Last Updated on 3 years by Tam Le Van
You are looking for something different to get Hue from Hoi An and Da Nang? Hoping on the train is a thing you should think about, due to multiple reasons. And in reality, not less travelers select this as a part of their memorable holiday.
So why train? First of all, the stretch of Vietnam’s railway between Da Nang and Hue offers breath-taking sceneries. Untouched beaches and cliffs at the foot of amazing Hai Van Pass will be shown along the track. Countryside lands are clearly seen, non obstructed instead of just boring houses and towns lining the National highway. If get the another way of transport, you may miss out. On the other hand, train travel is budget-friendly, even cheaper than taking a motorcycle and self-drive. We don’t mention about safety yet (sure, the train is one of the safest vehicles in the country). Life becomes slower after busy days with such awesome things to do in Hoi An. And you get relaxing time for upcoming adventuring trips in Hue.
In this article, Hoi An Life outlines a guide to get from Da Nang and Da Nang by train for you, to have further information about and be informed of experiences from our team. Let us know your thinking in comment below!
History of the Vietnam Railways and the North-South line
The earliest railway is built by French engineers in 1881 to connect Sai Gon (former Ho Chi Minh city) with My Tho. This construction requires about 11.000 local workers, 12 million franc, imported materials and faces many challenges in creating bridge across the Mekong delta. Four years later, it’s completed and started serving first passengers, marking a turning point in Vietnam history of transportation. The best duration could be downed to two hours at the time. Unfortunately, the line no longer exists nowadays.
To speed up the colonization process, a series of lines is constructed across the country that spread out to China border, major sea ports and mountain resorts like Da Lat. Between 1899 and 1936, last parts of North-South line (today known as Duong sat Bac Nam) are officially connected together. This 1m-width single track streches over 1.700 kilometers has not changes a lot until now, still in use and contributing to the economy. After two Vietnams become one in 1975, has another name as the Unification Express.
Long Bien railway bridge over Red river in Hanoi
Train street: An unique experience in Ha Noi
Da Lat train: Reminder of world’s most special railway
This Vietnam’s only tourist train departs from Ga Da Lat railway station to reach Ga Trai Mat station. Total length is seven kilometers that it takes you 60 minutes for a round trip, without the interval at Trai Mat. Spend your time to visit attractions in the surrounding like Chua Linh Phuoc pagoda and do not forget to keep the ticket for returning. The fact that Da Lat-Trai Mat train line is the last reminder to us about a greater 84km-long rack railway between Da Lat and Thap Cham, one of a few of its kind around the world at its period.
Ticket price’s 170.000 VND (7.4 USD) for two-way trip and 150.000 VND (6.5 USD) for one way only from Da Lat center. In addition to, travelers need to purchase an entrance ticket to enter the railway station, 5.000 VND. It is an national art and architectural heritage. Landscapes along the track are also scenic, as same as from Da Nang to Hue.
Pros and cons about train travel in Vietnam
Traveling by train is one of the cheapest way of transport to move across Vietnam. In many times of the year, the rate’s much lower than by bus, not only in comparison with by air. Your little ones will be free of charge if under six years old and between six and ten, have a discount. This makes it also proper to family trips. Seating in the train offers many selections to choose from and in some terms, more comfort.
There is convenient to the next city destination without a flight from another, Da Nang and Hue for example. Many trains stop at small stations where local ways of life is authentic that give us the chance to know more about. Additionally, train travel is great to see scenic landscapes and daily life of people from the window, alongside things on board. Vietnam railways cross picteresque countryside with villages, beautiful mountains, awe-inspiring bays or little peaceful towns. These experiences somehow may be missed if travel with other vehicles. In 2018, famed Lonely Planet voted the North-South line as amid world’s most amazing train journeys.
Quality of train services is just at the acceptable level, do not expect like ones around the European countries or Japan. The main reasons belong to on-going using French-built line from past centuries and no improvements in on-board facilities for a long time. The width of old track is one meter making an inspacious capacity housing for various state-of-art facilities. Furthermore, passengers can not see where they’re, know which station is the next and how long to get it. Just an automated voice annoucement is made. Someone may not make sense and miss the place they should leave, it often happens. Lasty, no wifi available to check out necessary information.
Da Nang-Hue train line: Quick facts
Total length: 103 kilometer
Duration of ride: 3 hours
Year of construction: 1898 to 1906
Stations: Two main stations are Ga Da Nang and Ga Hue. There are ten other local stations including three ones in the Hai Van pass. They’re Kim Lien, Hai Van Nam, Hai Van, Hai Van Bac, Lang Co, Cau Hai, Da Bac, Truoi, Huong Thuy and An Cuu. Long-distance trains only stop at provincial/city stations to save time. By contrast, short-distance trains reschedule to come to local stations one by one to serve residents living around them. Hai Van Pass’s stations are not serviced for passenger transportation.
Tunnels: Seven tunnels, almost in Hai Van pass. The longest tunnel is first one the train going through from Da Nang.
The best times to get train from Da Nang to Hue
Da Nang and Hue, each city has different seasons during the year. While four seasons can be seen in Hue (although not too clear), travelers just need to notice only two when come to Da Nang. So, the dry season in Da Nang definitely lasts longer than its neighbour city. The main reason belongs to the spectacular of Hai Van pass’s range (known as Bach Ma range in geography) that cold winds from the North impossibly get over and create changes in other mountain side. However, both cities have to suffer from damages caused by tropical typhoons around the last months. The most impressive stretch of railway, the Hai Van pass, will be cloudy in the course of this time making it not perfect for train travel. Beautiful sceneries along the line are absolutely blocked.
The best times to get train from Da Nang to Hue is within the dry season, from March to August in Hue and February to September in Da Nang. You should check weather forecast carefully of the departure day before reserve your tickets.
Ga Da Nang railway station: The station for both Da Nang and Hoi An passengers
About Ga Da Nang Railway Station
Ga Da Nang railway station is situated on Hai Phong street in central Thanh Khe district. Historically, it’s built by French in 1905 to complete the North-South rail transport system in the country, with an Indochina colonial architecture style. At the time, its name was the Tourane station. However, over many ups and downs, the original building isn’t seen today anymore. A new and moderner one is established after 1975 in order to serve for the development of unified Vietnam.
Present passenger station of Ga Da Nang has the capacity up to 200 people and is equipped with numerous facilities as well as amenities like food courts, book stores, survenir shops or public telephone. Like many places around the city, the security generally here is nice. In addition to, this major transportation hub also include a goods station what is among largest and busiest one of its kind across the Central coast. According to Da Nang’s authorities, new Da Nang railway station will be constructed in near future to the west of the city center, on dream North-South express line.
History fact: There were two railway stations in Da Nang during French occupation period. The another is at Han Market to cater the high demand of good transportation from traders.
How to get Ga Da Nang Railway Station from Hoi An
Due to city center location, all vehicles are convenient to get from Hoi An to Da Nang railway station. Private car and taxi is proper to traveling with family or group of friends, because they save time, money and offer more comforts than others. Especially during times of unpleasant weather like high-temperatured days or wet months, that would be great. In case of taxi only, just get on it when your ride is charged by an automatic taximeter (commonly by kilometers in Vietnam, around 13.000 VND per each) or the driver agreeing a fixed price for the whole ride. The fare is different between companies and number of seats.
On the other hand, your work is kind of easier when book a private car. Ask your friend who have ever traveled here to know his/her recommendation, if no ideas, searching online in reputable sites will be the best. You should check out past customer reviews prior to make your final decision. Generally, the price of this way of transport offered is not the same from drivers, travel agents and periods in the year. About the time, taxi is available at most hours and you should let private car driver know your arrival time.
If possible, depart from Hoi An early to avoid late coming at the railway station, specially in the weekend or busy time around the late afternoon when all vehicles spilling out into the streets.
get Ga Da Nang Railway Station from Hoi An by bus
Getting the public bus from Hoi An to Da Nang railway station is another popular choice. One of the cheapest way as well. The bus is only one, starts from Ben xe Hoi An station at 5:30 a.m and the last one leave at 5:50 p.m everyday (should come earlier at least 10 minutes to ensure you do not miss). It takes you over an hour to reach the nearest stop on Ong Ich Khiem street, known as “Ong Ich Khiem primary school bus station”. From this point, you need to walk down the South and turn right to get the railway station, 750 meters in total. Ticket price is 20.000 VND (apprx. one USD) same to any locals.
How to get Ga Da Nang Railway Station from Da Nang Airport
Getting a taxi right at the arrival hall or book a Grab car is the finest way to move from Da Nang airport to the railway station, both in its domestic and international terminals. There is often no additional fare to whichever among them you like. In addition to, also suit for carying luggages as well. Private car is rarely selected due to the short distance (nearly 3 kilometers) between these two major transportation hubs.
Boarding at Ga Da Nang Railway Station
Come to the counters when arrive Da Nang railway station and show the booking confirmation to get your reserved tickets. Valid passport is always required, according to regulations of the Vietnam Railway Corporation. As same as for a flight, you are advised being in the station prior to rescheduled departure time early. Local people share that it should be at least one hour. Before get on the coach, you may wait for a while in line at boarding gate for checking ticket and security. Keep your tickets for other checks during the ride.
How to book train tickets to Hue
There is no train station in Hoi An where travelers can come to buy tickets direct. So, booking online and through local tour operators are popular choices, instead of going to Ga Da Nang railway station (nearly 30km away from the town). If choose the second selection, you have to fully purchase the ticket price and may receive the ticket in later days. Ask the operator about how and where you will have it, in the accommodation or in its office. Keep in mind to leave your contacts for getting in touch. In case you stay overnight or have time in Da Nang, just come to the railway station straightaway. Make sure the passport in your bag.
If plan to travel by train from Hoi An and Da Nang to Hue in the weekend, make your reservations early to avoid all tickets sold out. The reason, because of university students and workers aplenty return homecity Hue at the time.
Book train ticket on Vietnam Railway’s webpage
About the first choice, browse the official reservation webpage of the Vietnam Railways via https://dsvn.vn/#/ to search trains from Da Nang to Hue in your prefering day. Then, available ones are shown with clear rescheduled departure time, number of ordered and empty seatings. You should check out your travel itenarery again before make the decision for the best fitted train. Indiviually, each train consists of many coaches where the seating offered not the same. You can find out hard seat and soft seat with/without air-conditioning.
To see beautiful landscapes along the line, book white-colored one and in the right-side. At the same time, know its price and ticket ID for furture checking. Fill your name, object, passport number and personal contacts to finish the confirmation. Eletronic invoices are issued by the Vietnam Railways. Keep in mind that the corporation only accepts card payment from Vietnam domestic banks. However, no worried, you are possible to pay later either at the counters within railway stations or ticket agents.
You have two choices of train: SE and TN. SE is the best because it’s smartest and fastest to get anywhere.
Ticket price and how long it takes from Da Nang to Hue
Train ticket price from Da Nang to Hue stretches from 70.000 VND to 120.000 VND (between around 3 and 5.2 USD), depending on different seating choice. The lowest rate is for hard seats and a small extra fee you will be charged with air-conditioning. Soft seats have a middle-ranged fare, 80.000 VND and 90.000 VND (3.47 USD-3.9 USD) for non air-conditioned and air-conditioned ones respectively. If like to book sleepers, bunk beds are available with a cost of 100 VND to 120.000 VND (4.3 USD-5.2 USD). The pricing for online reservation and buying at the station have no difference, first one highly recommended to international travelers. Keep in mind that as a foreigner, you will pay later instead of purchasing by card when book tickets in the internet. Cash in Vietnam dong is priortized to use. Further information in Vietnam Railways’s booking webpage.
No ticket required for childrens under six years old. Others, between six and ten will buy “children ticket” and over ten, a full purchase as same as an adult.
Train timetable and duration
At the present, there are three trains offering the seating to get from Hoi An and Da Nang to Hue. SE8 arrives Da Nang railway station earliest, at 0:30 in the morning, then to SE6 at 10:35 a.m and lastly, SE4 at 12:56 p.m. Your ride on two first ones on this list is around three hours, while the another runs quicker, 2.5 hours. Meaning that SE8 stops in Hue railway station at 3 a.m and others at 1:35 p.m and 3:30 p.m. During national holidays, summer break of students or New year festival called as Tet, you probably find out more train choices. But tickets will be sold out in a short time there on the other hand.
The train depature time may be delayed due to its late arrival in Da Nang railway station, about thirty minutes maximum.
What to expect during the ride from Da Nang to Hue
On-board facilities and amenities
Seatings and sleepers
Hard seats are arranged in couple, with a shared table and only two window seatings for each. On the other hand, every row of soft seat has its private table where you can put waters and foods to eat. Duration of train from Da Nang to Hue is around three hours, get the seating you feel comfortable to sit on. Sleepers are classified the same, hard and soft as well as with and without air-conditioning. A room contains four sleepers that spacious enough to put your luggages.
Both western and squat toilets are in the couches of Vietnam Railways’s train. At sometimes, paper is not available so you should bring your own one to use when needed.
Foods and drinks
You may see carts selling drinks and foods like rice, banh mi sandwiches, snacks, instant noodles in hours for basic meals, commonly. If do not see any staffs to ask about this service, go to the first or last coach to buy. That’s more proactive.
Each couple of seatings, you can find a table to enjoy your prepared foods.
The Hai Van Pass: The best stretch of train line
Thanks to the location where high rock-formed mountains meet the sea, Hai Van pass has an amazing and untouched shoreline. It’s voted as one of the most impressive coastal one throughout the South-east Asia. Hill slopes are home of lush trees and flowers as well as rich animal diversity. Between cliffs, there are small uninhabited sandy beaches what you will see one by one from train window. Their white color with green, brown, blue from others together create a vivid mosaiced landscape. In addition to, change of light from light to dark in tunnels and vice versa make traveler’s experience more stunning. Over one hour of crawling along Hai Van pass coast quickly flies.
Ga Hue railway station
About Ga Hue Railway Station
Ga Hue Railway Station is constructed in 1908 by French, three years later than its friend in Da Nang. Today it contains a passenger hall where ticket counters stand, goods station, office of the management board, parkings and nearby accommodations&local restaurants. Generally, its current architecture still reminds the style of the pre-existed one, a mixture between western and traditional Vietnamese elements. You can find some similarities to Quoc Hoc Hue high school close by. Transporting people in and out from Hue railway station just has been in usual since Vietnam unified. Previously, mainly serves for military purpose because near the DMZ area.
In the history, emperors of Nguyen dynasty started their trip from here to other countries. Either an expulsion forced by Indochina Federation rulers or travel for diplomacy, for example 12th king Khai Dinh to France in 1922. In modern times, this also luckily welcomes world-famous persons within their visit to Hue such as Charlie Chaplin or Andre Malraux.
How to get from Hue Railway Station to my hotel
If the distance from Ga Hue Railway Station to your accommodation is not too far, taxi or Grab car is the most convenient vehicle. Taxi fare is around 13.000 VND for each kilometer, so you should compare its total payment to private car rental, select a better deal. Cyclo and motorcycle drivers are often around and happy to take you to the hotel. No fixed price for these kind of transport. You are advised making sense how much entire ride costs before get on any and experience Hue in a different way. There is also awesome if you like to walk on the other hand. The city boasts of immense green parks, flower gardens, hictoric buildings, calm atmosphere and laid-back lifestyle. Nothing more needed for a walking time.
How to get from Hue Railway Station to the Imperial City
Taxi and traditional motorcycle Xe om are usually around Hue Railway Station to get a ride to your hotel for leaving the luggages before visit the Imperial City. Once again, make sense the price. If like to go straight there, you can put them in the ticket counter. Keep in mind to return prior to its closing time. You should bring personal valuable belonggings in another bag and carry it until get back. It takes you about ten minutes to move from the station to the Imperial City. Browse our article for a complete guide to this Hue’s must-see attraction.
Bach Ho railway bridge over the Perfume river
Accommodation in Ga Hue Railway Station for early and late arrivals
For a cheap stay, guest houses and accommodations offering dormitory bed are numerous in Ga Hue Railway Station’s surrounding. There are a wide range of hotels in nearby Vinh Ninh that in walking distance as well. You should let your place to sleep overnight know the time you may arrive, to avoid disappointings and probably, to see your room as quick as possible to relax.
Accommodations near stations in Vietnam often offer prices higher then common in the late night or early morning. Booking online to have better deals.