After traveling with nearly every kind of bus and minivan you can imagine, I was more than ready to try out a different form of transportation in Vietnam. I love traveling on trains in Europe and was looking forward to trying it out here and seeing some of the beautiful scenery. I also had the feeling that a train might be more comfortable with extra leg room, scheduled stops, and the ability to walk around and use the toilet whenever I wanted (a luxury not to be taken for granted).

We booked a train online from Quy Nhon to Nha Trang (see more details below), and got a driver to take us to the tiny departure station. We had soft seats in a clean, air-conditioned car, and since we booked together we got four seats around a table. The car was fairly empty during the whole journey, quiet, and clean. Best of all, we got treats!—a little bag with a bottle of water and a chocolate bar.

Rustic but charming

Rustic but charming

Happy train traveler!

Happy train traveler!

We also received blankets, which seemed strange at first but made sense when, a few hours later, the temperature went from pleasant to freezing cold in the car. I’m not sure why the train AC is turned so low; the local people around us were wearing coats and scarves so I don’t think they were happy about the temperature either.

The train ride did seem slow, especially when we stopped for 30-40 minutes at a couple stations along the way for no obvious reason.

Despite this, the journey was pleasant: there was beautiful scenery until the sun went down, and a cute dining car, where we had some delicious pho and spring rolls. Definitely an experience I would recommend.

Delicious pho

Delicious pho

If you go…

  • To buy tickets for a train in Vietnam, you can either buy in person at a station, or buy online, in which case you have to go through a third-party agency. Since my friends and I didn’t want to make the journey to and from the train station just to buy tickets, we booked online through a company called Bao Lau, which I would recommend. Bao Lau has a website that’s easy to use (and mobile-friendly!) and they send you a PDF that you can open on your phone and show at the station to pick up your ticket.
  • We bought tickets from Quy Nhon to Nha Trang because Quy Nhon was only a 15-minute ride from Bai Xep. The train ride was about six hours, and the price was 200,000 dong (about $9), including the booking fee. I think if you’re willing to go a little further to the Dieu Tri station you might be able to get an express train that is only 4.5 hours to Nha Trang. You can also book a sleeper car and stay on all the way to Saigon.