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Hanoi's Train Street: Tips on Visiting the Hanoi Train Street

What to know before visiting the Hanoi Train Street

· 3 min read

In recent years, the Hanoi Train Street has grown in popularity as a tourist destination for those visiting Hanoi. This narrow street, located right next to Hanoi's Old Quarters, has gained popularity for its vibrant atmosphere. In addition to the abundance of photo opportunities, many visitors also visit the Train Street for the experience of watch trains pass by from a very close proximity.

Source: VNA

Why do people go to the Hanoi Train Street?

The Hanoi Train Street is a narrow stretch of street — the most narrow stretch of the railway in Hanoi. What sets Hanoi Train Street apart is the fact that life unfolds mere inches from the railway tracks.

Houses stand literally just a meter away from the tracks. And with trains passing by their backyards multiple times each day, residents have adapted to the ebb and flow of the trains.

Source: Shyamal

The railway, lined with colourful houses and shops, provide a vibrant backdrop and many opportunities for insta-worthy photos. For tourists seeking a different experience, the Hanoi Train Street is very attractive — after all, it is not everyday that you get a chance to witness a train pass by from such a close distance.

With the rise in popularity of the Hanoi Train Street and the influx of tourists in recent years, many cafes have also started to sprout out along the train street, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of the street. Of course, this also means that you can expect some of these cafes to be tourist traps.

What you need to know about visiting the Hanoi Train Street

Due to the influx of visitors, concerns have been raised surrounding the safety of visitors and residents alike. Local authorities have expressed an intention to shut down the train street - and officially, it is closed.

Source: Rod Waddington

However, it is actually still possible to visit the train street. If you are planning to visit the Hanoi Train Street, there are a few things that you should take note of:

  • You will see local police (some of them might not be real) patrolling the entrance and keeping visitors out. The police can sometimes get physical, so it is best to avoid direct confrontation with them.
  • The best way to visit the Hanoi Train Street is to make a reservation with one of the cafes along the street. With a reservation, the owners of the cafe will pick you up at the entrance and invite you into the train street. It is important to note that entry hours to the train street could be restricted, so make sure to double check with the cafe when planning your visit.
  • If you are visiting without a reservation, be prepared that there will be a lot of cafe owners trying to get you to enter their shops. They could get pretty pushy, so be sure to stand your ground!
  • If you are planning to catch a passing train, be sure to check the train schedules! Plan to arrive at least half an hour before the train timing, so that you have ample time to secure a seat. If there is a train that is about to pass entrance to the train street will be restricted.
  • When the train is about to pass, be sure to follow the safety procedures and protocol and clear the tracks!
  • Although the train street at the Old Quarters is the most popular stretch, for a better experience with less patrolling, less crowds, and a generally friendlier vibe, consider going to the one further South on Ngo 224 Le Duan.

If sorting out the logistics and trying to plan for a visit to the train street sounds like too much of a trouble, you can also consider joining a tour. Most half-day walking street food tours in Hanoi include a visit to the train street (with a reservation at one of the cafes). Here are some tours we have found for you:

Hanoi Train Street Train Schedules

The train schedules can usually be found in the cafes along the train street. It is best to check for updates in train schedules before visiting - you can check with the cafe you are making a reservation for the latest timetables.

As a guideline, here are the train schedules as of January 2024:

Train times through Old Quarters Section

  • 9:20 AM, 11:35 AM, 3:20 PM, 5:30 PM (on weekends), 6:20 PM (on weekends), 7:15 PM, 8:20 PM, 9:10 PM, 9:40 PM, 10 PM

Train times through Le Duan Section

  • 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM

If you are looking for recommendations for cafes along the train street where you can make a reservation for, here are some of the most highly rated cafes that we have found: