Hanoi’s main Train Street (Old Quarter section) is not (always) open to the public. But there is another section of the line which is open without restrictions, you just need to go a bit further South.
Find all that you need to know below in this post.
What is Hanoi’s Train Street?
It is simply a very unsafe but picturesque street where Vietnam’s main train line passes. The line connects Ho Chi Min City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi.
There is a super narrow space between the train and the sidewalk and houses on both sides, so there are plenty of bars and coffee shops where people wait from the train and take pictures.
It has become one of Hanoi’s top attractions.
How to see Hanoi’s Train Street? Is it open?
We were there on April 2023, and the main Train Street which is the one you find in Google and most blogs, was closed (see this article, for instance). There were police/guards at all entries stopping people, so we could only take a picture from the distance.
However; we heard that if you book a table in one of the coffee shops/bars or a private tour, you should be able to get in. But the reality is that we were there an hour before the evening train and no people were let in.
But there is a much better alternative which is also offered by some taxis outside the street. Further South there is another section (Le Duan) of the street which is always open with no restrictions and there are almost no tourists. It is located west of Hoan Kiem Lake, between Trần Phú and Điện Biên Phủ.
It is precisely 22 minutes away from the main street. We went there and sit in Hanoi 1990s, a great place where a lady invited us and provided a great service, even charging our phones. The map below shows the route from one street to the other.
There are also many pubs/coffee shops in that street, and we also noticed a few private tours taking people there, most of them to reserved tables in Hanoi 1990s.
When to see the train?
The train passes at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm one way, and 15-20 minutes afterwards in the opposite direction.
If you managed to go to the Old Quarter section, the full timetable is the following:
- Weekdays: 7pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 10pm
- Weekends: 9.15am, 11.20am, 3.20pm, 5.30pm, 6pm, 7pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 9pm, 11pm
Creating a souvenir for (almost) free
The lady in Hanoi 1990s taught us a valuable trick. you can leave the beer top on top of the train tracks before the train passes. Once the train has gone, you can collect your flat beer top souvenir to take home.
This is very fun and almost free, as you may need to pay for the beer. Is it safe? I am not sure, but none of this is.