Special: Train Ride in Vietnam
A train ride in Vietnam is quite an experience as it’s way different than what you know from the Western World. However, the ride I took, from Hue to Danang, is considered one of the most scenic ones as you are crossing the Ocean Cloud Pass. In this post, I’ll explain how to get a ticket, how the comfort in the train is like and what’s the view you can enjoy during the journey.
Taking the train in Vietnam can be a very good idea for certain journeys, including the one from Hue to Danang. It’s quicker and more comfortable than taking a car and is the cheaper option, too. However, you may also take the train on longer journeys, for example from Hanoi to Danang or from Hue to Saigon or even from Saigon to Hanoi. Yet, you should be aware that these rides take half a day or even more than a day. Thus, be sure to book a sleeper car.
How to get a ticket for a train ride in Vietnam?
I won’t go into too much detailled when it comes to buying a train ticket in Vietnam as I’m not the expert on that matter. However, over at Seat61, you can find an extensive guide for buying a ticket for trains in Vietnam. There’s all the information on how to get a ticket (at the station or online), when to get a ticket and the different types of coaches and comfort classes.
For what it’s worth, I bought my ticket at the Hue Station one day before departure, which was easy and hassle-free. The ticket you get has the number of your car and your seat as all trains can be boarded with reservation only. You can not buy tickets on the train on either route. The ticket prices depend on the route you are taking, but are very affordable for shorter journeys. On longer routes like Saigon to Hanoi, an airplane ticket is actually cheaper than a sleeper ticket on the train.
How do I board the train in Vietnam?
The whole boarding procedure for trains in Vietnam is a little odd. Basically, you are getting to the station a couple of minutes before departure and then there’s quite a mess. Tons of people are waiting for departures and eventually somebody calls out a special train.
At that point you basically walk on the rails and wait for the train to come. It doesn’t look all that safe and very chaotic, but it’s working in the very end.
As there are a couple of employees, you can always ask if anything is unclear. There’s a language barrier, but by showing your ticket, you’ll get the information you need.
How is the comfort and catering on board?
What surprised me the most about taking a train in Vietnam was the high level of comfort. There are actually different service classes, but I would highly recommend the air-conditioned soft seats for daytime journeys.
Those are comfortable recliner seats, which are basically comparable or even better than what most Western train companies offer. The seats even have plugs and recline quite a bit.
The lower class of service, hard seats, might be an option for shorter rides, too. However, it’s way more crowded and less comfortable there. Each car has two toilets, which are relatively close to Western standards, but aren’t taken care of very well. It’s worth noting that there is no complimentary catering, but at one point of my train ride in Vietnam, a cart with several food options, including hot options like chicken or satay (I haven’t seen anything like this before in a train) was rolled through the cart.
The prices quoted were a little high, but still quite affordable.
What can you see during my train ride in Vietnam?
In this part, I’ll only speak about my train ride from Hue to Danang, which is considered to be the nicest train ride you can take in Vietnam.
It goes along the so-called Ocean Cloud Pass, which is one of the naturally most beautiful areas in Vietnam. Shortly after leaving Hue, you are already in plain nature with green fields and nice views of the ocean.
After approximately one hour you are getting into a more mountainy area, which is where the Cloud Pass begins.
From here on, you’ll have stunning views of the mountains, the landscape and even some secluded beaches.
As the name suggests, it’s very cloudy here, but it’s beautiful nevertheless. When getting closer to Danang, you’ll see some interesting buildings, including a very large pagoda.
All in all, the views are totally breathtaking and alone make this train ride in Vietnam totally worth it.
Overall impressions of the train ride in Vietnam
The views alone made this train ride in Vietnam totally amazing. Thus, I can absolutely recommend taking the train from Hue to Danang as it’s the most beautiful and scenic part of the whole train network in Vietnam. In addition, the tickets are cheap and the comfort is high. You definitely can’t go wrong with taking the train for shorter journeys in Vietnam!