This post is all about how to visit the Hanoi train street.

Hanoi Train Street
Photo by Thijs Degenkamp on Unsplash

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All Aboard!

The Hanoi Train Street is the most buzzing street in Vietnam’s capital.

It has become a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and thrilling experience.

So what is it like visiting the iconic Hanoi Train Street?

Imagine this: you’re sipping on a frothy egg coffee at a bustling café, your feet dangling just inches above the tracks. Suddenly, a roaring train comes chugging through the narrow alley! Did I mention it’s centimeters away from your cup (…and face!)

Welcome to the heart-pounding experience that is Hanoi’s famous Train Street!

Hanoi Train Street

Planning your trip to Vietnam?

Don’t forget your FREE Hanoi Checklist so you don’t miss a thing! Plus, check out my other posts on Vietnam like my favorite things to do in Hanoi or my trekking experience in Sapa.

If you DON’T Want to Read This In-Depth Blog Post.. Here is all you need:

Set your Google Maps en route to ‘Hanoi 1990s TrainStreet Cofee” on Google Maps.

Arrive at 6:30 p.m. any day to snap some photos and grab a seat. Just in time for the 7 p.m. trains.

Prepare to purchase a beverage from the cafe for the experience.

That’s all!

This is exactly how I visited in May 2023 after hearing a lot of unsuccessful stories on people entering on the wrong side of the street or not having updated train times.

If you are curious as to why you should visit exactly at 7 pm, or why you must have to find a cafe, or if you have any other questions about visiting, read on!

Hanoi Train Street Cheat Sheet

Train Street Essentials

About the Hanoi Train Street

Hanoi’s Train Street has an interesting. exciting, and at times -problematic history.

This unique and narrow street is located in the hidden streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Hanoi Train Street History

Constructed during the French colonial rule in Vietnam, the French established a railway system to connect different regions of Vietnam. The Hanoi-Saigon railway line was one of the major routes.

Residential Homes & Businesses

Over time as Hanoi grew, the area around the railway tracks became densely populated with new homes and businesses. These buildings were constructed so close to the tracks that they practically touch! Some of the buildings are less than 1 meter from the track.

One of the most unique parts of Hanoi Train Street is it isn’t just a tourist attraction, you are literally in the backyard of many locals’ homes.

For years, the street has been a thriving hub of activity, with locals going about their daily routines alongside passing trains.

Safety Concerns & Restrictions

The increasing popularity of Train Street has raised concerns about safety.

With trains passing through such a narrowly populated area, there are many safety hazards.

In 2019, authorities imposed restrictions on access to the street during certain hours. Barriers were erected, and tourists were advised not to visit during these restricted times to ensure everyone’s safety.

Now in 2023, there are still some restrictions in place, making it a little tricky to visit the iconic site. Luckily for you, I just visited and can tell you exactly all the top tricks on how to successfully visit.

Check out these popular Train Street Guided Tours

How to Visit the Hanoi Train Street in 2023

Since you’re already doing research, you’ve got the right idea! Despite how well-known the Hanoi Train Street is, it’s not exactly something you can just show up to successfully on a random morning.

You need to find the right entrance to the street, that isn’t blocked off by police.

Additionally, you need to research the train times and schedules if you want to get the full thrilling experience of seeing the train pass.

You also have to be “invited” into a cafe to snag track-side seating.

As you can see, there’s a lot of planning involved!

When to visit – day or night?

While you might get the most Instagrammable photos during the day, I’d argue that nighttime is the best time to visit. More of the businesses are open in the evening and that’s when you’ll have the best chance to see the trains.

Timetables

These are the most updated timetables I could find online, but just know these can change frequently.

Your best bet is to visit at 7 p.m. I went at 7 and saw 3 trains!

Monday – Friday:

  • 7:00 PM
  • 7:45 PM
  • 8:30 PM
  • 10:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday

  • 6:00 AM
  • 9:00 AM
  • 11:20 AM
  • 3:20 PM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 7:00 PM
  • 7:45 PM
  • 8:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM
  • 11:00 PM

how to visit hanoi train street

Finding the Hanoi Train Street and “Getting In”

To see the famous train street and get a table rail-side, you have to find a cafe and be “invited in” by the owner. Meaning, you just need to have a cafe in mind that you know 100% is open and get there early enough to snag a seat.

This is especially important to research your cafe ahead of time because some of the entrances to the street are blocked off by police. Perhaps you have read conflicting information online about whether or not the train street is open, and why some travelers are getting in and some aren’t.

Choosing a cafe ahead of time and routing to that cafe in maps is the best way to get to the Hanoi Train Street.

I recommend Cafe Hanoi 1990s. Show up at 6:30-6:45 pm right before the rush of the 7 pm trains and camp out a table until it comes.

Cafe Hanoi 1990s Address: Ngõ 222 Đ. Lê Duẩn, Khâm Thiên, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Regardless if you go at 7 pm or a different time, you need to show up about 30 minutes early to reserve a seat.

Prepare to buy an overpriced beverage, but remember you are paying for an experience! There will be loads of beverage options like beer, coffee, and fruit shakes.

cafes in hanoi

How Long to Stay

Seeing the train pass just once is absolutely enough! With planning an early arrival to save a seat, ordering a beverage, and seeing the train – expect to stay about 1 hour.

Is the Hanoi Train Street Dangerous?

I’m sure you’re wondering with all the fuss, if the Hanoi Train Street is dangerous.

The honest answer is YES! It’s not exactly the safest place to be. But, that’s kind of why people love it.

You have a high-speed train rushing in front of you that if you stick out your tongue, even just a little, it’s a total goner. Yes, the train really is THAT close!

If you are claustrophobic or hesitant about visiting because of the safety, I totally get it. I would suggest visiting during the day so you can still experience the charm at a time when trains are not running frequently.

All that being said, the businesses that make a profit from this tourist attraction are fast, educated, and look out for their customer’s safety.

In the minutes leading up to the train buzzing through the street, the cafe employees come out and brief you on how close the train will be. The staff will show you exactly the safest spots to stand.

Is the Hanoi Train Street Worth It?

Overall, I was really happy that I could see the famous street in all its glory.

While it’s essential to be respectful of the residents and follow safety guidelines, a visit to Hanoi Train Street is a memorable experience that will give you a deeper appreciation of the city’s history and culture.

So, embrace the unconventional and thrilling experience of Hanoi’s Train Street.

This post was all about how to visit the Hanoi Train Street in 2023.

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