Mary Ann Issac
Train Street, Hanoi- Your ultimate guide!
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Tourists gather in this narrow street in Hanoi every day around 3pm and 7pm awaiting a rumble in the tracks and a faint honking in the distance. What was till then a street not very different from those of the Old Quarter, save the train tracks running through it, suddenly is abuzz, with residents running into their homes, and tourists gathering at the tracks to see the train rush past them.
Train Street is a must visit when in Hanoi, and over recent years, courtesy of social media, it is now a popular tourist spot. The train traverses this street twice a day, and at both times, the street is crowded with tourists.
What to do at Train street
The residents have capitalised on the recent boom in tourism on their street, and a slew of cafes have opened up beside the train tracks. Sit at a cafe with coffee, or some local beer ( it can be of great help on a really hot day :p) until it’s time for the train to arrive. Or after the frenzy of the train has passed, relax for a little bit in the sudden quiet of the area. Watch the locals come back to the tracks with their board games, chatter, & children with their football & badminton rackets!
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Daily at 3.30 & 7.30 PM.
When should you reach Train Street
It is advisable to get here at least half an hour earlier to find the right spot for photographing the train as it passes by. Walk up the street, check out the cafes if you are there early, and find a cozy spot to wait for the train to arrive. Closer to the time of the trains arrival the street will get crowded with eager tourists, so it is advisable to get there early to grab the best vantage point.
Where is the train going
The train is going south to Hue & Hoi An. There is another train that goes all the way to Ho chi Minh that passes through this street as well, but it isn’t regular. But, in case you miss the regular trains, it is worth checking the train timetable to see this one pass through. The Ho Chi Minh train passes by here around 5PM.
What is the best time to visit?
Make it here for the 3.30PM train, as there is good lighting for photographs, by evening, it will be difficult to get good photos. But if you are one of the rare few who doesn’t bother about pictures, & just wants to experience the passing of the train through this narrow street, then go ahead & visit at 7.30 PM!
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How long should you plan to be at Train Street
Do get here at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time of the train. (for reasons mentioned above) There is a chance that the train will be late, or once in a blue moon it could be a little early as well. For me, the train was delayed 15-20 minutes. So it is best you come here when you are not in a hurry.
Take pictures once the train has passed, & after most people have left, to make it look like you have the place to yourself!
Where is Train Street
It is located between Le Duan & Kham Tien Street in the Old Quarter; the exact lane is Ngo 224 Le Duan.
How to get there
I walked from Hoan Kiem lake, & it took me about 30-40 minutes, it is a nice way to explore parts of town you wouldn’t otherwise venture into.
It is much easier to get a ‘Grab’ ( the Vietnamese equivalent to Uber), there is a Grab for both 4 wheelers & 2 wheelers!
Don’t be fooled at how close the train actually comes to the walls of the buildings you are standing next to. At some parts of the street, there is barely a couple of inches between the train and the wall! I was foolishly standing extremely close to the tracks to get good photographs, & I moved away just in time!
Do check out the video I was recording to see what I mean! ( Please be more careful than I was!-it's on the highlights reel on my Instagram-click on the picture below to go to my Instagram page. )
Hope you have a great time experiencing this rather offbeat experience in Hanoi!
Leave me a comment & let me know your thoughts!