Da Nang to Hue by Train
We usually end up taking buses out of convenience, so I was really excited for this train ride, from Da Nang to Hue. It was a quick 3.5 hours full of plenty of great coastal scenery.
We didn’t buy our tickets in advance because our hotel staff told us there was a train every hour. The only issue we had was that the seats were all sold out, and only soft-sleeper beds were available. At 111k per person, it wasn’t too expensive, but for such a short ride a seat would have been better.
We were given free small bottles of water, but the only snacks available for purchase were mushy boiled corn, yogurt and crisps. I’m sure we could have found better options in the seating area, but walking through the trains was a little scary. Like all of southeast Asia, (and most of Europe) bring your own toilet paper!
There are different train seats you can chose from, when you buy your train tickets in Vietnam. Price depends on when you buy the ticket, and obviously the seat you choose, and the price difference can be quite significant.
Here you can find a small explanation about the different train seats, to help you to select the right one for you:
- “Hard seat”: Those are wooden seats, and they not look very comfortable. Price is around 49.000 VND.
- “Soft seat”: Those are like ‘regular’ seats, as we have in our home country. Usually they have AC, and look quite confortable. Ticket price is around 72.000VND.
- “Hard berth”: There are usually 6 bunk beds per cabin, and are less comfortable than soft berth. We travel in this kind of cabin, and it was comfortable enough. Price is around 89.000VND and 116.000 VND, depending on which bed you select. Upper beds are cheaper than lower beds.
- “Soft berth”: There are usually 4 bunk beds per cabin. Those are more comfortable than the hard ones. Price is around 106.000VND and 113.000 VND.
We just have pictures of hard berth. But, if you want to check pictures of all the seats, just go to this website “Vietnam Online”.
Buying train tickets
This is the official website of the national train company in Vietnam, “Đường sắt Việt Nam”. Website is also in English, you just need to select the correct flag on the top right corner of the site.
We bought the tickets directly in the train station, but you can buy them in advance through this website. As far as we have read, there are no problems buying through the site, and you can pay with credit card.
When you select the route, the website shows the result as the image attached. In this screen you can select:
- On the top they show different trains and times, so you just have to select the one is better for you. Blue train is the one we have selected. You just need to select the train which is best for you.
- Above them, you can see different train cars. If you hover the mouse over one of them, you can see the seats allocated in this car. Just select the car and it will show all the seats.
- It also shows all the seats of the selected car. If you hover the mouse over the seat, it shows his price. Just select the seat you want, and your cart will be updated.
Transport to/from the station
Getting to the train station from our hotel in Da Nang was a really cheap, haggle-free 10k dong per kilometer, but once we got to Hue it was a different story. We made the newbie mistake of not asking the price before we got in the taxi and not asking about a meter. After about two minutes the driver told us our two kilometer ride was going to cost $8. We firmly told him no, and that we’d pay him 50k dong,($2) which was still too much for the short trip. He didn’t really say anything, which made for an uncomfortable ride, but we handed him the 50k and didn’t have any issues. After traveling for this long, I was kicking myself for being such an idiot.
Whenever possible, use the green taxis in Vietnam and always ask the price before and negotiate with a smile if it’s too high. We didn’t have any problem with metered taxis here, but the easiest, stress-free (and really not more expensive) way is to have your hotel arrange a taxi for you.
Contrary to Vietnam, in Thailand you always need to ask “meter?” before stepping in a cab. We had a few drivers in Bangkok get angry when we asked and wanted to charge us triple the metered cost, but most drivers in Thailand were very nice and had no objections to using their meters.