Visit Hanoi’s Train Street: Tips and inspiration for a trip to Vietnam

Hanoi’s Train Street photos and videos are world-famous, in which shop owners, pub owners and residents, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, put their belongings away to allow a train to pass through the narrow, busy street. In Hanoi, however, that is simply the most normal thing in the world. And with that, Hanoi’s Train Street is also one of the most obscure yet interesting places to visit in the city!

At first glance, Hanoi’s Train Street is a street like any other in Vietnam. There is a lively atmosphere, people cook in front of their door, the laundry is hung outside, merchants promote their wares and many things are transported by bicycle and moped. However, several times a day this street turns into a place where tourists gather to see what makes this street so special: the train that races right through this narrow passage.

Hanoi's Train Street before Oct 2019

Hanoi’s Train Street before Oct 2019

Where can you find Hanoi’s Train Street?

Although Hanoi’s Train Street itself is not difficult to find, it does take some preparation to see the train passing through this narrow passage. Moreover, the most interesting part is the part where the locals routinely store their belongings in order for the train to pass. Finding the right place on time is therefore a must! There are two good spots to view the train from.

Hanoi Old Quarter: This can be found at the intersection of ‘Trần Phú’ and ‘Ly Nam De’. Fortunately, this time too Google Maps makes our lives a lot easier, and by just searching there for ‘Train Street’, you will also be able to find the infamous location.

Le Duan Street: This location is a little further from the center and can be found between Le Duan and Kham Thien. To find it on Google Maps you can enter Ngo 224 Le Duan on Google Maps.

The Old Quarter Hanoi is also bursting with cafes from which to admire the train. With le Duan it is slightly less, but the effect remains beautiful. In addition, there are of course many more places in the city where the train goes through narrow streets, but usually the further from the old quarter, the less the effect.

Because the street goes right through the old town, it is easy to walk. Moreover, it is bursting with cozy shops, cafes and interesting street life, so you can easily spend an afternoon there before actually spotting the train!

Local daily life on Hanoi's train street

Local daily life on Hanoi’s train street – photo credit Rondreizen Vietnam

Hanoi Train Street Timetable: When can you see the train?

Perhaps the biggest challenge is to spot the train at the right time. In that regard, there is absolutely no guarantee and you may be disappointed the first time.

For Le Duan you can assume that the train will pass through the street around 15.30 and around 19.30. Because it is already dark around 7.30 pm, the 3:30 am train is the most popular option. Make sure you are there on time and can get a nice place for photos and videos. It is also nice to know for sure that you are on time, because the timetable is not always very precise.

The times for the section through the Old Quarter are slightly different. Roughly speaking, you can rest assured that the train will run around these times:

  • Monday to Friday: 19:00, 19:45, 21:30, 22:00
  • Saturday and Sunday: 6:00, 9:00, 11:20, 15:20, 17:30, 18:00, 19:00, 19:45, 20:30, 21:00, 23:00

This Hanoi train street timetable is listed at a cafe along train street in the Old Quarter. However, there is never a guarantee that the train will actually come. There are also quite a few driving while it is already dark, so keep that in mind. The inhabitants almost always know when the train will or will not come, so always ask on the spot whether the train is running today, that can save a lot of waiting.

We were very unlucky and despite being ready in the street twice on time, we could not see a train passing. Apparently the train around 3.20 pm is one that often breaks down. On the street, however, people seemed to know that perfectly well, so that saved us quite a lot of time the second time. Fortunately, the street life is still lively enough to admire, and there are always cafes where you can settle down for a delicious Vietnamese coffee.

Is it safe to visit Hanoi’s Train Street?

The answer is yes, provided you use your common sense of course. It’s part of the daily life of the residents here, they know exactly when the train will come and get rid of all the stuff. Despite the street being narrow, there is plenty of space to stand along the side. The most important thing to remember is that the train cannot stop, so it will always continue.

Hanoi shut down its 'Train Street' cafes because they were overrun with selfie-taking tourists

Hanoi shut down its ‘Train Street’ cafes because they were overrun with selfie-taking tourists (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

But in October 2019, Hanoi shut down its Instagram-famous ‘Hanoi Train Streetcafes because they were overrun with selfie-taking tourists. We hope that the train street will be reopened to serve tourists after the Covid-19 epidemic.

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