hanoi-hue sleeper train

Vietnam is a very extended country and the best way to cover its long distances is traveling by train, both because it’s cheap and to have an interesting cultural insight. In this article we will explain how to get sleeper train tickets from Hanoi to Hue, Central Vietnam.


Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a charming multicultural centre. In the past it has been under several foreign controls including Chinese, French and American, which led to the current melting pot. Living in Da Nang, Vietnam, we had the chance to visit it already a couple of times.

It is easily reachable by plane, bus and train, with the latter being the most fascinating option. Hanoi train station itself was a beautiful French colonial building, before being partially demolished by the American bombs during the Vietnam War.

book sleeper train sapa hanoi
Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hanoi

Following under, some lines to explain how to obtain your train tickets.

There are 3 ways to book a seat on a train in Vietnam:

  1. Book online on the Vietnamese railway website After you choose your seat, date and time, you will have to go yourself to the nearest train station with the e-mail confirmation in order to pay for your ticket in VND cash (unless you have a Vietnamese credit card to proceed with payment online, foreign cards are not accepted). You don’t need to go to the station you are leaving from to collect your tickets, for example we got our tickets from Nha Trang to Da Nang in Dalat station!
  2. Book online on, a very nice and clear website which allows you to use all the main global credit cards. Prices are fair, same as on the Vietnamese one, you will only have to pay a processing fee (around 2$). You will receive your e-ticket to your e-mail, and you will have to show it when you board the train. We used it when we were in Cambodia to buy tickets from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet, it was a very nice surprise, sometimes we can’t even use this simple system back home!
  3. Just head to the train station and buy the ticket that suits you. Most of the employees can speak a basic English which is enough to do the job.

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At Dalat train station


What ticket/bed to buy on a Vietnamese train?

It depends on how long your journey is. Trains in Vietnam are quite slow, which is good both to enjoy the landscapes by day, and to get some sleep at night. If it’s gonna be a 6-hour travel or more, we recommend to do it on a sleeper train overnight. You have these choices:

  • 6-bed compartment with hard beds: they are really hard and thin mattresses. The compartment is quite narrow and crowded, good if you want to chat with other travellers and if you are on a budget (the price is even cheaper if you choose the upper bed), not that good if you are looking for some rest and/or privacy. Normally there’s a fan on the ceiling very close to the upper bed.
  • 4-bed compartment with soft beds: comfortable enough to fulfill their name. Good space, decent mattress. We used this option when we travelled from Nha Trang to Da Nang, got the upper beds, shared the compartment with a very polite Vietnamese family (mum, dad and baby), had a very good sleep, and woke up at 8 am, in time to get ready to step off in Da Nang.

On every coach, there’s a toilet, a pair of sinks with mirrors, basic needs to prepare for the night.


If you have a shorter journey, you can try a very local experience like:

  • hard seat: you will enter a bare coach with nothing but wooden benches on the long sides. Not really comfortable as a sofa, but for a few hours that will do. Very nice experience to see how local people travel everyday. No numbered seats, so get on early to secure a decent spot. Ridiculously cheap, we even got served a snack with a complimentary bottle of water.
  • soft seat: a “normal” train seat as we know it, less crowded coach with numbered seats.


The best way to travel in Vietnam to truly understand the culture is with no doubt by train: entire families use the train as it is the cheaper way. Plus the distances are sometimes very long, for example from Hanoi to Hue it’s almost 700km which is an eternal journey by bus.

On the train you are free to lie down comfortably if you book a sleeper bed ticket, and walk around the several coaches, to appreciate really different life-styles moving from soft seat coaches (comparable to 2nd class) to wooden hard seats (3rd class). And, last but not least, the view from your window will be much more satisfying than watching the clouds from a plane.


The journey from Hanoi to Hue takes 12-14 hours, we strongly recommend to book a sleeper-bed ticket. The best option is to travel by night, leaving in the evening and arriving around lunch time, so you’ll enjoy the view after you wake up in the morning.

Once in the city of Hue, there’s a bunch of activities to do, from visiting the imperial city within the walls to hit the local market along the river. Probably two half days and one night are good enough to make the most of your stay. There are many cheap hostels in Hue that will allow you to meet other fellow travellers, before you continue your trip in Vietnam either southbound or northbound.

Sleeper train Hanoi Hue
Huè imperial city

This should be a good start to plan your train trip, if you have any more doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Enjoy your train trip!

  • The Hanoian Hotel, Hanoi: excellent staff, great location in the Old Quarter, modern rooms and breakfast included;
  • Nexy Hostel: one of the most established hostels in Hanoi, if you are looking for amazing staff and making new freinds, come here!
  • Hue Nino Hotel: great staff, located in the city centre close to riverside, awesome value for money.
  • You can pre-book all your accommodation in Hanoi and Hue, with free cancellation, here.

Apply online for your Vietnam visa here.


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  1. November 18, 2017 / 4:18 am

    Thanks for your post! Approaching among spots by train in Vietnam is time – consuming orr even the cost of soft sleeper can be as expensive as flight ticket off LCCs, but it’s worth experiencing. I love the journey from Hue to Da Nang when it passes Hai Van Pass, the dawn from the ocean and beaches beneath that pass are really amazing.

    • amilliontravels
      November 18, 2017 / 12:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment!
      We would take trains rather than planes all day when travelling in Vietnam! The views are so good that even a 16-hour journey can become pleasant. And Hai Van Pass has a special place in our heart, so many times we rode there by motorbike too 🙂

  2. Rose Thomson
    March 1, 2020 / 4:12 am

    Do you recommend to bring some snacks and water on the train or anything else you can think of ?

    • amilliontravels
      March 1, 2020 / 5:47 am

      Hi Rose,
      nothing in particular really, unless you want to bring some specific food. On the train they will sell snacks and drinks non-stop, they even come by for breakfast with warm rice, eggs, noodles, etc. You may need a scarf or shawl in case you are in an air conditioned carriage, it may be a bit too strong. Bring a good book or simply enjoy the views!

    • Nicola
      July 8, 2023 / 12:16 pm

      We are travelling with a child. (Family of 3) do you know if you book a 4 berth would you be likely to have another person sharing? Thanks

      • amilliontravels
        July 9, 2023 / 10:05 pm

        Hi Nick,
        Thanks for reading our blog post!

        It’s hard to say, it really dependes on different factors: for example time of the year and day of the week will influence how busy the train is.
        My best suggestion would be booking 2-lower berths and 1 upper, it would make it a bit less likely for a solo traveler to choose an upper bed in a full compartment – unless of course it’s one of the last beds available!

        If you really want to have a private space guaranteed for your family, you may want to consider booking all 4-beds, you’d be spending 25% more for your privacy.

        Hope this helps!



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