hello , i'm planning to travel from saigon to hanoi by train in april with a 5 day stopover in hoi an, has anyone been thisway recently, would like any help. thanks
#1 waynedundas has been a member since 26/1/2007. Posts: 4
Simply go to SaiGon Rail Station and buy a ticket to DA NANG - the earlier you go, the better the choice of express train.
Here are the train types:
The long distance 'express' trains (can you call 70 kilometres per hour express?) come in two generic types SE and TN. The SE have the latest, most modern equipment whilst, naturally, the TN trains are older equipment.
Trains sets SE1-SE6 have 4-bunk soft sleepers, 6-berth hard sleepers and soft class seats (all aircon) + a restaurant or buffet car. Their colour scheme includes white, red and blue.
Train sets TN3-10 have aircon 4-bunk soft sleepers, air-con and non-aircon 6-berth hard sleepers, air-con and non-aircon soft seats and non-aircon hard seats. There is a limited trolley service. The predominant colour scheme is green.
Heavy wire shields protect certain trains windows from children, redominantly in the north, from throwing stones and rocks through the windows. Other trains have hardened glass.
Carriages have toilets at either end and experienced travellers know how to get a shower.
Food packs and water are delivered at appropriate times three times daily and a newspaper in English or Vietnamese at breakfast.
Passengers wanting to travel from HCMC / SaiGon to Ha Noi (or vice versa) and stop off along the way, this is not a problem, but it is neccessary to reserve it as a series of separate journeys, with a separate ticket for each leg. You cannot buy an open ticket and hop on and off trains without a reservation.
It's easy and convenient for passengers to book trains at local station reservation office and agents are not required. Typically a travel agent adds his service fee to the train fare and you are unaware of the true cost. Reservation systems were computerised in 2002, and the reservation computers at major stations have been linked, so in many cases it is possible to book a train departing from a station other than the one you are at.
Aside from major holiday periods (the Tet holiday and the start and finish of university terms) it is not too difficult to secure a berth a few days in advance, although if you are booking for the same day or the following day, flexibity over class of accommodation, choice of train or departure date is required. Advanced reservations are best.
INTERNATIONAL RAIL LINKS
There are only two international rail connections contrary to what Lonely Planet claims. These are (east to west) Mong Cai (Dong Hung) and Dong Dang (PingXiang). The latter is the only one presently used. The other trans-border rail point is in Lao Cai (HeKou) and has been physically closed by a landslide although Lonely Planet held it open, in its guide book) for a further four years.
There are presently 4 trains weekly crosiing the border in either direction. Two are Ha Noi ~ BeiJing and the others Ha Noi ~ NanNing.
NEW HCMC / SAIGON >> NHA TRANG SERVICE
Check: < http://188.8.131.52/enver/thugioithieu/index.htm >. Note the promo USD$10 fare has expired.
WAYNE, note that the station for HOI AN is DA NANG. **IF** you are SURE you will only stay only 5 days in Hoi An you can book your Da Nang >> Ha Noi trip as well from SaiGon.
Every rail journey requires a separate ticket - no 'open' tickets.
Hoi An is a 25-kilometre bus trip south of Da Nang.
#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349