Our first time in Vietnam – of course we wanted to find the Train Street in Hanoi. We’re sharing our experience and also the easiest way to find the exact spot in detail, with Google Maps!
We eventually found the perfect spot by the track and were blown away by how narrow the street actually was. It was mesmerising to see the locals just sat eating and drinking bang in the middle of the track and to even ignore the initial air horns of the oncoming, speeding train in the distance. Yet there we were, hearts pounding and sweating with nerves, waiting for our big moment.
Luke stood on one side of the track, while I stood on the narrower side of the track on the bend. I was standing in front of a small house, almost hut, and wedged myself in front of a small door. The man who’s house it was, was kind enough to come out just before the train was due and wrote down the exact train time for us on the ground with a bit of chalk. He also gestured which direction it would be coming from – he must have seen the confusion on our faces for the last 20 minutes lol!
Just as we heard another air horn from the train as it was just around the bend, the same man tapped me on the shoulder and frantically waved at me to move back, and to practically pin myself against the door or to move to the other side. I decided to stay where I was and move right back.
We were surprised to see the locals scatter only at the very 30 seconds as the headlights shone directly on them! I suppose it’s just second nature to them?
The train approached us and it was A LOT bigger than we thought it was going to be. It was crazy. I was almost breathless as is sped past with no intention of stopping, and seemed like it was never ending! It finally passed and I let out a huge nervous laugh of relief, as did Luke and a couple of other girls nearby.
We gathered with the girls after to share experiences and videos, all of us still so full of excitement and adrenaline! It was incredible.
How to find it EASILY
Train Street is situated parallel to the street Tống Duy Tân. The main and easiest entrance to find the track is via the street Điện Biên Phủ, which is a large busy street where it brings you to a large opening of the track.
A super easy way to find this exact spot you need to be is to Google the “RailwayStation Café Hanoi”, which will take you right to the track (pictured). We’ve put the location on the map below for you!
Here you get the option to follow the track left (South) or right (North) – we opted for the side that looked more confined and intriguing, also with a bend for a great shot of the train coming round the corner (which you can see on our Instagram post). The other side is a straight run which would also be a great shot as you can see the train coming a mile off and have time to enjoy the experience for longer, as well as get more shots!
If you have any more questions regarding this, then please feel free to ask in the comments!
Train timetable – October 2018
Prior to our visit we did the usual deep research on the train times as we didn’t want to miss our photo opportunity, especially given the limited time we had in Hanoi. Several blogs had different versions of train times, so we were left in a bit of a muddle – one said 19:00, another said 19:30, so we decided to get there at 18:45 and wait it out.
A restaurant situated on the track then answered all questions with their own interpretation of the train timetable and who would know better than them? Well apparently, the local man mentioned above! As we anxiously waited for the train, now about 19:10, the kind Vietnamese man wrote down the exact time of 19:14 on the pavement in chalk. He was right! The train whooshed through at exactly 19:14.
The timetable pictured here is probably as accurate you will get, but there’s nothing better than getting there with time to spare and getting advice like we did! It’s also amazing to chill around the locals for a while prior to the train, just to see what their lives are like on the track before, and then after the passing train.
The perfect spot
If you read our experience above, you’ll know the lovely local man helped us big time! We, along with 2 other girls, were very confused as to where to stand and which direction the train would be coming from.
He must have seen 4 tourists looking super confused and felt sorry for us, as he came out of his house to help us. He pointed in the direction the train would be coming from, in which we all let out a sigh of relief and gratitude and thanked him loads! Again, this is probably something you would need to do, as the people that live on the track know best and it’s better to be prepared and safe.
For the 19:14 train we saw, the direction it came from was North, which was just what we’d hoped so we could get a shot of it coming round the bend. I stood on the right and Luke stood on the left, so I was able to get a shot of him as well as the train, but be careful as you have to stand RIGHT back if you stand on the right – I had to practically pin myself up against the building. We presume the direction varies each time so it’s a case of doing some research and/or asking the locals – they’re very friendly and helpful!
We recommend visiting the Train Street on your first day in Hanoi, just in case you miss it the first time round. Plus you’re bound to find out more info when you’re actually there, so it’s best to have an extra day or two for back up in case you need to go back!
We hope this helps you find the Train Street Hanoi, and we’d love to see any photos you have taken! Pop your Instagram/Facebook in the comments below and we’ll give you a follow and check out your pics.
Please also comment below if you have any other updated timetable info as of October 2018 onward, or tips on how to find the Train Street.
Stay safe and enjoy every second of this crazy experience!
Kelly and Luke