A unique residential railway
An extremely interesting street, called “the train street”, came to our eyes during one of our random walks through the maze of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This street is unique due to its positioning between residential buildings, and the daily life of people living there. On the never-ending train track you can find barbecue, laundry, toys and babies playing. The internal clock of the people living there is so well adjusted, that minutes before the train arrives everyone is outside to pick up all their belongings, and make room for the slowly arriving train.
The railway tracks occupy the entirety of the width of the so called “train street”. The train passed daily next to the windows of the residents since the train is the connection between the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi and Saigon or Ho Chi Minh city in the south of the country.
Train street location
Regarding the means of transportation, we personally walked there from the center of Hanoi, but a tuk-tuk can also be useful. We saw many tourists sharing the tuk-tuks in order to get there, so feel free to find your own means of transportation.
``The train station`` coffee shop
We arrived around 16:30 with the hope of getting a glimpse of the daily life of the people living near these tracks. We were pleasantly surprised with a lively atmosphere, cheerful children and a very good coffee with egg (glad you asked: yes, it was good!). On our surprise list was also the fact that the next train will arrive in one hour. It did not take long for us to decide to wait for this at the nearest coffee-shop called (as you may have guessed) “The Train Station”, which is actually located on the train line.
The train experience
The cherry on the cake was actually the arrival of the train, which was definitely not on time, but hey – we are on holiday – can’t complain about that. As the train was slowly arriving, everyone on the track lines stepped back, getting closer and closer to the wall as the 200 tonnes locomotive was approaching. I really did not imagine the train would be so big and so close to the walls, but yes it was, even centimeters separating the stored motorbikes from the train ladders. It was definitely an experience!
I think it is time you check out the filming of this experience, it might speak more than my bla bla…
Frequently asked questions
Where is the train street track located?
Answer: Open Google Maps and search for “Alte Gleise Hanoi“.
Tip: We truly recommend you to wander around the streets adjacent the rail track since there are plenty of markets and it is abundant with local life. People of Hanoi are super friendly if you smile to them.
What is the schedule of trains that pass the train street?
Answer: The schedule of trains running the famous railway is:
- daily at 3 pm;
- irregularly 5 pm (you can check Vietnam Railways for the specific schedule of that day. Look for the schedule of the train that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city.);
- daily at 7 pm.
Is the train passing during the weekend also?
Answer: Yes, the train runs during the weekend also, 3pm, 7pm, and occasionally 5pm.
Is it worth visiting the Hanoi train street?
Answer: Definitely, since it is still a hidden gem of Hanoi. You will get to experience something unique when the train passes through the narrow train tracks. I would rate this in top 5 attractions to visit in Vietnam.
Is the train always on time?
Answer: Not necessarily. The train seems to run 5 min. to 30 min. late depending on the hour you get there to see it. From our personal experience, a 15 minute delay is usually expected. Anyway, you will hear it when its about to come since the whole street freezes. Don’t forget the train passes quite fast, so make sure to find a good spot in advance.