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Overnight Train Adventure In Vietnam ☆ Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An

January 19, 2011



We took an overnight train from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, the 3rd largest city in Vietnam in Central Vietnam. Then, we got on a shuttle bus we ordered from the hotel to go to Hoi An, the city on the coast of the South China Sea where we stayed for 3 nights.

Why we took the train? We thought that it would be fun. I have never taken an overnight train in my life and never backpacked, so I had this fantasy about doing something adventurous and different from an ordinary trip.

Taking a flight would be between US$50 to $70. Taking this overnight train was US$48 per person. It wasn’t much cheaper, but since it was overnight train, we didn’t have to pay for a hotel one night. We are talking about saving one night stay at a hotel, which was about US$90.

Do I think it was worth trying? Totally. I definitely enjoyed the scenic route. It was a smooth ride, but compared to Shinkansen I’m familiar with in Japan, it was louder and did sway a little more. I didn’t want to sleep and wanted to enjoy every moment I was on the train. I think I was pondering too much, because, to tell you the truth, this thought of what if this train had an accident crossed my mind. Then, I told myself that we were already on the train, so I just had to relax and sleep. I did. I slept pretty well.

The train staff changes the sheets, blanket and pillows every time passengers change. I know this since one employee came to drop off a new set of sheets, blanket and pillows as we were waiting to get off. I thought that the ride was comfortable. I definitely slept better than sleeping on the airplane. The bed was a bit short for my husband, so he didn’t sleep as well as the rest of us did.

Do I recommend this if people ask me? Yes, definitely.

Tickets for the train

We booked our tickets in Ho Chi Minh City through a tour agent called SAGOTOUR (see below). We first asked our hotel receptioniest, but because we wanted to travel around Vietnamese New Year, the hotel staff could not help us find tickets, so we went to a tourist agent.

SAGOTOUR

SATOGOUR near Asian Rubi 3 Hotel where we stayed is a branch office on Pham Ngu Lao, SAGOTOUR. The people who helped us at this location were very personable and friendly. The guy in the photo below speaks English very well which was helpful. Initially we were looking for a tourist agent to book our train tickets to go to Hoi An. Then we saw their ad for a Mekong Delta Tour. Since we liked the people there and their price was much less than the price we saw at our hotel, we chose their tour. I imagine that the price at the hotel was more because of the commission you’ll be paying to the hotel. I recommend booking a Mekong Delta Tour through a travel agent as it is very easy to find one, but if you stay at a place where you don’t find any tour agent around you, then you can book a tour through your hotel, I’m sure.

SAGOTOUR
221 Pham Ngu Lao, Dist. 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (84-8) 39203479 – 38385557
Fax: (84-8) 39203480 – 38385556
Email: sagotour171@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.sagotour.com

*84 is a country code for Vietnam when calling from outside of Vietnam.

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2011 8:25 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun! I would want to try this train ride when the little ones are little older!

  2. January 20, 2011 1:56 am

    Hi Kaho, I love the pictures especially the one of the green fields! Did you get motion sickness? Would you recommend to someone like me who gets motion sickness easily? Was the train clean?

    • January 20, 2011 3:32 am

      I didn’t get motion sickness and I used to get motion sickness on a car ride. The train was relatively speaking clean, but the bathrooms were not. I recommend this trip to anyone except for those who have germ phobia!!

  3. January 20, 2011 3:04 am

    wow, that is ALOT of sightseeing. It must be a great joy travelling with your daughters, they seemed so flexible and adventurous.
    Looks like you have covered 70-80% of Vietnam!

    Good info for my future travels IF i’m back in South-East Asia sometime :)

    • January 20, 2011 3:34 am

      We did a lot! It was so fun to share the experiences with our girls. It’s harder to travel with them, but this time it felt easier than ever! We definitely want to go back to Vietnam sometime in the future. I missed a couple of places and also would love to do some more shopping.

  4. January 20, 2011 3:49 am

    It looks like an amazing experience. I love overnight trains – though I haven’t taken many. I think more may be in order.
    The food looks so delicious!

  5. January 20, 2011 3:50 am

    I think I took an overnight train once in the US somewhere, but I have no recollection of it! I know there’s a lot that I could do around here but I haven’t even looked in to it yet. It sounds like it is the way to travel though because I hate flying and I hate wasting daytime hours! The food also looks amazing, I’m so jealous of your awesome trip!

  6. January 20, 2011 6:54 am

    thanks for sharing and posting such nice photos!! will be going to saigon in march, do you think it is worth spending five days in saigon?

    • January 20, 2011 7:13 am

      Thanks for the comment, Anny! I think so!! There is a lot to see. We missed a couple of sites that are very interesting i.e. War Museum, which wasn’t probably good for our kids, but great for you to see and the tunnel. We could’ve done more shopping. You can even try the two day trip to Mekong Delta, which I think you’ll love!

    • January 20, 2011 9:09 am

      Thanks Kaho, I will definitely consider the two-day Mekong Delta tour. I have been reading through your posts, and really enjoyed them!! Will visit you often ;)

  7. January 22, 2011 1:32 pm

    Kaho, I admire your adventurous sprint! and your family’s as well.

    (I have missed many of your posts due to lack of internet, and I have missed a lot, from your photography gig to your youngest daughter getting her haircut. so I will be commenting as I continue reading.. )

    I finally made time and put all my recipes on one page! thank your for the suggestion, I guess I never thought about it, so great idea my friend.

  8. January 24, 2011 12:03 pm

    What a great adventure!!

    Do you like the jackfruit chip? You can also find jackfruit chip in Malang, East Java Indonesia and Bali. :D

  9. Lisa permalink
    September 21, 2011 10:26 am

    Hi! Who did you book this through? Looks like a great way to travel!

  10. January 14, 2013 5:26 am

    Hi, Looks awesome! We are considering the train from HCMC to Da Nang. What time did you arrive in Da Nang? We took an overnight train in Thailand, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and arrived about 5 hours behind schedule! Did you experience any such delay on your trip?

    • January 14, 2013 6:00 am

      Surprisingly we did not have any delay, but I imagine that the train in Thailand is nicer. We left HCMC around 11:00 pm if I remember correctly and arrived in Da Nang around 1:00 pm I want to say, but my memory is quite blurry since it’s been two years.

  11. April 5, 2013 3:45 pm

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going
    to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

    • April 6, 2013 7:43 am

      Awww. You are so sweet!!! I am not a famous blogger. Not even close. I am, however, very flattered to receive your comment and it means the world to me. Thank you!!!

  12. November 5, 2013 9:15 am

    what train is this? I’ve read there are VIP trains, SE, and all that…

    • November 5, 2013 10:55 am

      We took a train on reunification line. We just went to the travel agent I listed on my blog post here and asked for an overnight train and this came to us. We didn’t ask for any specifics and we got that. Tickets were cheap. VIP trains sounds nice, but ours was definitely not that one! I hope this helped! Good luck!

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