Vietnam is a vertically long country with over 4,000KM long land boundaries and over 3,000KM coastal line. Railway stretching between north and south of the country allows travellers to take in its beautiful landscapes and breathtaking seascapes on the go. Therefore, train ride in Vietnam is on top of bucket list for many.
Recently, I made a trip down south to Quy Nhon city from Hanoi and I took the night train that lasted 21 hours in total. This is the first post for my awesome trip to Quy Nhon, where I found my favourite beach in Vietnam! And in this post, I will share with you my booking experience, some tips and information to help you with your train journey in Vietnam.
Train Ticket Booking Website
For some strange reason, both my boyfriend who is Vietnamese and I could not find any booking website that work. So we made a quick visit to Hanoi Train station on Le Duan street to check for information. And the staff at the station informed us to check their official website for timetable, price and booking.
The official website of Vietnam Railway is easy to navigate and use and has English page too. Although not every word is translated into English, such as the promotion details, most important information such as departure time and seat availability guide is in English.
Also, selecting departure time, carriage and seat or bed is visually presented, which makes the selection process straightforward. So the entire process was smooth.
Payment methods are only possible with local bank accounts or cards issued by local banks. So if you do not have a local bank or card, you can visit one of the agents of Vietnam Railways to pay and these include ticket counters at train station, ticketing agents of Vietnam Railways etc (check the last picture above).
One common way travellers book their train tickets in Vietnam is via their hotel, hostel or travel agency in town. Of course, there is a little extra fee you pay if you use a third party as such since you can save your time and energy to physically visit somewhere for payment. Therefore, if you have a local friend, you could ask your friend for help or use the last payment method to save the most.
One thing to note if you want to travel to Quy Nhon by train is that although there is Quy Nhon train station in the city centre, trains from both north or south only arrive at Dieu Tri station. Both the official website and the staff at the railway station confirmed there is no route from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh cities to Quy Nhon station. Therefore, you should search and book your tickets arriving in Dieu Tri station, which is about 12KM from Quy Nhon city.
Vietnam Train Cabin Types
In general, there are four types of cabin categories – hard (wooden) seats, soft seats, 6-bed cabins and 4-bed cabins. The train I took from Hanoi to Quy Nhon did not have hard seater carriage and only had soft seats, 6-bed and 4-bed cabins.
I’ve been on a hard seater without air-conditioning once from Hanoi to Ninh Binh during summer and that was a very very uncomfortable, hot and sweaty experience. Of course, it was the cheapest option and definitely an experience to remember. But I wouldn’t recommend it for longer than 2 hours unless of course, you value the experience and don’t mind all that.
For bedroom cabins, there are slight price differences between cabins even in the same carriage (both ends of each carriage are cheaper than the centre). After having checked the tickets on two separate days before buying the tickets, I noticed that the cabins in the centre and bottom bunks are sold out first. Also, the very end carriage is usually sold out the latest. I believe it could be from the noise from the honk. And the upper bunk is cheaper than the bottom one.
There are four departures down south from Hanoi every day and Hanoi to Quy Nhon takes between 21 and 22 hours. So we needed a bed cabin and booked one upper and one bottom bunk in a 4-bed cabin. And the price for the bottom bunk was 1,147,000VND (50USD) and upper bunk 1,052,000VND (45USD).
Strangely, the train tickets in Vietnam are very high and most of the time more expensive than flights. So it’s something I only did for the experience, which was definitely worth the price and time. And this train ride was one of the best journeys I had in Vietnam travelling 1,000KM down south and along its amazing landscapes and seascapes.