One of the best places you cab go after Saigon on the Bamboo Trail is Nha Trang and its beaches. And the best way to do this is by rail. So, what is it like taking the train fro, Saigon to Nha Trang and how do you go about it?
This is The Street Food Guy’s guide to training it from Ho Chi Minh City to Saigon.
Taking the train in Vietnam is something I had, have and probably always will love doing. This is old school training, with it being on old slow rolling stock, rather than the souls fast rains of China. Yes wit ill probably change one day, but for now it is quick efficient and awfully fun.
You can read my love of train travel in Vietnam here.
Taking the train from Saigon to Nha Trang – cost and class
“Will the lifeboats be seated according to class? I do hop the lifeboats will be seated according to class” – Titanic
So, despite Vientiane being communist they had a thing called Doi Moi which made it “market socialist””. This meant you were not a bourgeois is you spent ore on comfort.
Therefore Vietnamese trains are operated into a bunch of different classes, these start with hard seat, which cost a few dollars, soft seat which will get you up to $10+ on this journey, hard sleeper which goo up to $20+ and have 6 berths to a room and finally finishing at soft sleeper which are almost $40 (for this journey) have 4 berth rooms and AC.
To read about the Rangoon circular railways click here
Now I lobe train travel and take the hard seat when I take the Bangkok to Poipet train, but on this journey I was all about the comfort. I have down videos on taking this journey by soft-sleeper which you can see below.
Saigon to Nha Trang and back – train and journey times
The train generally takes between 8-10 hours, with time dependent on which train you actually take. There are though morning trains, one if the afternoon and a few night ones.
The problems with the nigh ones though is that they drop you off between 4 and 6 am, which usually means waiting for your hotel room, or booking an extra night – the later of which takes away some of the value of traveling here on a sleeper train.
And while 9 hours might sound alike a lot to be on a train, but in actuality you get great views, a chance to do some work, or just relax on your seat/bed.
The facilities on the Saigon to Nya Trang train
This again depends a lot on your class, but in first at least you get a bed, blanket and a plug, the truest lifesaver on a train and something Chinese trains offer far too few of.
If you’ve got no strangers on your room then theres also a door that you can lock, which is nice, particularly on night trains. This also means it is feasible to build the beast with two backs on a train, something I proud to say I have previously managed.
Oh and like in China you can smoke in between the carriages, which is a great thing, particularly if you have one the aforementioned and built the beast with two backs.
These are things I point out when someone tells me that they prefer taking a bus to a train (I know one guy like this), which is purely and whole heatedly ridiculous.
Street food/Vietnamese train food on the Saigon to Nha Trang Train
OK so not street food, but rather train food, but for me at least it fits into the same genre. On Vietnamese trains there is a food cart, fit with a. Kitchen and a menu, but main meals also have a seller that will come and take orders from you. This is not revolutionary food, with the last meal I had being pork and rice with soy sauce, but it is really not all that bad for train dining.
They also have a whole heap of different treats which come through at different times, such as mango with salt, as well as street food style sausages, meat balls in a stick, as well as spring rolls.
Unlike Thailand you can thank the lord Alsop buy not just beer, BUT even vodka, sensible policies, for a sensible train ride in my mind…..