Update 13 October 2019: Reuters reports that all cafes on Hanoi’s train street are to close with immediate affect after police impose new safety rules for tourists.
Never heard of Hanoi’s famous Train Street? Twice a day in Vietnam’s capital city, a speeding train passes through a narrow street where people live, work and play. Local residents are playing checkers on the tracks one minute, and the next they’ve scooped up their belongings and moved to the very edge to let the train whizz past.
The bright blue train passes through the street as it heads South to Hue and Hoi An, and this once local secret has become a popular sight for tourists. Instagrammers get their cameras ready to shoot, locals move their tables back in to their front door and the train snakes past just inches or so from your nose as you push yourself tight against the wall.
Hanoi’s Train Street is an unforgettable experience when travelling through Vietnam, but it can be quite confusing finding out any worthwhile info.
So consider this your ultimate guide to Hanoi’s famous Train Street…
1. What’s the train timetable?
The train passes every day at 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm as it makes its way from Hue to Long Bien train station. Your best bet is to arrive at least 30 minutes before the expected arrival to get a good viewing spot.
Irregularly, a train that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city passes through at 5pm, so check Vietnam Railways for the day you’re planning to visit.
2. Where exactly is Train Street?
Train Street is located between Lê Duẩn and Khâm Thin street, in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Put Ngo 224 Le Duan into Google Maps and that will give you the best directions.
3. How do you get there?
If you’re brave enough to drive a moped in Hanoi you can park your bike close to the Train Street, just outside a local cafe or store.
If coming from the city centre of Hanoi, it will take about 30 minutes to reach Train Street from Hoan Kiem lake.
Take a Grab or metered taxi to Train Street for the easiest option. The journey should cost about 25,000 Dong for a Grab car, or 12,000-15,000 for a Grab motorbike.
4. How much time to allocate?
As is often the case in Vietnam, the train can get delayed so make sure you aren’t in a rush to go anywhere. Give yourself 30 minutes to travel to the street, 30 minutes to wait before it arrives and an hour for any delays and to take photos.
Visiting the Train Street is an ideal half-day activity.
5. Staying safe:
Listen to the locals, and do NOT attempt to stick your hand out as the train goes past. The train does slow down, but it won’t stop so don’t risk your life for a selfie on the tracks.
Hanoi’s Famous Train Street is a special experience but safety has to come first.
6. Insider tips:
- Check out the train at 3.30pm as the 7.30pm train is too dark to take amazing photos.
- Don’t be tempted to stop at the first free space you see – keep walking up the street to the very middle for the best view.
- Take your photos after the train passes, as most people will leave then and the tracks will be all yours.
- Hanoi Train Track Cafe is a great little spot for a drink before the train arrives. Sit outside on the little plastic stools until it’s time to run in to safety.
7. Best photo spots for Hanoi’s Famous Train Street:
Walk to the top of the street and sit on the train tracks, with your back to the camera.
Ask the local residents if you can photograph them going about their daily life while you wait for the train – they won’t mind.
Video of Hanoi’s famous Train Street:
For those not lucky enough to be in Hanoi to see the train in person, this video gives a great idea of the speed and closeness of the train. You wouldn’t want to move suddenly as it comes hurtling past….
Train street on social media
As word spreads about the street people are flocking to the site to capture that perfect Instagrammable moment. Here are some of the best…
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