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Helpful Trips for Train Travelling in Vietnam

Updated: 17/3/2014 | 10:00:21 PM
If you are planning to go and visit Vietnam, keep in mind that you have a number of options on how you could get around. After arriving in the country usually by plane, you could get around by boat, bus or tram. But if there is a mode of transportation that you should try and get familiar with, it is by travelling via Vietnam trains.

There is nothing more convenient in getting around Vietnam that riding the trains. The Vietnamese railway system features 2,600 km of track. The railway system runs the coasts between the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.  It also connects Hanoi with other cities and towns.

Trains are sometimes considered as slower than buses. However, trains are considered safer and more comfortable to ride with; especially if you are a tourist having who does not want to get on jam-packed buses.

If your bags are already packed and you are bound for Vietnam, here are some tips that you may find useful when travelling around the country through train.

Vietnam Train Travel

•    Vietnam train travel features four classes: hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Hard seats are most affordable ones, but don’t have any air-cons. On the other hand, the soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper classes have both air-con and non-air-con carriages. If you are aiming for some comfort while travelling for several hours or a few days, then you should pick the best trains that offer at least soft seats.

•    Different trains travel at different speeds. Vietnam Railways, which operates the train system, offers trains of different ages. Because of that trains travel at different speeds even between same two destinations. For instance. The slowest express train will take you from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in 41 hours. In contrast, the fastest carriage will take from the same starting point to the same destination in just 30 hours. Of course, the faster the train is, the more costly is the ticket. If you are tight on budget, lower speed trains may do.

•    Know the travel schedules of train routes. Vietnam Train schedules are not permanent; they are always bound to change anytime. You could get updated on the latest train schedule posted at major stations or at Vietnam Railway’s website. Knowing the train travel schedule and timetable would also allow you to properly plan your itinerary as well as make your stay in Vietnam as worthwhile as possible.  Just remember, odd-numbered trains travel south while even-numbered ones travel north.

•    Travel at night! This might as well save you some money on hotel accommodations. You could sleep the night on the train comfortably in soft sleeper class and by the time you wake up, you might have already arrived at your destination. You don’t have to pay for extra hotel bills! Just take note of how long a journey from one place to another could take.

•    Be careful with your belongings, your bags or your packs. Thieves have been prowling at unsuspecting travelers – whether local or foreign – who are bringing with them some valuables. Thieves usually strike when trains are pulling out of their stations, grabbing bags of travelers who may have already set themselves in. Thieves also prey on travelers who are careless with their packs at night. You should always be alert and try to secure your belongings before going to sleep.

•    If you want a hassle-free way of getting tickets during peak seasons without having to participate in long queues to ticketing offices, you can buy them at travel agencies and hotels, for a little premium. Keep in mind that reservations should be made at least one day prior to your planned trip. If you plan to avail of sleeping options, you may have to book several days before your travel date. Always bring your passport when purchasing train tickets, you will need them.



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