Most visitors to Hanoi will have some occasion to use the train station, whether travelling north to Sapa or down the coast on the Reunification Express. So here’s a quick guide to where it is, how to buy tickets and what to expect when you get there. The ticket office at the main Hanoi train station, Ga Hanoi, is open 5 am–6:10 am and 7 am–11pm. Large white posters are pinned to the walls displaying train times and prices: the Lao Cai and Hai Phong posters are next to the main doors and the Reunification Express posters are round the corner. You’ll find a special counter where foreigners buy tickets, and some of the schedules are even in English. Another, smaller train station, across the tracks from the main one, services northern routes; the foreign booking agents at the main station will direct you.
Trains leave four times daily for Ho Chi Minh City (soft berth 1,371,000d–1,473,000d, 41 hours), but only one is an express (32 hours). The express makes stops at most major cities, including Vinh, Hue, Danang, and Nha Trang. Purchase a day in advance if you want to ensure a seat. Other destinations include Lao Cai (soft sleeper 315,000d; three times daily; 10 hours) and Haiphong (90,000d; seven times daily; two hours).
Ga Hanoi (120 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 24/3825–3949)