With the business motto of “Safety – Friendly – Convinient – Punctuality – Effect” and the principle of operation “All for customers”, Vietnam Railways constantly improve the quality of equipment and services to bring the customers comfort because “the customers’ satisfaction is the measure of success”. ( Vietnam Railways). Vietnam Railways is the ideal way for independent travellers to get around and see Vietnam at ground level. Travel through Vietnam with air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and inexpensive
Trains between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh classified as SE are the smartest and fastest, while those referred to as TN are slower and older.
Trains between Hanoi and Lao Cai classified as SP and LC. All private carriages are on SP train
There are four main ticket classes: hard seat , soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. These are also split into air-con and non-air-con options. Hard-seat class is usually packed and tolerable for day travel, but expect plenty of cigarette smoke.
Comfortable, even luxurious private carriages tagged onto the back of trains offer a classy way of travelling between Lao Cai and Hanoi, Hanoi – Hue – Da Nang. They are renowned and all soft sleeper class.
A hard sleeper has three tiers of beds (six beds per cabin). A soft sleeper has two tiers (four beds per cabin). The upper berth is cheaper than the lower berth. Linen is provided.
Ticket prices depending on the train, time of the year, type of ticket. The fastest trains are more expensive.
Bicycles and motorbikes must travel in freight carriages. Sometimes it’s not possible to travel on the same train as your bike, so remember to make a note of the train it’s on and when it is expected to arrive.
Aside from the main HCMC–Hanoi run, three rail-spur lines link Hanoi with the other parts of northern Vietnam. One runs east to the port city of Haiphong. A second heads northeast to Lang Son and continues across the border to Nanning, China. A third runs northwest to Lao Cai (for trains on to Kunming, China).
‘Fast’ trains between Hanoi and HCMC take between 32 and 36 hours.
Petty crime can be a problem on Vietnamese trains. Thieves occasionally try to grab stuff as trains pull out of stations. Always keep your bag nearby and lock or tie it to something, especially at night.
Schedules Several Reunification Express trains depart from Hanoi and HCMC every day. Train schedules change frequently.
Source : Lonely Planet