Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi by train. Part 3: Hue to Hanoi
The journey by train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi takes between 31 to 35 hours so breaking it up into manageable parts in a good idea. The first manageable stage of the journey we recommend you take is from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang (7 to 9 hours 25 minutes) and the second stage is from Nha Trang to Hue (11 hours 50 minutes to 13 hours 53 minutes).
Train #SE2 at Hue Railway Station
For the third and final stage of the long journey (1,726 km) from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi we recommend that you take the train from Hue to Hanoi. This is the longest of the three stages taking from 12 hours 50 minutes to 15 hours 15 minutes depending upon which train you use. Because of the length of the journey we suggest taking an overnight train and booking a soft sleeper berth. We took Train #SE2 for this leg of the journey which leaves Hue at 15:30 and arrives early in Hanoi at 05:40.
Train times from Hue to Hanoi
There are 7 direct train services a day from Hue to Hanoi.
The fastest train from Hue to Hanoi is Train #SE4 departing at 15:30 and scheduled to arrive 12 hours 50 minutes later.
The slowest train from Hue to Hanoi is Train #TN2 which is scheduled to complete the journey in 15 hours 15 minutes.
Train travel from Hue to Hanoi
If you take the overnight train from Hue to Hanoi what we recommend that you do is to go an early morning trip and check out of your hotel as late as possible so as to reduce your waiting time for the first train of the afternoon, which is Train #SE2 which is why we picked. Assuming you have already visited the Imperial Citadel, then the other major attractions in Hue to visit are the various Emperor’s tombs. From Hue City Centre you will need to hire an auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk) as the tombs are are all located some distance south of the city centre. The best tomb is the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Hue Railway Station
Hue Railway Station itself has very few facilities and the toilets are in unpleasant Portakabin style units. There are, however, several small restaurants on the opposite side of the car park at the front of the railway station. We recommend the restaurant on the far left of the row of three restaurants because the owner is very friendly, they offer free WiFi, and they cook good food.
Soft sleeper compartment of Train #SE2
Train #SE2 has some Violette Class sleeper compartments, which are the same price as the standard soft sleeper compartments but much much nicer. We recommend booking early and getting a lower bunk. Use the Search Box below to book tickets.
Soft seat carriage on Train #SE2 to Hanoi
The soft seat carriages on Train #SE2 are pretty comfortable with reclining seats and air-conditioning, however, given the choice we advise to book a sleeper berth. A bad’s nights sleep is likely to mean that you won’t have the energy, or good temperament, to enjoy the following day in Hanoi which a bustling noisy city.
Scenery on route from Hue to Hanoi
The scenery from Hue to Hanoi is fairly flat and featureless with no coastal views. You won’t see a lot travelling overnight, but that doesn’t matter too much as there wasn’t much to see in the first place.
Early morning arrival at Hanoi Railway Station
Train #SE2 is scheduled to arrive at Hanoi Railway Station at 04:50 in the morning when its too dark and much too early to check into a hotel. We recommend that the first thing you do is sit down and drink a cup of coffee or tea at the pavement cafe in front on the train station. Exit the station via the main entrance and turn left, and the cafe in under the porch roof of the station.
Temple of Literature in Hanoi
If you have a backpack which is not too heavy then we recommend that you take a leisurely stroll 2 km north toward the Ho Chi Mausoleum. There are plenty of things to see in this area for a morning whilst you wait for check-in time at your hotel:
Ho Chi Minh Museum: Musuem telling the story of Ho Chi Minh’s life and the struggle for independence.