Train in Vietnam - how good or bad?

May 2nd, 2011, 06:15 PM
  #1  
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Train in Vietnam - how good or bad?

We are finalizing our itinerary for 3 weeks in Vietnam. DH and I love trains and have tried to take one wherever we travel. We loved taking the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (took the day one so we could see the countryside). We had planned to do the same in Vietnam: day train from Hanoi to Hue and overnight one from Danang to HCMC. But I was told by a tour operator that the trains in Vietnam are "not very good". Checking out Seat 61 it seems that as long as you stick to the SE trains you are in good shape, but I am wondering if anyone has done train travel in Vietnam and can give us your thoughts.
jcasale is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 08:30 PM
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I've done overnight from Hanoi to Hue and it was fine. 4 people in a sleeper cabin. That was 'first class' however. A walk through the train showed that things got progressively worse as the classes declined. Western and Asian toilets in the carriage.

Maybe the tour operator could make more commission if you fly. Who knows!
silverwool is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 08:38 PM
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why train?? flying is so quick and cheap in vn... allows for much more time on the ground
rhkkmk is offline  
May 3rd, 2011, 12:59 AM
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We did the train trip from Da nang to Hue in 2008. IMO it is one of the worlds great train journeys. True the trains are basic but that is all part of the fun and, as you will only be on the train for around 4 hours, it reall doesn't matter that much. The views are spectactular sa the train winds its way along the coast passing through the Annamite mountains and along China beach. I have also doen teh same trip by car and much preferred the train journey. If you like the BKK - CM trip you will love this one.
crellston is offline  
May 3rd, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Interesting - that was the one part of the trip that we were thinking we WOULDN'T do the train as driving would give us the chance to stop at the Marble Mountains and China Beach. Thoughts?
jcasale is offline  
May 3rd, 2011, 07:27 AM
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In response to why train - it has nothing to do with cost. We enjoy trains and the chance to see the countryside. I'm actually thinking that it might be better to take the daytime train from Hanoi to Hue rather than the overnight one so that we can see the country. We have the time, so that's not the issue either.
jcasale is offline  
May 3rd, 2011, 09:41 PM
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the nigh train from Hanoi to Hue is fine but the rest ones are not good enough as said by my tour operator. But you should take a train from Hue to Danang that brings you very amazing scenery of Hai Van pass.

I travelled by train from Hanoi to Hue and Hue to Danang even it is not a long journey and booked the tickets with Vietnam Exotic Tours.

Cheers.
richmanrunning is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 01:16 AM
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I have done the trip from Da nang to Hue by road twice and by train once and much preferred the train. the first time by road from Hue to Hoi an we were disappointed because the driver, rather than driving over the hai van pass went through the (then) new tunnel so we missed a lot of the view. The other time we went over the pass and stopped at a few places,notably the marble quarries where you could buy life sized statues of David, venus, various dragons etc. (not sure how you would get them home though!). Personally, I found it all a bit tacky.

China beach, although famous, is just a beach. I love train journeys and have travelled by train all over SE Asia, Sri Lanka and parts of South America. Travelling by day is a great way to see landscapes you would probably not otherwise see. By night however, I do find it a little difficult to sleep on board a train (except the orient express which i found very easy!!).

"to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive" RL Stevenson
crellston is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 11:28 PM
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I have done the train trip from HCM to Hanoi -we did it in 3 trips stopping off on the way.We had the sleepers which are really just 4 bunks in a room with not much room in between to put luggage. Some Europeans on our trip bought the 4 bunks in their carriage so they had spare room. When you get on the train there could be someone in your bed but the train person shoos them out !!! of course there are Asian toilets-it's Asia and we took food as well. Food is sold as well but I am not fond of duckling in the egg for breakfast!!!
We loved the trips and recommend it -you see a different side of the country
northie is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 02:58 AM
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Hi there
It is fair enough to see beauty landscape while train going through many place, short time is enough. if you take night train SE 1 i think depart hanoi around 9 pm and arrival Hue around 9 am next day so couple hours see country side of Vietnam, when the train approaching Hue.
jackytan is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 02:55 PM
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We are thinking of taking the SE7 which leaves Hanoi at 6:15 and gets into Hue at about 19:20. It is beginning to seem that no one takes this train, or at least no one who posts here. I wonder how they stay in business ! Anyway, we are going in late November so the days are shorter and the amount of daylight we would get at the end of an overnight would be minimal. If we aren't going to see the countryside we'd probably decide to fly.

Has ANYONE taken the SE7 from Hanoi???? PLEASE????
jcasale is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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innocent question: how much countryside do you actually get to see from the train?? isn't it most a blur?
rhkkmk is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 08:03 AM
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Quite a lot! The trains in Vietnam travels at an average speed of around 15mph.
crellston is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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lol, Bob, this isn't Europe or Japan!
Kathie is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 09:42 PM
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I thought I had posted about trains in Vietnam, and corresponded off-line, but maybe it was a different thread. I don't remember which specific trains I took out of Hanoi, but I have done it twice, the first time to Hue and the second to Danang. However, I took night trains.

In general I would say that Vietnamese trains aren't the best around in Asia - certainly not up to Chinese standards, or even Thai - but they're not (aside from the train to Sapa) that bad. Do you have specific questions that aren't answered on the seat61.com site?
thursdaysd is offline  
May 15th, 2011, 04:36 AM
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www.seat61.com/Vietnam

Great info for you go for the SE trains they are best

and book carefully many middlemen/scammers

always pay with CC never wire money and

insuremytrip.com

Happy Travels!
qwovadis is offline  
May 15th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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It seems that every time I read one of your posts, qw, you are pushing insuremytrip.com even when it's totally irrelevant. Are they paying you? And could you please write in paragraphs instead of leaving all these blank lines?
thursdaysd is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Hi,
Vietnam Railways runs a single-track train network comprising more than 2500km of track, stretching from Ho Chi Minh City to the Chinese border. Much of it dates back to the colonial period, though it’s gradually being upgraded. Most of the services are still relatively slow, but travelling by train can be far more pleasant than going by road – though prices on the coastal route can’t compare with buses, you’re away from the busy (and often dangerous) Highway 1, and get to see far more of the countryside. The most popular routes with tourists are the shuttle from Da Nang to Hué (2–3hr), a picturesque sampler of Vietnamese rail travel, and the overnighters from Hué to Hanoi (11–16hr) and from Hanoi up to Lao Cai, for Sa Pa (8–9hr).
Brendan24 is offline  
May 31st, 2011, 02:18 AM
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Though Vietnam railways is not the best i've ever tried but it's absolutely not the worst. It deserves to be tried once for seeing the outside scenery is really amazing. Highly recommend for you not to miss the train in the middle of Vietnam coz' that's the most spectacular part of the trip. Hai Van border is scenic. You should take Thong Nhat train (SE and TN). Find more info here: http://www.banvetau.com/banggiotau1.asp
and http://www.banvetau.com/banggiotau.asp
anhhh is offline  
Sep 5th, 2011, 05:10 AM
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I am considering a similar journey in October and also thought of the day train jcasale so i for one don't think your mad ;-)

Did you manage to find anymore information?
emerald125 is offline  

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