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Train Travel in Vietnam

Train travel is the best alternative to bus travel in Vietnam. While it’s still affordable, traveling by train is definitely more comfortable than traveling by bus. Plus you can see the countryside as you travel. If you want to travel from abroad to Vietnam by train, it’s only possible to do so from China.

Traveling within Vietnam by train

Vietnam Railways System (VRS) is the main domestic service operator. The total length of railway is 2.652 km, connecting almost every province and city in the country. The main travel routes are from north to south (Hanoi to Saigon) and from Hanoi to the northwest and northeast. The train linking Hanoi to Saigon is often referred to as ‘Reunification Express’.

There are four types of classes in Vietnamese trains:

  • hard seat: it’s the good choice for day travel
  • hard berth: there are six beds in the compartment; the cheapest is the upper bed
  • soft seat: without AC in the summer, but more comfortable than the hard seat (benches)
  • soft berth: there are four beds in the compartment, which closes as there is a door. The price is the same for all beds

There are two major types of trains: SE and TN. SE trains have AC during summer and a restaurant car. TN are the slower, older trains, with no AC.

It is possible to book a ticket online. It’s also advisable to check the schedule and pricing before you make any plans (as they tend to change about twice a year). Tickets can be bought from travel agents and in the railway stations, as well. All trains require a reservation .