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Home  >  Train Guide  

Train Travel Guide: Best Way to Explore Vietnam

Updated: 6/3/2014 | 1:42:32 AM
The air-conditioned trains of Vietnam are the best way for independent travellers to explore Vietnam at ground level because they are inexpensive, comfortable, and safe. The train journeys are a very important part of your visit to this country because they offer you a genuine Vietnamese experience. They might even enable you to meet a few Vietnamese people.

Inexperienced travellers sometimes consider using internal flights because they think that they will enable them to save time- in fact, a train ride during the night from Hanoi to Danang or Hue actually helps in saving time as compared to flying. This is because the train arrives in the Hue city center the following morning after leaving Hanoi city center. However, there is more to this because you waste an opportunity when you fly but you get a genuine Vietnamese experience when you go for a train journey. When you fly, you take 4 to 5 hours out of the day you need to go for sightseeing in order to get back into the city center, to a remote airport, to collect your bags, check in, and take the flight itself. You also save a hotel bill when you use a sleeper train. You are probably wondering why you should rush. Well, on board catering and air-conditioned trains that have sleepers link Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, Nha Trang and Danang. There is no station in Hoi An. However, it is only 30km when you use a taxi or bus. Trains for Halong Bay (to Haiphong) from Hanoi and for Sapa (to Lao Cai) from Hanoi are also available.

Reunification Express TrainThe Reunification Express

Tourist agencies and guidebooks sometimes refer to trains between Saigon and Hanoi as the Reunification Express even though several trains are nowadays available on this route and no single train bears this name officially. The French completed the line in 1936 .The trains then linked Saigon to Hanoi until Vietnam was divided into south and north and there was a railway cut in 1954. The trains unified the country again by resuming on 31 December 1976. You can use the reunification railway to explore Vietnam with a lot of ease and this is a memorable travel experience.

The view that you get from the train

• Up into the Vietnamese hills and along the coast

The amazing scenic section between Danang and Hue is the most fascinating part of the train journey from Hanoi to Saigon. The train snakes from cliff to jungle-covered islands and cliff past beaches by running along the South China Sea before heading through the lush green mountains to reach Danang via the Hai Van Pass. It is Đèo Hải Vân in Vietnamese, which means “Ocean Cloud Pass” and there is no better name for it.

• Water buffalo, palm trees, rice fields, Vietnamese villages and towns

When you go for a train journey, you see the real Vietnam, both rural and urban, which you are unable to see from 35,000 feet. You will also get insights when you are on board the train if your people watching skills are good since the real Vietnam is both on the outside and on the inside.

The train system in Vietnam serves many parts of this country. Its rail network extends too many of the destinations that a first time visitor would be interested in. In addition, it is inexpensive, comfortable, and safe and it makes it possible for you to see the countryside whenever you want.

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