a guide to Hanoi's Train Street: where to find it, when to go, + what to know

In the midst of the chaotic streets of Old Quarter is a truly one-of-a-kind railroad. High speed locomotives come barreling through the residential area known as “Train Street’ to Hanoi tourists and Trân Phù to the city’s locals.

You’ve probably seen train street slathered across your Instagram feed. What makes it so photo-worthy is that it operates like most other streets in the Vietnamese capital, with the difference being a massive, fast-moving train’s tracks in sitting in place of a paved road. It’s lined with tall, narrow buildings, dilapidated and decaying. Women hang laundry lines dangling three-floors up. Children run amuck. Residents kill time by sitting on low plastic stools, sipping strong coffee poured over condensed milk.

During this visit to Train Street, I arrived with fifteen minutes between me and the train’s incoming. Rather than rushing to grab a picture like a brave fool, I hunkered down at a café along the railroad and grabbed a watermelon juice. I watched all the locals push their stools closer to the walls and move their laundry basins from off the tracks. After the train passed, I went on to take my photos.


read on for all the dets on train street


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getting to train street

Train Street itself is actually quite long, making it easier to find than I originally thought. Many blogs make it sound altogether hidden from the city, but you will know once you stumble upon it— it’s a railroad after all. An Instagram-famous railroad where tourists gather in hopes of the perfect picture. You can easily walk to Train Street if you’re located in the Old Quarter/ Hoan Kiem Lake area. Depending on your starting location, it’ll take between 10-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can get a Grab taxi that will drop you off there to save time for very little money.

TO HELP YOU OUT, I’VE made A MAP WITH PRIME PLACES To enjoy train street and pinned them in green

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Where to watch the train

There are a number of spots along the track where you can watch the train speed by, however, some areas are more crowded than others.

Lê Duẩn is a section of the track that is further out of the way. There is only one café in this area, but there are fewer people to fight for space with. You can put Ngo 224 Lê Duãn into Google Maps.

The most popular part of Train Street is the Old Quarter section, which has multiple cafés, shops, and even homestays that line the train tracks. This is how I found it on my first visit. It is more congested, and I noticed much more plastic waste littering the area, but it’s got charm thanks to all the stores and seating available. You can find this section of the street super easily. Just type “Hanoi Train Street” into your Google Maps.

{PSST…I’ve pinned both of these locations in the map above}

The best places to watch the train zoom by is from the safety of a cafés outdoor seating. Owners typically move the stools closer to the wall or tell you to do so when the train is on its way, and you can contribute to the local economy by purchasing a coffee or a cocktail to beat the heat while you wait. Just remember to ask for any cold beverages without a straw— the plastic problem in Vietnam is very real and we can all do our part!

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When to see the train

There are multiple trains that run across the tracks every day. The best time to take photos without crowds is earlier, much like anywhere else. Most people catch the 3:20 PM train, so café seating by the tracks might be more limited around that time. Despite the larger number of people, the lighting at this time of day is pretty prime. The trains typically come from the South, but no matter which way you’re looking you will know when it’s coming thanks to alarm bells ringing and café owners moving their stools closer to the walls of their establishments.

TRAIN TIMES ARE AS FOLLOWS-

  • Monday-Friday: 6 AM, 7 PM

  • Saturday and Sunday: 9:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 3:20 PM, 5:45 PM, 6:40 PM, 7:00 PM

*Please note all times are estimated and every blog and café sign I read said something similar but not entirely the same.*

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Safety first

What a world we live in that I actually feel obligated to put a disclaimer on this post to say that no photo is worth your life. The trains that hurl themselves down the tracks are massive and there is no stopping them— they WILL NOT AND CANNOT STOP FOR YOU. Make sure you get your photo well before one of the trains makes an appearance. When it’s nearing time for the trains to roll on in, find a spot on the side of the track at one of the many cafés that line the sides of the rails.

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a guide to Hanoi's famous Train Street: when to visit and how to get there
a guide to Hanoi's Train Street: where to find it and when to go