Hanoi Train Street – The Full Travel Guide

3 years ago, you could have asked any tourist about Hanoi Train Street and received nothing but blank looks in return. Now, the track that curves through the centre of the Vietnamese capital is one of the best places to visit in Hanoi and a popular tourist attraction for anyone wanting to see something a little out of the ordinary on their holiday. This full travel guide to Hanoi Train Street, brought to you by one of Vietnam’s leading tour operators – Incredible Asia Journeys - will tell you everything you need to know about the city’s newest tourist attraction.

If you’re looking for more things to do in Hanoi after your trip to Hanoi Train Street, feel free to take a look at our full-day Hanoi tour all run by a professional guide from Incredible Asia Journeys.

What is Hanoi Train Street?

The name gives away the game with Hanoi Train Street. At its most simple, it’s a street for trains in Hanoi. If you’re thinking “isn’t a ‘train street’ called a railway?” you’re absolutely right, but that name doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

The street cuts through the western side of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the bustling ancient heart of the capital where businesses and local houses are literally piled on top of each other. This clamouring for space eventually led to residents settling down next to the train tracks, with the government’s comically lax health and safety laws allowing it to happen.

Houses are built high here and are mere inches from the trains when they pass through at multiple times a day. Because the locals of Hanoi Train Street have been putting up with the inconvenience for so long, they are very nonchalant about ceasing their activities, moving their possessions to the side and waiting for the train to pass before carrying on their activities.

Life has operated this way for years, since the early 20th century when Hanoi railway station was built and Tonkin (north Vietnam) was connected to Annam (central Vietnam) and Cochinchina (south Vietnam) under French colonial rule. The generations of locals living on the train tracks have seen much, but many are still confused about the fascination in the cramped area of Hanoi they call home.

What to do at Hanoi Train Street?

While, in the past, visitors to Hanoi Train Street might have been content with simply standing to the side and snapping pictures of the trains and the gorgeous street lined with houses and green foliage, tourists nowadays can expect a lot more. Here’s your guide to Hanoi Train Street and the things you can do by the side of the tracks:

Get the perfect photo – Hanoi is considered a hugely photogenic city and it’s not hard to see why. Hanoi Train Street is one of the best places to take photos in Hanoi, especially when the train is coming around the corner and is framed beautifully by mismatched buildings and trees that lean over the tracks to create a beautiful tunnel. Of course, when the train is not passing through, you can take excellent, Instagram-friendly selfies, though it’s getting increasingly harder to avoid tourists doing the same thing.

Sit down for a coffee – This wouldn’t really be one of the top things to do in Hanoi if there weren’t any cafés here! Fortunately, Hanoi Train Street has you covered in this regard. Many cafés have sprouted up along the tracks as tourism continues to go, all providing an excellent, unobstructed view of the train pass about a metre in front of you. Like any tourist attraction in Vietnam, be prepared to pay a little extra for your coffee, beer or fruit shake here, but still at a price that is very affordable for most international visitors.

Enjoy shots of rice wine – If you want to ramp up the energy a bit, consider going to Hanoi Train Street at night and taking a seat at Ray Quan, a fantastic bar that was one of the first businesses along the tracks. The gimmick here is to take a shot of rice wine every time a train passes in front – so grab some friends, grab a table and grab some local liquor from the wide selection available here.

Find fantastic and unique souvenirs – One shop stands out amongst the tourist-hoarding cafés on Hanoi Train Street – The Zó Project. This is a shop that specialises in traditional paper made by ethnic minorities, which was a piece of heritage almost lost until the Zo Project stepped in. Now you can buy postcards, sketchbooks, paintings and fans made of zó paper, with much of the proceeds going to the ethnic minorities in Mai Chau that produce them. Incredible Asia Journeys runs day tours from Hanoi to Mai Chau where you can see the beautifully simple lives of the valley’s ethnic minorities and their gorgeous green home.

When to go to Hanoi Train Street?

If you’re looking to get some great snaps, you’ll likely want to know the Hanoi Train Street schedule. Trains pass by here regularly, far more common than many other sources, who only report two passings per day, would have you believe.


+ Afternoon: 3.30pm

+ Evening: 7pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 10pm


+ Morning: 6am, 9am, 11.20am

+ Afternoon: 3.20pm, 5.30pm, 6pm

+ Evening: 7pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 9pm, 11pm

As you can see by the table, the best time to go to Hanoi Train Street is on the weekend, as trains are more common and more evenly spaced throughout the day. Naturally, coming at either 6am or 11pm will mean you’ll run into far fewer tourists than at the peak times of the day in the afternoon and early evening.

It should be noted that the train times at Hanoi Train Street can be rather approximate, given that Hanoi’s public transport system can be pretty unreliable. Trains can be held up at road crossings because of Vietnamese motorists who refuse to obey the traffic lights (no surprises there!) and delays are common. Get to the street early and stay there for a while – your train will be with you at some point.

Is it Safe to Visit Hanoi Train Street?

Totally. Other sources might have you believe that the trains that run along the cramped tracks do so in a ‘hurtling’, ‘whizzing’ or ‘speeding’ manner, but this simply isn’t the case. All trains putter along the tracks very slowly and make their arrival known by a loud whistle beforehand. Business owners and other locals will ensure that everyone is safely to the side of the track before the train makes its passing. In fact, with all of the chaos of Hanoi’s overflowing pavements and its crowded roads, walking down Hanoi Train Street might even be the safest way to explore the city!

Where is Hanoi Train Street?

Unsurprisingly, if you follow the train tracks in Hanoi for long enough, you’ll find Hanoi Train Street. It’s located to the west of the Old Quarter, around 167 Phung Hung Street; or this is at least where many of the tourists gather. This is the corner where the train looks the most impressive in its arrival, though the street carries on for longer in both directions.

If you want to get away from the tourists, we advise following the tracks down to the train station on Le Duan Street or heading further up Phung Hung Street, where the cafés and shops give way to residential houses.

Nearby Attractions to Hanoi Train Street

Hanoi Train Street is an excellent stopping-off point on your explorations of the Vietnamese capital. It lies in between the Old Quarter and Ba Dinh district, meaning that some of the city’s most attractive things to see can be found on either side of it:

St Joseph’s Cathedral (850m away) – This is Hanoi’s most famous cathedral and serves as an excellent, if slightly out of place, background to photos.

Hoan Kiem Lake (1km away) – The true centre of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake, where walkers, joggers, tourists and locals meet at all hours of the day. Come here on weekend evenings when the surrounding road is closed off to motorists.

Temple of Literature (1km away) – Vietnam’s oldest university is also one of the most ancient buildings still standing in Hanoi, with a 1000-year-old history and some gorgeous architecture and grounds to show for it.

Ba Dinh Square (1.3km away) – This is the political heart of Hanoi and the place where Ho Chi Minh gave his famous independence speech after breaking free of French colonial rule. The revered leader’s mausoleum is also here along with the Presidential Palace and One-Pillar Pagoda.

Visit these attractions and more on a full-day Hanoi city tour with Incredible Asia Journeys. We are committed to showing you the best of our capital through safe and professional guidance. 

When you are in Hanoi you may wish to visit Halong Bay as it is the MUST destination in Vietnam to visit. There are a lot of cruises in Halong Bay for you to choose. You can choose the 1 day itinerary, 2 day 1 night cruise itinerary or even 3 day 2 night itinerary.

For 1 day cruise to Halong Bay you may check Halong Bay Tour with Incredible Cruise or Lan Ha Bay Luxury Escape Sails for more information.

For 2 day or 3 day cruise itinerary please check Halong Bay Cruises or Lan Ha Bay Cruises for different options for different budget and style of the cruise to pick up the best cruise and itinerary for your group. 

Thanks for reading this full travel guide to Hanoi Train Street!

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