Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

any tips - taking the train Saigon to Hanoi??

Posted by msk100 on 13/4/2008 at 07:23

are travelling with 2 kids in early July and havent bought tickets yet for this journey. anyone got any tips as to where we should buy our tickets from and tips for the journey,
thanks x

#1 msk100 has been a member since 13/4/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by CatBa on 13/4/2008 at 15:45

Posted from within Vietnam.

For an adult this trip, by road or rail, tests a persons sanity with, or for children, it must be terrible!

Lets examine a typical south to north journey. (BTW, it is better to travel the other way and Tiger has discount flights to Ha Noi).

Start Finish Time Method
HCMC Mui Ne 7 hours Bus
OR
HCMC Da Lat 6 hours Bus
OR
HCMC Nha Trang 9 hours Rail
----
Mui Ne Nha Trang 6 hours Bus
OR
Da Lat Nha Trang 6 hours Bus
----
Nha Trang Hoi An 12 hours Bus
----
Hoi An Hue 4 hours Bus
----
Hue Ha Noi 12 hours Bus
OR
Hue Ha Noi 12 hours Rail
----
(NOTE: To view columns easily copy table to Notepad)

Having lived here for 16 years and traveled this route many times by road, rail and air and like the rail system, which has a maximum speed of 70 kph. It is little different in speed from road.

I suggest you mix rail and road to maximise interest and minimise costs.

Road to Da Lat takes you through urban HCMC into the tea / coffee areas of VN ending up in the vegetable garden of southern VN at Da Lat.

The alternative takes you through urban HCMC followed by villages and towns until you hit the coast at Phan Thiet and after an hour you end up in Mui Ne - sand dunes and sea.

Da Lat / Nha Trang is either a breathtaking drop of some 4,500 feet to the coast and and hour along the coast to Nha Trang for a total trip time of 5 hours

OR

A 2 hour journey along the new inland highway that links Da Lat to Nha Trang.

The Mui Ne / Nha Trang is a 6 hour bus journey which is a mix of coast and inland and quite boring.

Without a doubt the Nha Trang / Hoi An (rail to Da Nang then taxi / bus to Hoi An) is best by rail as you can catch a train that arrives early in the day and in so doing you get to sleep fitfully in a soft-sleeper cabin at a price / time comparable to the bus + hotel. IF you travel overnight by bus, don't expect to sleep much!

The reason for the Da Nang / Hoi An bus route, after a rail journey, is because the rail line bypasses Hoi An. This is also the reason NOT to use rail to Hue because of the added time of this part of the route.

Once again rail is my / the choice due to the overnight sleep option.

RAIL
- Soft-sleepers come in 4 berth (hard in 6-berth)
- Requires 2/3 day ADVANCE reservations (and individual tickets for EACH segment of the journey)
- Ability to sleep, walk around (your children will no doubt enjoy visiting hard seat class!)
- Snack packs supplied 3 times daily

BUS
- Standard seats (except in 'sleeper' buses) in reconditioned Korean buses
- 24 hour advance reservations (and individual tickets for EACH segment of the journey)
- Food stops at restaurants who pay off the drivers
- Terrible unskilled drivers

Exception: Sinh and Mei Linh have better drivers and Mei Linh has NEW buses. Other OpenTour bus operators have poorly maintained equipment and worn tires!

Mai Linh (HCMC)(08)-929-2929; Sinh (HCMC) (08)-836-7338; VietNam Rail / Duong Sat (08)-843-6524 < http://www.vr.com.vn/english/index.html >

Happy travels

#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349


Posted by somtam2000 on 14/4/2008 at 08:08 admin

We just added a story regarding Vietnam Railways -- may be of use

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,706
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