Travelling Vietnam – by Train

Hanoi – Da Nang on the night train

Recently selected by Lonely Planet as the leading journey among eight of the world’s great train journeys, The Reunification Express departs twice daily from Hanoi and travels the coastline down to Ho Chi Minh City over an incredible 1072 km or two days.

Due to time constraints, we traveled the first half from Hanoi to Danang – a sixteen-hour, one-night trip taking us through beautiful countryside, coastline, villages, and small towns. If you want to experience “real” Vietnam outside your window, this train trip is for you. And yes, to add to the experience value of the journey, this train hurtles through the famous Train Street twice a day in the middle of Hanoi City.

The carriage was not luxurious but certainly comfortable enough for a night’s sleep. To ensure some privacy and space, we opted to buy four berths to have the sleeping carriage to ourselves. It also gave us the added advantage of storage on the top bunks for our luggage.

It is kitted out with single bunks, each made up with sheets, a pillow and a light duvet, a small bedside cabinet with a light and room enough to fit our off-license bottle of wine, paper cups and snacks.

We had bought snacks, not realizing that passengers are provided with a food box of sandwiches, snack bars, and bottles of water. Food trollies also move up and down the carriage at regular intervals. They sell beer, warm buns, packets of snacks, and fruit juices.

There are bathrooms at either end of the carriage, and apart from the minor discomfort of negotiating the rocking and rolling movement of the carriage, they are perfectly adequate and clean.

Our night’s sleep was an experience of a rattling and clacking train carriage running over the tracks and electric doors swishing open to announce the arrival of another round of food for sale. Nonetheless, we felt comfy, safe, and very happy to be sharing in one of the world’s greatest train journeys.

Waking at dawn we were in time to see the sun rise over Vietnamese rice paddy fields, farmers already toiling. For its sheer raw beauty, it was was a sight I will never forget. Then later as we progressed through lush hillsides, tunnels (deep into said hills), and down towards the central Vietnam coastline, we were treated to beautiful vistas. Golden sands, teal blue seas and the greenest tropical forests.

It was exciting to watch the train we were travelling on, (ahead we could see the many carriages in front) snake its way towards our destination; Da Nang.

After this unforgettable adventure, we arrived at our hotel somewhat tired but safe and sound, just in time for a beautifully cooked and presented lunch.

Travelling the Vietnam Reunification Express, one of the top 8 train journeys in the world, was worth every last hour of the sixteen and half it took us to arrive in Da Nang.

Lady Buddha – Da Nang

If you would like to find out more about traveling on the Reunification Line in Vietnam please contact

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