The city of Hanoi in Vietnam is a fascinating destination with incredible history, architecture, and natural attractions. But if you want to take a day to chill and hang out by the train tracks with friendly locals, there’s no better way to spend your time than at the Hanoi Train Street tucked away between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in the Old Quarter.
One of the must-see attractions in Hanoi, Hanoi Train Street appears to be a typical residential neighborhood with houses and small shops built along a very narrow street. However, instead of the regular sight of cars, buses, and motorbikes, this one has a railway running down the middle of the road. A speeding train passes through a few times a day.
Seeing the train zooming just a few feet from you is the highlight of any trip to Hanoi Train Street, but exploring the alleyways, learning all the quirks of living by the tracks, and spending time with the friendly locals make it one of the best things to do in Hanoi. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the Train Track coffee shop or a snack as you wait for the train. Check out crafty souvenirs and trinkets in the shops that line the touristy parts of the street.
Residents of these houses along Hanoi Train Street literally open their front doors straight to the train tracks. For most of the day, life unfolds here as it does in any other residential area in Vietnam with children playing outside, motorcycles ambling on either side of the railway, and the whiff of herbed dishes from restaurants and street vendors. There’s always a group or two hanging out on the tracks, playing a game or having a drink.
Life goes on normally for the residents of Hanoi Train Street, but anytime the train approaches, there’s a flurry of activity from the experienced locals. At several points in the day, you’ll hear the tell-tale horn from the distance, signaling everyone to clear out from the railway. Gather your belongings and quickly find a spot where you can see the spectacle safely by the side of the tracks.
Since many residents sit outside their houses during the day, it’s important to clear out when it’s time for the train to pass. Most of them stuff everything that’s outside—including their bikes and small children—inside their houses before the train arrives. Tables and chairs are pushed against the houses in anticipation of the high-speed locomotive. In a flash, the street empties.
It won’t be long until the train comes barreling through at an incredible speed to the delight of both tourists and locals. The ground shakes as it gets closer and the wheels screech loudly against the tracks as the train hurtles past, seemingly missing people and houses by mere inches. Those who are standing outside will even feel the strong gust of wind produced by the high-speed train.
Note that while the train may slow down slightly as it approaches Hanoi Train Street, it’s just like any other train in the world and will not be able to stop. Thus, take special caution and make sure there’s a wide berth between you and the tracks.
Then just as quickly, silence descends and the train disappears into the distance. The exhilarating rush of the train lasts only several seconds and residents settle in place again in a perfect picture of ordinary urban living.
Make sure you don’t miss the train and visit 15 to 30 minutes before it’s scheduled to arrive. Join the KKday half-day tour for an easy and fun experience at Hanoi Train Street with a group.
Hanoi Train Street Schedule
Monday to Friday: 7:00pm / 7:45pm / 8:30pm / 10pm
Saturday to Sunday: 6:00am / 9:00am / 11:20am / 3:20pm / 5:30pm / 6:00pm / 7:00pm / 7:45pm / 8:30pm / 9:00pm / 11:00pm