About Hanoi’s train street
The Hanoi Train Street is one of the most famous and adventurous tourist spots in Hanoi. It’s a tiny narrow street hidden in one of the back streets of Hanoi and surrounded by high narrow houses packed closely together. These families’ backyards are the railways where the train passes a few times per day.
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Even though the train passes through a big part of the town, The Hanoi Train Street is referred to only about a 100 meters long part where it’s the most narrow.
The reason why it’s so interesting for tourists is that the train passes literally a meter away from the houses. The safety line (marked with yellow color) is only about 20 centimeters away from the homes, and that’s the line you shouldn’t cross when the train is coming. Trust us, as we didn’t expect it to be so close.
It’s an exciting place to visit because right before the train comes, locals are rushing into their houses, making sure that their kids, pets, motorbikes, or any other belongings are safe inside. Nothing can be left outside. The ones who don’t make it inside the houses are hugging the walls, and we were one of them. But the exact second the train passes, everyone is already running out and across the tracks, as nothing happened.
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Drink a coffee in style
It became one of the most popular spots in Hanoi after a local woman opened a shop in late 2017. But, of course, everyone else also made sure to make a business out of it, so many other cafes soon opened their doors along the tracks where tourists could safely enjoy this rare occurrence.
The cafes here are some of the cutest we visited in Vietnam. They are so colorful, full of flowers, art, paintings, and all kinds of decorations. You can sit down just a meter away from the tracks, or you can choose a spot upstairs where you get a higher perspective of the passing train.
We sat in Coffee 74 and enjoyed a hot chocolate and a coconut coffee. Both were so tasty! Next to that, we got some snacks and small mandarins for free! The owner is so lovely, and she made sure we have an excellent spot to watch the train pass. This family also had a lot of small fluffy puppies that became our best friends. Hint: that’s why we chose this cafe amongst all the others (we suppose many others do as well :D).
Another cafe we would recommend is the Railway Cafe. We spoke with the owner a bit, and he’s a really nice Italian guy. Here you get a completely different perspective of the train passing as this area is broader. However, we already saw three trains pass, and we were already tired of waiting for the fourth one, so let us know how it is if you go and if it’s still open! 😀
Is the Hanoi Train street open for tourists?
As of the start of 2021, during a world pandemic, businesses and cafes were allowed to operate once again. However, due to the lack of tourism, only a few opened their doors again, and only those with the best position along the tracks remained.
2023 UPDATE (1.3.2023)
Hanoi Train Street is now fully open again since early January 2023.
We visited Hanoi shortly after the last closure in October 2022, and it was guarded, and you couldn’t get in anymore.
At the moment, you can visit freely, although it’s likely you will be straight away invited by a cafe owner to come to their establishment, so they control the crowd.
We’re following the situation closely and will update this article accordingly when anything changes and when we can confirm it.
We visited the Hanoi Train Street on two occasions, once during the weekday and once during the weekend.
During the weekday, the street was dead, everything was closed, and there was nobody around. We were honestly disappointed with the atmosphere and couldn’t get the hype about this place.
But we decided to give it another chance and visited early morning on the weekend. That time everything was alive, there were actual tourists around, and locals were all hanging out outside. The cafes were open, and the atmosphere was terrific. We also saw three trains pass, and it was so worth it!
We’d honestly be really sad if the Train Street would close forever. We truly hope they can find a way to keep it open, as it’s one of Hanoi’s most unique attractions.
Note: This is not the only interesting part of Hanoi’s train tracks, as they run through a big part of the city.
You can visit the other parts on the Hanoi On The Tracks Photo Tour.
Why was the Hanoi Train street closed?
Hanoi’s Train Street is Vietnam’s most dangerous and surprisingly most famous street. In October 2019, visiting it as a tourist was presumably banned because of the railway operators’ previous problems. What caused the final ban was when the train had to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting tourists. As far as we know, no accident has happened so far due to the tourists coming there.
Seeing videos of how it looked like with hordes of tourists makes it clear why the place was closed in the first place. The cafe owners made sure that everyone was off the tracks before the train came when we were there. We somehow managed to ask them to let us stay at the entrance of one house, as we promised not to cross the yellow line (which marks the safe zone). We don’t think this will be the case in the future, though, but let’s hope they’ll find a way to make this work as this is an icon of Hanoi after all.
How to get to Hanoi’s train street
The train street is located between the streets Phùng Hưng and Lý Nam Đế, right next to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The exact location is 5 Trần Phú.
When to see the train
According to the official train schedule we got there, the train passes only a few times every day. So, it always passes late afternoon/evening during the week, but it passes throughout the day on weekends.
However, these things change, so make sure to check it beforehand. Also, all the cafes have the schedule posted outside, so ask the locals there.
When to visit
Even though we usually suggest avoiding the weekends because of the crowds, we have to suggest the completely opposite this time. During our visit on a weekday, the Train street was dead, and the train was passing in the night time which wasn’t ideal for us. However, during the weekends, it was passing throughout the day, and even early morning, so we suggest visiting early to catch the first one when the light is best.
However, keep in mind that we visited when the country was closed, so the situation might be different when the country reopens. Plus, the train schedules will change for sure.
Is there an entrance fee for Hanoi’s train street?
There’s no entrance fee to visit Hanoi’s train street, and you can walk along the train tracks freely.
How long to stay at Hanoi’s train street
If you just want to look at the place quickly, 20 – 30 minutes is enough.
However, if you’d like to see the train pass more times and have a sip of coffee while you’re there, count on 1 – 2 hours.
What do you think of Hanoi’s Train Street?
Is it as interesting to you as it is to us?
Let us know if you visit and if it was open!
To see a bit more of the atmosphere of the train street, check out our video on YouTube.
Hey, thanks for the write up. Me and my partner are in Hanoi now (10-Oct-22) and wanted to visit the Railway Cafe. Unfortunately there are military personnel guarding all entrances to the railway who stop any tourists getting up there.
We have seen a couple get access to the tracks who argued with the guards and had a shop owner come out to support them. Many of the shop fronts have their shutters down.
Anyone who visited before it closed was lucky to see it as it was.
Yes we were in Hanoi about 10 days ago, and it was the same situation, officers everywhere guarding the entrances. We’ve also heard of the possibility of being let into the area by a cafe owner even before, but we feel like you really have to fight hard to get in.
I’m here right now (December 2022). We got access after we assured to have a coffee.
Yes, that was the situation now for a while. Thank you for confirming!
Have a great rest of your trip. 🤗
Sunny regards from Chiang Mai,
Arijana & Matej
We went to Trainstreet yesterday (the 8th of december 2022) and there were no guards, a view coffeeshops were open!
Great news! Thank you for letting us know!
Was the whole place open? Like, were there more cafes operational?
Because we have heard of people contacting the owner of the Railway Cafe in advance so that they can be in the cafe for the train passing.
Sunny regards from Chiang Rai,
Arijana & Matej
Yes, you can easily walk over the tracks. I think 5 or 6 coffeeshops were open. There were 2 policemen walking around
We had a view drinks at Hanoi 1990
Thank you so much. ♥
We hope it remains open!
It’s open now. I went last week. Apparently all open since early January.
Hi Caroline, thank you for the update! We’ve been getting the same information since early January as well. And a friend was there about 2 weeks ago as well.
Let’s hope it stays that way! 😀
Hello, it s closed again . I am here today.
Hi, could you explain a bit more about the situation? Last we know, you could enter if you went and grabbed a drink at a cafe. Was that not the situation? And another part of the train tracks is now active as well, further along the tracks down towards the train station from that spot.
We’re here on March 14 2023 and it’s closed. The military doesn’t let you in. And there’s no way you can argue. Someone even told us that there is no train going through anymore because of an accident that happened recently. So wouldn’t recommend going there!
Yes, you are not wrong. The situation is very complicated. And it depends heavily on the time that you visit the train street. Officially, it is still closed, but unofficially, it depends on how lucky you are.
The train definitely still goes as it’s a regular schedule of a normal train. That’s just a way to get you to stop trying to get in.
March 6-16 closed.
Hi Todd, thank you for the update. Was anyone else let in?
Unfortunately, absolutely not true. I am standing in front of the road right now and it is completely closed. Police is taking things quite seriously, shouting at tourists to leave. We weren’t even allowed to take photos from the main road.
Don’t go there, safe your time for the one near Bangkok.
Hi Emily, sad to hear that you couldn’t get in.
The current situation is definitely weird, and some people can definitely get in while others don’t.
Looks like it will be completely shut again.
I will plan to go Train street at 8 of April.
Anyone knows still available ? Many thanks.
I went on April 8th. A coffee shop bought us in, we were able to stay until right before the train arrived, then the police emptied all of the shops. Only people who were able to stay were ones that hid. It was not worth it.
We went today, 15 April. And it was completely closed off, with military guarding the entrance and didn’t let anyone through.
There were some shady people getting you into cafes. When we tried to enter one without someone guiding us in we were screamed at by the owners and they told us to leave. Not sure what that was about since they had other guests earlier. Not a very nice experience anymore unfortunately.