There’s a very unique attraction in Hanoi that wasn’t built for tourists at all.

The Hanoi railway snakes through the city. When I say the city I really mean it – open front doors are at risk of coming off the hinges! People live and work on the tracks, simply removing their goods (and pets and children!) when a train thunders past.

What was once an underrated attraction, known by locals only, has now become popular with tourists. It’s not surprising – how often can you say you’ve ducked in a doorway to avoid certain death by speeding train?

Where is Train Street Hanoi?

There are two sections of Train Street Hanoi where you can watch the train pass. You’ll get the same experience in both but one has more cafes to enjoy it from.

  • Lê Duẩn – this section is further out of town with just one cafe to view the passing train from. It’s between Lê Duẩn and Khâm Thin street. Put Ngo 224 Le Duan into Google Maps.
  • The Old Quarter section – this has cafes, homestay and shops along the tracks. Enter Hanoi Street Train into Google Maps and you’ll find two sections to explore either side of Tran Phu main road.

You’d expect the second location to be busier with tourists but actually, they’re pretty similar. There’s lots of posing going on before train times – I don’t think you’ll ever get it to yourself unless you try for the 6am train.

When to visit Train Street Hanoi

Thinking of visiting Train Street Hanoi? You might want to think about…

  • Whether or not you want to see the train thundering down the street
  • Whether you want to see the local life or join the tourists sightseeing.

Check the Train Street Hanoi train times to see the area in action (listed below). To beat the crowds and observe local life along the railway, visit any other time. The early morning is always a good time to see the locals going about their day!

Train Street Hanoi train times

Through the Lê Duẩn section:

  • 3.30pm
  • 7.30pm.

It will be dark during the second passing so try for 3.30pm.

Through the Old Quarter section:

  • Weekdays: 6am and 7pm
  • Weekends: 9.15am, 11.35am, 3.20pm, 5.45pm, 6.40pm, 7.10pm.

After staying in a homestay on the tracks, I can tell you there’s definitely an 8.45am one too at weekends. I also heard it rattling past my room at midnight and 2am so 7.10pm certainly isn’t the final time!

I notice the sign says be there 30 minutes before the train time – I’m not sure this is necessary! The road closes about two minutes before the train comes so you can arrive up to five minutes before.

Cafes to visit along Train Street Hanoi?

Watching the world go by is always better with coffee, right? There are so many cafes and shops for those visiting Train Street Hanoi. These are the best:

Along the Ngõ 224 Lê Duẩn section, there’s just one rest stop, Train Track Cafe (an adventurous name, right?) at 224 Lê Duẩn. They sell basic hot and cold drinks including smoothies and beers.

The Old Quarter section cafes

As mentioned above, there’s a bit more going on in this section. Check out:

Cafe Dong Duong (Indochina Station Cafe)

Just across the tracks from this yellow mural lies this very cool cafe. The interior is the real reason to visit – the chairs are old train seats and there’s even a train door attached to the wall (I’m not sure if it leads anywhere – you’ll have to find out for yourself).

Currently, all the coffees are 20K VND (80p) but this may be for an opening promotion. Either way, I don’t think they’ll be much more expensive in the future. There’s also a resident fluffy white cat called popcorn or ice cream (I remember it being something ridiculous!).

Railway Homestay and Coffee

This cafe underneath my homestay bedroom is a cute spot covered in colourful murals. They have a simple menu of coffees, smoothies, fruit juice and beers which you can sip Vietnamese-style (AKA from a plastic stool) while watching the train whiz by. They’re just setting up a cheap (and messy but fun) pottery class so I’ll keep you updated on that.

Address: 5 Trần Phú.

The Railway Hanoi

While many new cafes are popping up along the tracks, The Railway Hanoi is one of the originals. They have a wide range of drinks including cocktails and even sell banh mis, making them one of the few railway cafes to serve food.

Address: 26/05A Trần Phú

Tram Cafe

I’ve yet to venture inside Tram Cafe but I love these cute blue shutters and the rice hats hanging on the outside wall. I believe they serve similar hot and cold drinks as the other cafes.

Address: 30 Trần Phú.