Right in the heart of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, lies an extraordinary sight that has become quite a popular tourist attraction and Instagram sensation – Train Street Hanoi. It’s a narrow residential street that just happens to have a  train track running right through it, with houses and shops on either side.

Train Street, located at the intersection of Tran Phu Street, offers an experience where local life and rail transport merge together in a fairly unusual way. The narrow street, with residential houses right next to the old train tracks, buzzes with activity as trains pass multiple times daily, literally inches away from the doorsteps of the local dwellings and railway cafes.

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About Train Street Hanoi

Train Street Hanoi was built during the French colonial period and, for a long time, the railway ran around the capital without any commotion. It begins at Long Bien station and ends at Lê Duẩn Street. Interestingly, the residential area is only around 500 meters long, but there are many families living along the railway tracks.

Families who have grown up with the sound of trains chugging along the train line – it’s the norm for them!

The ancient Vietnamese architecture and vibrant colours of street art and graffiti gives Train Street a vintage vibe on every corner. It’s a popular spot for photography enthusiasts and Instagrammers who love to capture the unique blend of urban life and transportation.

Graffitid walls on Train Street Hanoi. The wall is covered with spray paint in all different colours, such as green, pink, yellow, blue, white and black. The graffiti is mostly slang words, there is also what looks like a digital device with arms and big white hands.

There are many things that make Train Street Hanoi a truly unique experience. Firstly, it’s not everyday you can get up close and personal with an actual train passing by! The trains here aren’t your typical modern, high-speed trains – they’re old-fashioned freight trains that add to the charm of this place.

Secondly, there’s an unspoken rule in Train Street Hanoi – when a train is approaching (and I highly recommend planning your trip for when a train passes), everyone has to find shelter until it passes through. 

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This means that all the locals have to pick up their laundry, stools and even children and shove them in their homes; cafes have to pack up their chairs and tables; tourists have to scramble to avoid losing a limb. It’s a chaotic yet thrilling experience!

Train Street Hanoi is also home to some of the best railway cafés in the city. These small and quaint coffee shops are built right on the edge of the railway track, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience as trains pass by just inches away from your table. It’s definitely a must-visit spot for any coffee lovers.

Five locals playing a game of checkers on the side of Train Street. All are men. There is also one man sitting on a railing beside them watching the game. Two of the men who are playing are sitting on very small blue stools, the rest are either crouched down or sitting on the pavement.

There’s something special about hanging out next to the tracks, listening to the trains chugging by and feeling the rumble of their engines and watching the locals playing checkers on the lines. 

How To Get To Hanoi’s Train Street 

Train Street is located  in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, making it easily accessible by foot. If you search ‘Train Street’ or ‘3 Trần Phú’ on Google, it’ll bring you right to it. 

There are different sections of Hanoi Train Street and I recommend taking a short walk west when you’re on the tracks until the crowds of tourists dwindle, so you have a quiet space to see the train go by. 

The quiet end of Train Street Hanoi where it's less crowded. It's a narrow street with one train line running through it. On one side, there are two motorbikes lying against a wall. There are only 4 people. Many of the buildings on either side of the narrow street have greenery growing up them.

Of course, it’s great to see the bustling activity of locals and tourists on the main stretch, but it’s also nice to have a quiet spot where you can really appreciate the uniqueness. 

Is Train Street Hanoi Open

In October 2019, just two months after my Vietnam trip, the Hanoi government ordered the closure of all cafes and businesses operating along the 117 year old tracks of Train Street due to safety concerns. 

The order came after a passing train had to make an emergency stop, avoiding a near miss, due to the number of curious visitors swarming the tracks.  

Crowds of tourists at an intersection of Train Street Hanoi. One man holds a young boy wearing an orange tshirt while standing on the tracks. Trees hang overhead, as well as electricity wires. There is a blue car trying to get through the intersection.

In recent years, the craze of daredevil selfies has led flocks of tourists to Train Street Hanoi, sitting on tracks, taking selfies with the train just seconds before it reaches them. What they don’t realise is that a train can’t just drop dead in its tracks (excuse the pun). It needs time and space to stop itself from hitting careless tourists. 

If the driver hadn’t been able to control the train back then, it may have resulted in a catastrophe.

The Train Street closure had a significant impact on the lives of local people – local cafe owners and other businesses dotted along the railroad tracks, a tourist hotspot in Old Quarter Hanoi for many years, had to close down.

However,  in January 2023, the local authorities announced that Train Street would be reopened with strict safety regulations in place. As of now, the street is open to tourists and visitors can still enjoy the experience of being so close to passing trains. 

Me balancing on one side of the train tracks on the narrow Train Street. I'm wearing blue denim shorts and a grey vest, I have long dark hair.

Tips for Visiting Train Street Hanoi

  • Plan your visit around the train schedule: The trains only pass by at certain times during the day, so make sure to check the schedule beforehand and choose the right time accordingly.
  • Be respectful: Remember that Train Street is also home to many locals, so be mindful of their space and belongings when the train passes by.
  • Try the local street food: There are many delicious street food stalls and vendors located near Train Street, offering a variety of tasty snacks and drinks to enjoy while waiting for the train.
  • Bring your camera: With trains passing by just inches away, Train Street offers some incredible photo opportunities. Don’t forget to capture the moment!
  • Embrace the chaos: The train passing through may seem chaotic, but it’s all part of the unique experience. Embrace it and enjoy the thrill of being so close to a moving train.
  • Support local businesses: While visiting Train Street, make sure to support the local cafes and vendors. They are an important part of this community and rely on tourism for their livelihood.
  • Be aware of safety: While Train Street is a must-see attraction, it’s important to always prioritize your safety. Stay alert at all times and follow any safety instructions given by the local police. 
A red train passing by Train Street Hanoi. There is little room to either side of the tracks, the train takes up most of the space. Washing is seen hanging in front of one house, although it's not in the way of the train.

Train Street Hanoi Schedule

When is the best time to visit Train Street? Obviously you’ll want to be there when a train is passing through, but when exactly does that happen? The train times for Train Street Hanoi is as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: 7.00pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm 10.00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8.30am, 9.30am, 11.30am, 3.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.00pm, 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 9.00pm, 11.00pm

Bear in mind, this is the expected schedule and there are often delays. 

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A Pinterest Pin with an image of a narrow street with one train line. Some people are standing to one side of the track. There is text on the Pin which says 'Is Train Street Hanoi worth it?

Is Train Street Hanoi Worth Visiting?

In one word, yes. Train Street offers a thrilling and lively atmosphere that is unlike any other in Hanoi. It’s a great opportunity to witness the daily life of people in an interesting way, as well as the craziness of the train passing by. 

Just make sure to be respectful of the local community and safety rules – you don’t want to be that person who gets Train Street closed again. 

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