QUICK GUIDE: Finding the Hanoi Train Street

finding the Hanoi train street

Hidden amidst the hectic, narrow streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter lies a funky little area, where motorbikes are no longer the biggest danger to locals stepping outside of their front door. They’re replaced by high speed trains, hurling through the residential street, mere feet away from peoples everyday lives – their dishes and laundry drying by the tracks. This is the Hanoi Train Street.

The train street first came onto our radar via Pinterest, and we instantly knew we had to find it for ourselves! So on our trip to Hanoi in March we went on a hunt for it. The street itself is not dissimilar to the majority of the streets in Hanoi’s old quarter – slim, tall buildings line the bustling, narrow streets. But of course with one main difference: a working railway track fills up the space where a road should be. It was pretty surreal to see locals sitting on their doorsteps going about their everyday lives – washing dishes, hanging up laundry, cleaning their motorbikes and even playing with babies. Right on the train tracks.

We arrived a bit early to see the train drive past, and definitely recommend that you do too so you can get a lay of the land. It was amazing to see the perfect unison with which all the locals vacated the street, moved items away from the tracks and took the children inside. All without so much as a glance at their watches. It was as if the train times were ingrained in their body clocks – and maybe that’s exactly what has happened after a lifetime of living by the side of the railroad.

We hung around a little bit taking some photos, trying to guess which way the train would come from and checking the tracks to feel for the vibrations of it approaching. And then suddenly there it was. Flying towards us down the track. It might be a narrow street in the heart of the city but that sure didn’t mean that the train would slow down.

quick guide finding train street hanoi old quarter vietnam so the adventure begins blog living abroad tefl travel gif

As it flew past, we were separated across the tracks for what felt like an eternity while the carriages trailed behind, though I’m sure it didn’t last longer than a minute. My hair whipped around my face with the speed of it passing only a foot away from my nose. It was exhilarating to be next to something so powerful and know that, as much of a novelty as it was for us, it was simply routine for those living here.

Finding the Hanoi Train Street

Okay so, onto the low down so that you can experience this unusual and quirky Hanoi street for yourself. Let’s be honest, its now made it onto your must see list.

 

finding the Hanoi train street

Where to watch the train

There are a number of spots along the track where you can watch the train speed by. We opted to watch the train pass from a segment of the street nearest the old quarter so we could walk there. You can head there using the map below, or just use it to guide you in the right direction. The train street lies on a small street between Kham Tien and Le Duan, the exact lane the train passes along is called Ngo 224 Le Duan. It is walkable from the old quarter, and it will take you about 35-40 minutes to walk at a decent speed. Try Uber or Grab if you are wanting to get a ride there.

When to see the Hanoi Train Street

There are two trains which run along this route every day, one at 3:30pm and one at 7:30pm. We opted to watch the 3:30pm train for the daylight and photo taking opportunities. Aim to be at the train street around 3pm in order to make sure you are there in plenty time and find a safe spot to watch from. The train comes from the South so you know which way to keep an eye out!

Safety

Hopefully it goes without saying that these are legit trains, and not to be messed with. They will not and CANNOT stop if you overstay your time on the tracks. It’s never going to be worth the photo, so don’t be stupid. Find a spot at the side of the track and let it pass by without putting anyone in danger (don’t do like some silly tourists we saw and stand in the middle of the track for as long as possible).

Watching the train whizz past was one of the highlights of our visit to Hanoi. It offers such a unique and off-the-beaten-path insight into local life in Vietnams bustling capital. Any other train streets we need to hunt down in Asia?

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26 Comment

  1. Erica says: Reply

    Never knew this existed! Awesome! Will definitely remember this for our Southeast Asia trip next year! Loving your blog!! Will follow!

    – Erica @ brokeandaway.com
    (GLT)

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Thanks Erica, it is definitely a unique site to find! Happy planning for your Asia trip!

  2. Charles says: Reply

    Hello, I’m presently in Hanoi, I would like to see the train. We heard too many version of when from 1pm to 6pm.. And 2-3 diffèrent sports like 1-Le Duan 2-Tran Phu..

    Yesterday se sent to the Tran Phu.. No train Was coming but the locale tolds us so Much differents hours.
    On your spot , we found on internet it’s at 13h08 but Your its at 15h30
    Helpme
    Thanks

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      I can only comment on what we were able to see, and we saw the train pass at 15:30 on a weekday. Wish you luck!

  3. Chantelle says: Reply

    Thanks for the location! Btw…. Theres one at 12pm too. I nearly lost a nose :). Walking there is an extreme sport.

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Haha thanks for updating me – is that during the week or at weekends? Glad you were able to dodge the train – it’s quite an adrenaline rush!

  4. Oh wow. I almost did not believe what I was reading. Surprised they still allow it. But for sure when visiting Hanoi, it is something not to be missed. Thanks for bringing to the attention.

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      I know, it’s quite surreal. Hope you get to visit Vietnam one day..

  5. Anu says: Reply

    Wow, I have seen tracks this close to houses in India, but on only one side of railway track. This street looks amazing though I assume inconvenient for the residents.

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Yeah I imagine it probably is very inconvenient for local residents. That’s interesting – is that pretty common in India?

  6. Whoa! One of the most bizarre stuffs I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing

  7. Linn says: Reply

    This is absolutely a place I will hunt down next time I visit Hanoi! Too bad I did not know about it earlier. Thanks for the map for location as well!

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Hope you manage to find it okay!

  8. Thats awesome that you give the location! I hate when I go on vacation and cannot find a certain hike or destination because it has a secret identity! I can only imagine how it felt watching the train go by, especially so close to everything!! Would be an awesome experience!

  9. Leigh says: Reply

    Wow, how crazy! I’ve heard of the market in Thailand like this, but this is the first I’ve seen of this one in Vietnam…very bizarre, but I suppose they are used to it!

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Yes! The market is Bangkok is next on our must see train list!

  10. Taylor says: Reply

    Yes!! I will be back in Hanoi in a few weeks and i CANNOT WAIT to visit this! Started taking notes two sentences into your blog post! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Haha thanks Taylor! Hope you have success finding the train street!

  11. Jemma says: Reply

    Residents leaving near tracks is also a problem in our country. This must be a common Southeast Asian thing. At least there’s a train schedule so they know when to stay away from the tracks though it looks crazy how near the houses are to the tracks.

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      I think it is relatively common, but rarely is it so close without any protective barriers. It’s not really a problem, but just an interested insight for us into a different way of living. Where are you from?

  12. Haha as soon as I saw the photos my reaction was “I’ve seen that on Pinterest!” then I read the second paragraph and laughed. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Haha that’s funny! Thanks Anna!

  13. Ania says: Reply

    Hanoi Train Street sounds incredible and a bit wild! When looking at photos of the tracks without the trains, it’s hard to imagine a high-speed train going down such a narrow, residential street! I would definitely love to see this street in person!

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      It’s a special find. Home you get to see it in the future!

  14. Great article. I’m starting to wonder if there is a consistent schedule. We showed up at 2, just in time to see 2 trains. One at 2:10pm and another at 2:39pm. We stayed there until 3:30pm just taking pictures and never saw another train. Maybe the best bet is to show up in the early afternoon

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Oh wow, that’s very different to the time we were able to see a train pass! I wonder if maybe the times have changed slightly. I guess the best bet would be to check out the daily train schedules and look for trains coming in from the south! What day did you go on the hunt? Thanks for updating me 🙂

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