding with the train officers
Aug 19, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
All Ok!!! But wc a little dirty!!!
Aug 18, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Ok cabin, zero service, ac very strong and cold all night, train was 4 hours late. During stops personnel was drinking beer and smoking weed so that was also causing more delay.
Aug 16, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Very good !
Aug 1, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
My suggestion is to use the Porter's in the light blue shirts when you arrive to the station. For a couple of bucks tip they will help you get through the ticket pick up(I had a voucher) , and then schlep your luggage on to the correct train/car number. Couldn't have been smoother. As far as the actual berth, I shared with 4 people. If you're on the bottom be prepared to share your space with the folks on top. When they aren't laying down there is no where else for them to sit. But it was all good and as the only non local in the room I made new friends (thanks Google Translate). Also we were fed 2 meals that were free, plus opportunity to buy more throughout the trip. Bathrooms are bathrooms, they worked. Very pleased overall.
Jul 30, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
No VIP carriage! Informed by station staff that no Violette service on this train. So paid 750,000 VND too much... Poor service on board. Welcome drink but had to pay for poor selection of food. No sheets, even when requested. Air-con on 'freeze' mode, unadjustable. No bulb in lamp. People sleeping in corridor. And toilet needs chemicals; stank and ran out of water!
12Go response:
Dear James Appleby Thanks for the information, we are refunding the difference and you will receive confirmation of this shortly. It seems they overbooked, in such cases they are supposed to alert us so we can deal with the situation prior to departure but here they failed to do so. Please accept our sincere apologies and best of luck on your remaining travels. Best regards, Spencer Tiesse, 12Go Business Development Team [Support case #552105](https://12go.asia/en/support-case?token=QmNGTENvQWdFQURRSy9YZnRkQ2dzQ2pRYWl5WEEwVXo5TnVGbnI3M050K3k0b2VHYWZiOUpHSkZIN2xSRmVwNkQ3UVExa1YrMkFCdHM3elIxaTlXT1dNUzBRNW5wMWw2azVvV0dVQnpuWmtnZ3JNdTE2a29mdz09)
Jul 29, 2018
train #SP4 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
The train conducter wouldn’t let us board the train. He said we didn’t have the right tickets. He sent us away, he wanted us to go buy or get other tickets. Luckily we met someone at the train station who could help us. (nobody werking in the train station spoke any English) She said the Violette Train Express always has this same kind of trouble because they have another sort of tickets then the other train services.
Jul 23, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
We had a super experience on the night train from Hanoi to Hue. Booking and travel was excellent
Jul 22, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★☆☆☆
Quite disturbing to find out that even in a 1st class sleeper coach the sheets were not changed after we left (leaving us wondering what happened before us). The airco running at 17 degrees also made it less comfortable.
Jul 18, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
The online booking hadn't worked, so there was my voucher but no ticket. But there were several nice ladies at different counters who found a berth for me, finally. Goo customer service.
Jul 17, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★★
Very comfortable beds. Power outlets/USB charger convenient. Nice view of the Hai Van pass.
Jul 16, 2018
train #SE1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★★☆
Basic, but as expected. The cabins had enough space for us (2x adults, 2x children). Cabins were clean, however toilets are pretty dirty. Air conditioning is great, we were at a comfortable temperature the whole way. Great adventure and nice scenery for the journey.
Jul 15, 2018
train #SE3 VIP Sleeper 4x, Violette Express Train
★★★☆☆
Romantic idea of luxury train trip failed already before boarding train with 2 hour delay and overcrowed waiting area at station. Clean cabin but not much more to say and the seating does get uncomfortable after some hours. Prices for violet Express close to airfare so better choose air.

Violette Express Train Stations

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