Two weeks ago was my first time traveling by train in Vietnam even though I have lived in Vietnam for almost 30 years. I was quite confused before the trip, so I want to tell you about my experience of traveling by train in Vietnam.
First of all, why did I choose to travel by train?
Of course, if I go far, for example, going from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, I will probably choose to take a plane to save time. But if traveling short distances like Hanoi – Sa Pa or Hanoi – Hai Phong, taking the train will have many advantages compared to taking other means such as cars.
Traveling by train is a bit longer than going by car, but it’s not really that much longer. For example, if you go by car from Hanoi to Hai Phong is 2 hours, then the train ride is only about 2 and a half hours.
In terms of cost, traveling by train is also cheaper than going by car. Normally, taking a taxi in the inner city of Hanoi costs nearly VND 100,000 (about $4), but buying a train ticket from Hanoi to Hai Phong is only in that price range.
In addition, if you rent a car, you will have to find someone who knows how to drive or you will have to drive by yourself… Not to mention, traveling by car is easier to have an accident than a train. Meanwhile, traveling by train is safe and you can buy tickets online, choose your seat online too.
Train ticket booking
I think the most convenient way to buy a train ticket is to buy online. You can buy tickets through the apps of e-wallets or through the website of Vietnam Railways.
About me, I bought through the Vietnamese e-wallet named Momo. It’s really easy to use. You can do step by step according to the instruction on the app.
After choosing the time, destination and seat, you make the payment and receive the code.
If you go not so far, air-conditioned seats are ok. But if you go far such as from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, you should choose seater bunk bed.
That’s quite easy, right?
Getting on the train
The most convenient thing about buying ticket online is that we don’t need a paper ticket to get on train. I remember that I just went to station, looked at the direction board to find the gate that leads to the train. I showed the code on my phone as well as my passport and then I got on train. All that process took only 10 minutes.
There is also food service on the train. When I went to Hai Phong, they sold regional specialties of Hai Phong on the train. The price was a bit more expensive but the food was okay, although not as delicious as enjoying directly at a restaurant in Hai Phong. Talking about regional specialties, don’t forget to visit my articles on Vietnamese cuisine here.
What I really love is to sit by the window to enjoy the view.
However, one thing surprised me quite a bit. Perhaps because it was my first time on the train, I didn’t know that even though I had chosen a seat on the train, I could not decide whether the train would go forward or backward compared to where I was sitting. Unfortunately, the train was going in the backward resulting in a slight grinding of the train. Anyway, I was still fine because I slept most of the time on the train haha. I think this is one of the reasons that you should consider before deciding to travel by train.
Yeah that’s all about traveling by train in Vietnam. I hope that you will have good time with it.