If you ask my parents, one of the biggest experiences they had in Vietnam, was when we traveled by train between Hanoi and Danang. It was a 16-hour trip, so we had booked soft-sleeper tickets. There were 4 berths in our cabin, each equipped with a reading light, a power socket, a pillow and a blanket.
I wish I could provide you with detailed encounters from our railroad adventures, but after only 30 minutes, I slept like a baby, and I didn’t wake up until we were a couple of hours north of Danang. At that time, the railroad track was running really close to the coastline, and during the final part of the trip, we were all glued to the window, admiring the most breathtaking view after another.
How to book a train ticket from Hanoi to Danang?
The excellent website The Man in Seat 61 provides you with all the information you need to plan your trip. I booked our tickets online through Baolau, which was really smooth.
Traveling by train in Vietnam is very affordable, so unless you’re traveling a very short distance, don’t even think of booking a hard seat. We paid 1,025,000VND (45USD) each for the ticket plus a service fee of 40,000VND to Baolau.
When to travel?
Taking the train which departed in the evening from Hanoi turned out to be a good idea. My dad was awake all night, and he said there wasn’t a lot to see in the beginning of the trip. The most beautiful part of the trip is down south just before you reach Danang, so it was great to be able to enjoy the view in daylight.
What to bring?
If you book a soft-sleeper cabin, you don’t really need to bring anything except for snacks. I had read that food and drinks were available for sale on board the train, but we went to a supermarket near Hanoi station and stocked up on chocolate bars and potato chips before embarking the train. Never go down on snacks!
The lavatories were really nasty and there wasn’t any toilet paper, so remember to bring some tissues and hand sanitizer. The floor was full of unidentified substances, so bringing some wet wipes to wipe off your shoes afterwards might also be a good idea.