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The Late Overnight Train from Hoi An / Da Nang to Nha Trang

After a few lovely nights in Hoi An, it was time to continue our southward journey through Vietnam. Next up was Nha Trang, a beach destination (with great snorkeling!) about ten hours south by train. In this post, we cover how we got from Hoi An to Da Nang (the nearest train station) and then to Nha Trang by train.

Hoi An

Hoi An is a charming riverside town lit up with lanterns and full of great coffee shops!

Getting from Hoi An to Da Nang

The first step was getting from Hoi An to the train station in Da Nang. (Da Nang is another beach resort destination you may want to consider, but we did not spend much time here.) While we have heard of a public bus being available, we opted for a private shuttle transfer (it wound up just being a car).

We booked from a small agency in the Ancient Town (you’ll see plenty). The price was 110,000 VND per person for the shuttle to a preset location in Nha Trang or 280,000 VND total for a car to the train station (or another destination of your choice). We were going to have some time to pass in Da Nang anyway, and we found two good options for Indian food (typical) near the preset drop-off point, so we just took the deal and decided to walk the 30 minutes to the train station after dinner.

We were picked up promptly at 5 PM, as scheduled, and the ride took just about 45 minutes. (Granted, our driver was really booking it and zipping through traffic. He was likely trying to catch the end of the Vietnam soccer game, which we did make it back for and saw our driving watching at the same bar.)

Vietnam Soccer

The city went nuts after Vietnam won the semi final of the U23 Asian Football Confederation championship.

Getting from Da Nang to Nha Trang by Train

Once you get to Da Nang, there are two main ways to get to Nha Trang: bus and train. When it’s an option, we’ll almost always choose train for longer journeys. We don’t really even compare prices; if the train price is reasonable, we’re going with it. In this case, we were looking at an overnight journey, so train was the obvious choice.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a gorgeous beach town and just another one of the many amazing and diverse cities to visit in Vietnam.

Choosing the Train from Da Nang to Nha Trang

There are three resources we use for comparing trains in Vietnam:

  • Seat61 – One of the best overall resources for travel by rail
  • 12Go Asia – Where we usually wind up booking tickets
  • Vietnam Railways – The official page of Vietnam Railways

The most convenient option would have been the SE7 at 22:50 arriving at 08:35 the following morning. However, the SE5, departing at 01:43 and arriving at 10:57 had two advantages. First, we’d be plenty tired by the time it rolled up, which would help us get some sleep on the ride. Second, the SE5 was renovated earlier the very month we were riding it (January 2018).

Even though I spend too much time poring over the details of the planes we’ll be flying, I didn’t take myself for someone who cared much about trains. But the prospect of riding in Vietnam Railways’ brand new product was too much to pass up. SE5 it was!

Booking the Train from Da Nang to Nha Trang

Having dealt with the difficulties of booking online through Vietnam Railways on our trip from Hanoi to Hue, we went straight to 12Go Asia this time. Two first class sleeper tickets cost 1,620,000 VND (about $72). That was fine for an overnight train. We booked with our Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3X points on travel. We booked an upper berth and a lower berth (as all couples should do; booking two lowers is uncool).

Unlike when you book with, say, Expedia in the United States, there is a delay between when you book and pay through 12Go Asia and when you get your tickets. For us, this was usually no more than a few hours. We book, pay, and then get an email receipt. Within a few hours, we get an email with our tickets attached as a PDF. Vietnam Railways is perfectly happy to accept your digital ticket. In four rides on Vietnam Railways, showing our phone was acceptable every time.

Riding the Train from Da Nang to Nha Trang

The Da Nang train station is centrally located. It’s an acceptable size for the low frequency of trains passing through. There are restrooms and a reasonable number of outlets. There are also ATMs and some small food stands directly outside the station.

Da Nang train station

Da Nang train station was pretty empty just after midnight.

Our train departed on time at 01:43. Because we were getting on it so late (er, early), we didn’t have lighting to take pictures of the cabin at night, nor did we grab any in the morning. It was a brand new cabin, though, so it pretty much looked exactly as advertised on Vietnam Railways’ website.

Vietnam Railways

A view of the first class cabin product on a later train we took.

We each had a reading light and a USB port for charging. Emily had access to an outlet over the door from her top berth, and there was an outlet between the two lower berths on the window side. The newer SE5 cabins are definitely a step up from the older cabins. That said, if your schedule dictated an older train, you shouldn’t hesitate. Especially on an overnight journey, it’s not like the newer beds were any easier to sleep on. The cabin was overall higher quality, but it was mostly a matter of new versus old (besides the USB ports).

The ride was fine and we both slept well, at least until about 7 AM when a lady came banging on the door screaming along the lines of “Wake up! Bahn Mi! Buy coffee! Tea!” She did not relent until everyone in the cabin said “No” about a dozen times. Regardless, we managed to get a decent amount of sleep, and we pulled in to Ga Nha Trang on time at 11 AM. As always, there were plenty of taxis offering rides, and as (pretty much) always, we opted to walk to our hotel.

Ga Nha Trang

Ga Nha Trang — the train station in Nha Trang, Vietnam

Closing Thoughts

We have only had one semi-negative experience on Vietnam Railways (more to come soon on that), and even that wasn’t bad. As much as we love flying, the overnight trains in Vietnam are a great way to go. Because you save on accommodation and you won’t lose days to travel, it’s one of our favorite easy ways to save money on travel.

Vietnam Railways

Next Up: Video: Snorkeling in Nha Trang with Vietnam Active


Saturday 15th of June 2019

Great post! We're in Hoi An now and considering doing this, but wanted to get a better idea of what the train would be like. You answered all of our questions and then some. Thank you for sharing! Safe travels!


Thursday 11th of July 2019

Aw, love Hoi An! <3 Thank you so much! I'm happy you found it helpful! Happy travels!