Vietnam Sleeper Train: Top Tips For Surviving [2024]

Find out all about taking a Vietnam sleeper train. Let’s talk about whether it is worth it, how to book, tips to survive, different berth types, my journeys, and what to expect on your sleeper train Vietnam!

If you are planning to travel around Vietnam then you have no doubt thought about taking a Vietnam sleeper train. Nearly covering the length of the country, a sleeper train in Vietnam is an excellent way to travel from point A to point B.

We nearly used them all through our backpacking Vietnam adventure. Though we were limited to where the train goes so had to take a couple of sleeper buses. We thoroughly enjoyed taking a sleeper train around Vietnam. Though I have certainly seen and heard of some crazy horror stories.

Personally, our horror stories went the opposite way, they were on the sleeper buses. So, ultimately that’s why we decided to take a sleeper train in Vietnam wherever possible. This is the more expensive option, but for the sake of our sanity, we decided it would be worth it.

It wasn’t an easy decision to come to. However, after much research, scary TripAdvisor reviews, and overanalyzing blog posts we took the plunge and purchased a train ticket using the Baolau online ticketing services.

So read on to find out everything you need to know about taking a Vietnam sleeper train. This includes what to expect, how comfortable it is, booking a sleeper train in Vietnam, costs, berth types, and more.

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia

How To Book A Vietnam Sleeper Train

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to book a sleeper train in Vietnam. It used to be a bit more complicated back in the day. Though with the advancement of technology, it has now become a painless experience.

Buy Tickets Online: You can now purchase tickets online. It is a bit confusing as some websites still say you need to print out your ticket and swap it at the train station. Though no one wants to be stuck doing this! As a result, I booked all of my train journeys in Vietnam with Baolau. Their website says you don’t need to print off the ticket and instead just show it ticket on your phone to the attendant on the train.

This is what I did and never once had an issue. Though being a third-party agent there is a small additional fee built into the ticket cost, this is way easier and cheaper than having to go to the train station! I often use 12.Go Asia in other parts of Asia, but not in Vietnam for the above reason.

Buy Tickets From Vietnam Railways: Another option is buying your tickets directly with Vietnam Railways. You often can’t find the cheaper hard/soft seater tickets available on third-party websites as they are not a popular choice for travelers. Though if you are on a budget you can book directly with Vietnam Railways. Just make sure you use the Vietnam Railways legit website as there are plenty of knockoffs floating around. Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets at your nearest train station. You will find the tickets are slightly cheaper when you purchase directly because there isn’t a third party involved in marking up their share for processing the ticket.

Vietnam sleeper train passing through a tight urban alley in Hanoi, showcasing the unique integration of railway and city life.
crazy views of the vietnam trains through the streets of hanoi
Railway tracks paving the way to a stationary Vietnam first-class sleeper train awaiting departure at a serene platform.
vietnam sleeper train on railway tracks

Where To Take The Sleeper Train In Vietnam

Apart from operating the route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City the sleeper trains in Vietnam also travel to many other parts of the country which can be seen on the map below.

Though to keep this post relatively short we will be concentrating on The Reunification Express which is the route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa.

Map of the Vietnam sleeper train network highlighting key routes and stations for travelers planning an overnight journey.
map of the train route in vietnam

The Reunification Express (Hanoi To Ho Chi Minh And Vice Versa

The following is the timetable from Hanoi To Ho Chi Minh City and the stops it makes along the way:

Southbound Timetable Departing Hanoi 2024

CitySE3 TrainSE1 TrainSE7 TrainSE5 TrainSE21 TrainSNT1 Train
Hanoi19:20 (day 1)22:00 (day 1)06:10 (day 1)15:30 (day 1)
Ninh Binh21:39 (day 1)00:13 (day 2)08:30 (day 1)17:51 (day 1)
Thanh Hoa22:50 (day 1)01:16 (day 2)09:47 (day 1)19:07 (day 1)
Vinh01:22 (day 2)03:38 (day 2)12:21 (day 1)21:42 (day 1)
Dong Hoi05:33 (day 2)07:55 (day 2)16:47 (day 1)02:31 (day 2)
Hue08:26 (day 2)10:45 (day 2)20:11 (day 1)05:30 (day 2)
Da Nang11:08 (day 2)13:23 (day 2)22:52 (day 1)08:27 (day 2)08:05 (day 1)
Quang Ngai14:21 (day 2)16:10 (day 2)02:01 (day 2)12:14 (day 2)11:10 (day 1)
Dieu Tri17:34 (day 2)19:03 (day 2)05:13 (day 2)15:29 (day 2)14:36 (day 1)
Nha Trang21:31 (day 2)22:52 (day 2)09:54 (day 2)19:40 (day 2)19:03 (day 1)20:05 (day 1)
Binh Thuan01:57 (day 3)03:05 (day 3)14:17 (day 2)00:23 (day 3)23:39 (day 1)
Ho Chi Minh City05:40 (day 3)06:30 (day 3)17:58 (day 2)04:25 (day 3)04:00 (day 2)05:00 (day 2)

The following is the timetable from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and the stops it makes along the way:

Northbound Timetable Departing Ho Chi Minh City 2024

CitySE4 TrainSE2 TrainSE8 TrainSE6 TrainSE 22 TrainSNT 2 Train
Ho Chi Minh City19:00 (day 1)20:55 (day 1)06:45 (day 1)15:30 (day 1)11:00 (day 1)20:00 (day 1)
Binh Thuan22:37 (day 1)00:26 (day 2)10:27 (day 1)19:24 (day 1)15:02 (day 1)
Nha Trang02:32 (day 2)04:22 (day 2)14:25 (day 1)23:39 (day 2)19:34 (day 1)04:55 (day 2)
Dieu Tri06:34 (day 2)08:20 (day 2)18:55 (day 1)03:48 (day 2)00:33 (day 1)
Quang Ngai09:34 (day 2)11:07 (day 2)21:55 (day 1)07:02 (day 2)03:41 (day 2)
Da Nang12:23 (day 2)13:34 (day 2)00:28 (day 2)09:48 (day 2)06:23 (day 2)
Hue15:26 (day 2)16:26 (day 2)03:23 (day 2)13:36 (day 2)
Dong Hoi18:43 (day 2)19:36 (day 2)07:15 (day 2)16:53 (day 2)
Vinh23:00 (day 2)23:50 (day 2)12:17 (day 2)21:07 (day 2)
Thanh Hoa01:50 (day 3)02:23 (day 3)15:02 (day 2)00:37 (day 3)
Ninh Binh03:01 (day 3)03:27 (day 3)16:35 (day 2)02:03 (day 3)
Hanoi05:25 (day 3)05:45 (day 3)19:12 (day 2)04:30 (day 3)

Other Sleeper Train Routes In Vietnam

Apart from the Reunification Express, there are a few other train routes you may find yourself taking on your journeys in Vietnam.

Hanoi To Lao Cai / Sapa: The sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao Cai for Sapa is a popular journey in Vietnam. For the most comfortable trip, I recommend booking a 4-berth soft sleeper, or if you have the funds, one of the luxury trains. This will ensure you get a good night’s sleep ready for a day of trekking in Sapa.

The main thing to remember when booking the train from Hanoi to Sapa is that the journey finishes in Lao Cai rather than Sapa. This means you will need to take some sort of transport for the remainder to Sapa town. The distance from Lao Cai to Sapa is 35 kilometers which will take you around 50 to 90 minutes to travel to Sapa depending on whether you book a minivan or a bus.

Ho Chi Minh To Phan Thiet / Mui Ne: Rather than getting off the train at Binh Thuan on the Reunification line, nearly 40 kilometers away from Mui Ne, you can instead take the train from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet. Phan Thiet is just 24 kilometers away from Mui Ne and there will be plenty of taxis around at the station that can take you the distance.

Hanoi To Haiphong: Haiphong is the perfect gateway to exploring the amazing Cat Ba Island. You can travel this way by taking the train from Hanoi to Haiphong. Onboard there are air-conditioned soft seats, air-conditioned seats, and ordinary seats. Tickets cost a few dollars and the journey takes just over 2 hours.

Hanoi To Halong Bay: Even though Halong is a tourist hotspot then train from Hanoi to Halong bay is a more local experience. This is the perfect journey if you are wanting to get off the beaten track and experience local life. The trains are not anything fancy with just hard seats available, though when you arrive in Halong Bay there is a fancy new train station.

Close-up of the classic red locomotive of the Vietnam overnight train, emphasizing the robust engineering of railway transport.
the front of the train going over a bridge in vietnam

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia

Costs Of A Sleeper Train Vietnam

Depending on who you book through will affect the costs of a sleeper train Vietnam. Obviously, your cheaper option is booking directly through Vietnam Railways online or you can also purchase tickets at your nearest train station.

Booking through a third party such as Baolau can be a couple of extra dollars, but can save a lot of hassle when it comes to printing your tickets.

You will find the majority of overnight journeys will cost you approximately $30.00 or so per person if you book the air conditioning soft sleeper lower berth, which is one of the best beds.

This can be quite a bit of money, considering buses can be found for about half this price. Though taking the train is a much more comfortable way to travel around Vietnam.

To get a better idea of pricing below are the approximate ticket costs from Hanoi to particular stops along the Reunification line depending on what type of ticket you decide to book. Prices are in USD rounded to the nearest 10 cents.

Fares Around Vietnam Departing Hanoi 2024

Fares from Hanoi to:

Soft seat air-con

Hard sleeper air-con lowerHard sleeper air-con middleHard sleeper air-con topSoft sleeper air-con lower

Soft sleeper

Ninh Binh$4.40$5.80$5.10$4.70$7.20$6.70
Thanh Hoa$6.50$9.80$8.70$7.90$11.60$10.90
Dong Hoi$21.50$33.10$29.20$26.80$37.60$35.10
Quang Ngai$33.60$48.50$42.70$39.10$54.70$51.00
Dieu Tri$38.00$50.80$44.70$41.00$55.80$52.00
Nha Trang$39.50$53.80$47.40$43.50$60.60$56.50

What Berth To Book

As above in our price table, you will see all the different types of tickets you can book. Be aware that even though you may book the same class twice it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the same.

Quite a few trains have been refurbished in recent years making them a lot more comfortable. However this isn’t the case with all trains.

Hard Seat Or Soft Seat

The seats are the cheapest you will find, with a hard seat being one of the cheapest options available. This is good for shorter journeys, though I would think twice before booking one for an overnight train in Vietnam.

The hard seats are exactly as they sound. Usually, they are simply just wooden benches on the train. Your soft seats are cushioned chairs, a lot more comfortable on journeys.

I would only book this option for journeys less than a few hours long. Though if you are on a tight budget you may find this to be the best option for you.

You will also have a lot more opportunities to interact with the locals on board as you are not in cabins.

Interior view of a Vietnam overnight train carriage with soft seats and window curtains, ready for long-distance travel.
soft seats are good for shorter journeys

Hard Sleeper Or Soft Sleeper

The majority of travelers will choose a soft sleeper when taking a sleeper train in Vietnam, especially when their journey is overnight.

This is the most comfortable way to travel. Also, it is the safest with a smaller amount of people around you and lockable doors.

The only difference between the hard sleeper and soft sleeper berths is the number of people you will be sharing with. A hard sleeper sleeps 6 people whereas a soft sleeper sleeps, 4 people.

So contrary to the name you won’t be sleeping on a hard surface, you will just have less headroom if you want to sit upright.

Whichever sleeper you choose you will have an individual reading light, pillow, sheet, and duvet. You can either store your luggage under the lower bunk or in the compartment above the door.

Lower or Upper Berth

Lastly is the choice of booking a lower or upper berth. Most people seem to have a preference for this, including myself.

Lower Berth: The appeal of the lower berth is simply that it is a lot easier to get into. There is no climbing an awkward ladder, trying not to fall off while the train moves. The lower ones are also generally slightly bigger as they are permanent fixtures. The downside is there is a lot less privacy and you may find your upper bunk mates join you during the day so they can sit at the table.

Upper Berth: The upper berth is a lot more private and there will be no one trying to encroach on your space. You may also have the air conditioning blowing straight onto you so bring an extra jacket on board to keep warm!

Top tip: If you book your train via Baolau you can pick in advance whether you want a lower or upper berth.

A cozy first class sleeper cabin on a Vietnam train, featuring bunk beds and a window view, providing comfort for nighttime travel.
the soft sleeper berth the most comfortable way to travel when taking the Vietnam sleeper train

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia

Types Of Trains And Classes Onboard: First Class Sleeper Train Vietnam VS Hard Seats

The following is a list of trains that operate in Vietnam and the types of classes onboard which you can book tickets for:

SE1, SE2, SE3, and SE4: These are the best trains with air-conditioned 4-berth soft sleepers, air-conditioned 6-berth hard sleepers, and air-conditioned soft seats. SE3 and SE4 were refurbished in 2015 and SE1 and SE2 were refurbished in 2016. You will also find these trains offer privately run luxury first class sleeper train Vietnam by companies such as Livitrans and Violette.

SE5, SE6, SE9, and SE10: Onboard you will find air-conditioned 4-berth soft sleepers, air-conditioned 6-berth hard sleepers, air-conditioned soft seats, air-conditioned hard seats, and ordinary seats.

SE7 and SE8: These two trains only run at busy times such as Tet. Onboard you can find air-conditioned soft sleepers, air-conditioned hard sleepers, and air-conditioned soft seats.

SE19 and SE20: Onboard you will find air-conditioned soft sleepers, air-conditioned hard sleepers, air-conditioned soft seats, air-conditioned hard seats, and ordinary hard seats.

SE21 and SE22: Onboard you will find air-conditioned soft sleepers, air-conditioned hard sleepers, air-conditioned soft seats, and air-conditioned hard seats.

SE11, SE12, SE25, and SE26: You will only find these trains running on particular dates because they are seasonal operations.

Facilities On Board

In terms of facilities onboard the sleeper train Vietnam you have access to everything you need for an overnight journey. There are two toilets in each carriage, one Western-style and one squatter.

Though be aware these will be clean at the start of your journey, but we can’t promise the same the following day. There are no showers on board.

There is Wi-Fi onboard. However, do not expect it to work 100% of the way. Same thing if you have a local SIM card with data. In some parts of the country, you will have a hard time getting reception.

There is hot water on each carriage. This means cup noodles provide the perfect meal. You can buy food onboard as the cart walks around. Though in all honesty, I would recommend skipping this. As a result, you are best off purchasing food beforehand.

Many of the train stations have food vendors offering snacks like chips, lollies, and drinks. Though best to head to a restaurant beforehand and grab a few things takeaway. A banh mi is a great choice.

Can You Actually Sleep

Now if you are booking a Vietnam sleeper train you would presume that is in the hope that you can sleep on board. That way you wake up refreshed and ready to explore a new destination.

Personally, I had excellent nights of sleep on all of my Vietnam sleeper train journeys. Though I am the type of person who generally sleeps well on moving transport as I find the rocking puts me to sleep. We always made sure to book the forward-facing sleeper bed to prevent motion sickness as well.

It is relatively dark onboard and you can turn the announcement speaker down so you don’t get woken up. As you can see from the above timetable the train doesn’t actually stop that often. Though you will notice it speeding up and slowing down as you head in and out of towns.

Long exposure capturing the motion of a Vietnam overnight train on a bridge over lush greenery at twilight.
sunset as the train goes over a bridge on the outskirts of the city

Safety On The Train

Taking a train in Vietnam is probably one of the safest ways you can travel around. I mean the roads here are absolutely crazy so no surprises there. Though taking overnight bus journeys is particularly risky. Therefore take the train for the safest option for traveling from point A to point B.

The only time you really need to be concerned is theft onboard the actual train. Unfortunately, this is common in Vietnam so you will want to keep your valuables close to you. Chuck a lock on your bag to keep it safe and remember to lock the door to your cabin if you happen to book one.

Personally, I didn’t have any issues on the overnight train Vietnam. However, I did take the above precautions to keep safe. Sometimes common sense can make a big difference and prevents you from being a target.

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia

Do’s And Don’ts Of The Vietnam Sleeper Train

Yes, there are rules you should follow when booking a sleeper train in Vietnam. This will ensure you respect the culture and have an excellent journey. A lot of things we normally do in Western cultures aren’t acceptable in others. So read on to find out the dos and don’ts of taking a Vietnam sleeper train.

Vietnam Sleeper Train Do’s

  • Dress comfortably when traveling. I mean you don’t want to try to climb up to the upper berth wearing tight skinny jeans.
  • Take all your essentials on board with just a day pack. Your main bag will be packed away and you don’t want to upset the other people in your cabin by having to pull everything out of your bag. So you will need your everyday items and valuables close.
  • Keep your bags as safe as possible because petty theft is relatively common in Vietnam. This is especially the case if you are sleeping.
  • The air conditioning can be super cold! Though this is pretty normal when traveling all around Southeast Asia, not just in Vietnam. Bring along that one hoodie or jacket you packed because trust me you will need it.
  • Feel free to bring your own pillowcase or cover it in a T-shirt if you are concerned about cleanliness. The trains are only cleaned in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Therefore if you jump on halfway through you may discover your bed has already been slept in.
  • Bring with you plenty of snacks, earplugs, an eyemask, water, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. You will want these kept in your day bag for emergencies.
  • Make sure you have some sort of entertainment. This will make your journey a lot less painful. Ensure devices are fully charged and if you have a power bank bring that along as well. If you are really onto it download some episodes of your favorite Netflix show. Just anything to kill time.
The blue and orange Vietnam sleeper train ready for an overnight journey, docked at a station with clear skies above, embodying the convenience and adventure of rail travel in Vietnam.
waiting for the train to arrive
Train staff member looking out from the door of a first-class sleeper train in Vietnam, ready to assist passengers.
typical sights while waiting for our train in vietnam

Vietnam Sleeper Train Don’t’s

  • Not to sound like your mother, but don’t leave valuables lying around. As I said above petty theft is a common occurrence throughout Vietnam and if you are unaware or sleeping you quickly become the perfect victim.
  • Research your journey and how long it will take. You will want enough food and water on board the bus to keep you going. I always found food vendors in Vietnam always happy to package items for takeaway.
  • The name sleeper train doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take it at night. Plenty of sleeper trains in Vietnam operate during the daytime. Bonus, the daytime trips are generally a bit cheaper as well!
  • Don’t give in to those pushy taxi drivers when you arrive at your next destination. Research in advance how much a taxi should cost and even walk slightly away from the train station where you are more likely to get a cheaper rate.
  • Make sure not to leave booking your sleeper train last minute. They generally get booked up a few days in advance. This can change to a few weeks in advance during busy periods such as Tet new year.
Passengers boarding a blue and red Vietnam sleeper train at the station, preparing for an overnight journey through the country.
disembarking at the train station after a long journey

My Vietnam Overnight Train Experiences

The following are a couple of my experiences taking a Vietnam overnight train. Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what to expect and tips so you can have an easy and stress-free journey.

Hanoi To Hue

The first leg of our journey would take us from Hanoi to Hue. A 14-hour ride, departing at 8 pm and arriving at 10 am. The Baolau website had a variety of options to choose from and you can even pick your seats on a lot of trains.

We decided on a four-berth soft sleeper, lower bunks, on train SE19 seeing as it would be a long journey which cost 720000 VND and a small booking fee. An online ticket on a mobile phone can be used which also saved the hassle of printing one out.

The Hanoi Railway Station is located a twenty-minute or so walk away from the Old Quarter. So we strapped on our bags and began navigating our way between motorbikes, busy footpaths, and dodging cars.

Soon enough we arrived and managed to figure our way to our train and carriage with no help whatsoever, super proud.

When arriving at the station on the lower level head straight through where there will be a sign displaying what gate the train is departing from. Once you have found that head up the escalator on the left to the second floor, then through the door on either side of the building.

There should be electronic signs stating what carriages are in which direction and it is all quite easy to figure out.

Entering the carriage it was obvious it was not the most flash, but also it was not run down as all those horror stories I had previously read online made it sound. The four-berth cabin was simple, with basic wooden fixings, a small table, power sockets, and two lights.

When we arrived our two cabinmates were already there. They were two Vietnamese girls who literally said nothing and barely made a noise during the whole time they were on board.

The train departed at the exact minute stated and we soon enough fell asleep to the rocking movements. At approximately 10 pm loud music started playing and a woman came over the loudspeaker stating we had arrived in Ninh Binh.

It went quiet after that and we all fell back to sleep. Then, at 2 am the noise started again having arrived in Vinh and our two cabinmates departed, leaving James and me by ourselves for the remaining 8 hours.

After that I fell asleep quickly, dreaming of trains and buses obviously caused by the rocking sensations. It was a really good sleep, likely the same amount I would have had at a hostel. I slept without earplugs or headphones and was only waken at the stations. We purchased snacks at a supermarket in Hanoi so never tried the train food.

The bathrooms were kept clean throughout the trip, and most visits were stocked with toilet paper, though take your own supply just to be safe. The only bathroom major was the smell once in there, but you will want to get out of there as quickly as possible anyway.

The four berth soft sleeper cabin was extremely comfortable and had everything you would need, except wifi. It was clean and the only bug I saw was a lone mosquito, so no cockroaches, thank god. The sheets, duvet, and pillow were all clean and nicely folded up when we arrived.

tasha amy enjoys the comfort of a first-class sleeper train compartment in Vietnam, with a casual setting for a long journey.
arriving on our sleeper train in vietnam from hanoi to hue
The corridor of a Vietnam overnight train, showcasing the wooden interiors and private cabins that promise a cozy travel experience.
view down the main corridor on our soft sleeper carriage in vietnam

Hue To Danang

We booked the tickets from Hue to Da Nang through the same ticketing website, costing 128000 VND. The train would depart at 10.35 am and arrive at 1 pm. So it was a fairly short ride. The reason why we booked the train was that I had read that it was the most scenic leg of the Vietnam Railway system. Through coastlines, forests, and rice fields.

After a brisk walk to the train station, we had to stay in the waiting room for about twenty minutes until they opened the door. We had booked 2 beds in a 4 berth soft sleeper booth. Train SE3, carriage 8, beds 13 & 14.

The train was only a mere ten minutes late and its arrival was announced with loud whistles and men waving yellow flags near the track. The SE3 train was one of those which had been refurbished, slightly more expensive than the older, original trains.

Appear the same from the outside but quite different on the inside. A lighter, fresher color scheme made the areas feel larger. The bathroom areas were also redone, with two basins and a separate toilet area. Fake flowers sat on the table and we were handed a bottle of water each.

The main disappointment with this train was that there was mesh covering the window. This meant that to see the most scenic part of the Vietnam railway system we had to also stare at small black dots, limiting the chance of getting any photos greatly.

Also, the rumored wifi available was nonexistent, so don’t bother booking the nicer trains just on the chance you will get internet.

FAQs About Sleeper Trains In Vietnam

Does Vietnam Have Sleeper Trains?

Yes, Vietnam has sleeper trains that run across the country. Sleeper trains are a popular way of traveling long distances in Vietnam, as they are comfortable, safe, and affordable.

What Is The Most Luxurious Train In Vietnam?

The most luxurious train in Vietnam is The Vietage, a private luxury train that runs between Da Nang and Quy Nhon. The Vietage offers a six-hour journey through the scenic landscapes and coastlines of Central Vietnam.

What Is The Difference Between First Class And Second Class Sleeper Train In Vietnam?

The difference between first-class and second-class sleeper trains in Vietnam is mainly in the number of beds, the comfort level, and the privacy of the cabins.

First-class sleeper cabins have four soft beds with thicker mattresses, pillows, and sheets. They also have a door that can be locked, reading lights, and electrical outlets. Second-class sleeper cabins have six hard beds with thinner mattresses, pillows, and sheets. They do not have a door, so they are more open and less secure.

How Far In Advance Should I Book A Train In Vietnam?

The best time to book a train ticket in Vietnam depends on the type of train, the class of cabin, and the season. Generally, it is advisable to book at least one or two days ahead of time for regular seats, as the trains can fill up quickly. 

However, for some trains and classes, such as soft sleepers or VIP berths, you may need to book at least one week in advance.

Do You Get Food On A Vietnam Train?

There are dining cars attached to the trains in Vietnam but the food on board is limited in choice and is usually overpriced. 

A food trolley goes back and forth selling pots of noodles, soup, snacks, and water. It is a good idea to buy your own food before you get on the train. 

Can You Drink On The Train In Vietnam?

There is no official rule that prohibits drinking alcohol on the train in Vietnam.
However, you may want to be careful and respectful of other passengers and the train staff. 

Do Sleeper Trains In Vietnam Have Showers?

Most sleeper trains in Vietnam do not have showers. The only exception is the VIP berth on the Livitrans Express, which has a private bathroom with a shower. However, this option is very expensive and limited, as there are only two VIP cabins per train.

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia

Should I Book A Overnight Train Vietnam

Honestly, I personally recommend a sleeper train as an excellent way to travel around Vietnam. You will get a comfortable and well-rested night’s sleep ensuring you arrive at your next destination refreshed and ready to explore. The one downside would be the price attached. Therefore if you are on a tight budget taking a sleeper bus would be the best option for you.

I also recommend using Baolau to book sleeper trains in Vietnam. You can book the exact ticket you want and the type of sleeper which is best for your needs. There is also no need to print your ticket off as you can just show it on your phone.

Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


Find out all about taking a Vietnam sleeper train. Let’s talk about whether it is worth it, how to book, tips to survive, different berth types, my journeys, and what to expect on your sleeper train in Vietnam!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.Photo credit: “20180313_151952”(CC BY 2.0) by Rob Glover. “Train to Hue” (CC BY 2.0) by Nick.

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18 thoughts on “Vietnam Sleeper Train: Top Tips For Surviving [2024]

  1. Avatar for Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Thanks for your comprehensive post. I’ve read about the pros and cons of the top and bottom bunk in the 4 person sleeper. I’m traveling with my husband overnight from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi….What do you think about booking a top and bottom so we can have the best of both worlds and have an entire side to ourselves? Does the system allow you to book one of each??

  2. Avatar for Kathi
    Kathi says:

    I’m super glad you had clean restrooms because when I traveled the length of Vietnam on the trains, that was the only thing that really distressed me — and I’m not a clean freak. There were puddles everywhere and the smell… horrid. It was a really odd experience with cabin-mates I didn’t know but both men were polite and one even helped me get food from the trolley. Ran into a man from California traveling with Vietnamese relatives and he shared food and beer during the trip. I’ve heard that the food carts are a great way to get salmonella but I had absolutely zero issues eating from the trolley… still, your advice to pick up food before you go is wise. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again…

    • Avatar for Tasha Amy
      Tasha Amy says:

      Hi Barbara!
      Unfortunately I haven’t seen them offering monthly passes. Though I have seen this with sleeper buses offering ‘open tickets’ for any routes over a set period of time

  3. Avatar for Alessia
    Alessia says:

    Thank you so much very useful article.
    I was looking at the trains via Baolao from Hanoi to Sapa and I can see the night train departing at 22:00, but then there are different prices (it seems with different companies such as: Vietnam RW, Livitrans, Violette, Sapaly express etc.). What does it means? It’s the same train operated by different companies?
    What is it better to book? I cannot understand the differences from the website.
    Thank you so much in advance if you can help me

  4. Avatar for Juliana Ayu Yahya
    Juliana Ayu Yahya says:

    I’m on SE2 from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi right now, on soft sleeper cabin. Thank you so much for the info you shared here.

  5. Avatar for Robbie
    Robbie says:

    I’m looking to do the sleeper from HCM to Hanoi so I downloaded and registeren with
    Baolao…booking went ok, but I couldn’t see how to select the lowerer bunk. Can you give me a pointer😊

  6. Avatar for Jakob from Germany
    Jakob from Germany says:

    Thanks so much for all the valuable insights! We will be travelling as a family of four and will book a sleeper train now that I have read your review!

    • Avatar for Katie
      Katie says:

      Is it guaranteed that when you book for 4 you end up being in the same sleeper together? Planning on booking for family of 4. Is the price given per person or for the whole 4. I think I saw the price as $108 AD. De Nang to Ninh Binh.

      • Avatar for Tasha Amy
        Tasha Amy says:

        Hey Katie
        When you book on Baolau which I have linked above it will show you which berths are available on each carriage for the class you are wanting when you click book now. You can then select which beds for each person so you can all be together. If you are wanting a 4 berth for 4 people I recommend booking in advance. They show the price as per person, and are who I book all my train journeys in Vietnam with as it’s just so easy!

  7. Avatar for Liz Spittal
    Liz Spittal says:

    Excellent information-I really appreciate it. My husband and I, who are seniors would like a cabin to ourselves (because of snoring), can we book a 4 berth for ourselves (maybe paying for 4 seats?) or should we go through Livitrans or Violette to possibly get a 2 berth?

  8. Avatar for Steph
    Steph says:

    We are 2 women travelling, would you recommend we buy 2 tickets each for the sleeper so we can have the whole 4 berth sleeper cabin to ourselves? Are the cabins generally full? Thanks

  9. Avatar for Katerina
    Katerina says:

    Hi, thank you so much for your useful article. It’s really great! Can I ask you if you can buy ticket from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi and any time go out and go in during the way? Thank you again

    • Avatar for Tasha Amy
      Tasha Amy says:

      Hey Katerina, you are best to purchase tickets 2 to 3 days prior to your desired departure date. Though you will still be able to book the day before, but you will have less options of companies available.

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