Taking the sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue

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To get from Hanoi to  Hue, we took the sleeper train. As recommended online, we booked the SE3 a couple of days in advance, to be sure to have lower soft sleepers (844,000 VND per person). The train is supposed to leave at 22h00 (we left with a small delay) and they ask you to be there half an hour in advance.

When you board the train, chances are some guy will want to carry your luggage, show you to your cabin and demonstrate how everything works. Beware! This is no train staff, but just someone trying to earn a few dollars. We should have seen this coming, as he was not wearing a uniform. We refused to pay and after ignoring him for some time, he left. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Clean Cabins on the SE3
Birthe on the Lower Berth
Perfectly Sized for Brecht

So we got to our cabin with four beds. We booked the lower soft sleepers, as we read these should be more comfortable, the beds being a little bigger. We noticed no difference in size compared to the upper beds. Nevertheless, it’s easier having the lower beds: you’re in and out quicker and you can sit together to watch a movie, for example. The beds were just large enough for Brecht, we guess it should be comfortable for people up to 1m90 tall.

The cabins were nice and clean. We each got a small bottle of water, some wet cloths and a newspaper. Unfortunately we don’t understand Vietnamese. There’s one outlet for the cabin, but it’s inconveniently located right above the door. In every carriage there’s a (squat) toilet and a little bathroom where you can freshen up. Both hot and cold water are available as well. A lunch lady passed by both in the evening and morning. We learned our lesson taking the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin, and kindly thanked for the food (not free on this train ride). She also sells drinks for a decent price: we paid 15,000 VND for a Coca Cola can.

Free Hot and Cold Water on the Train
Little Bathroom on the Train

The ride is a bit bumpy bit we were both able to sleep through it. We arrived in Hue with the same delay as we left Hanoi and arrived at about 11h00 instead of 10h27. We were satisfied with our choice of taking the sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue. It was definitely more comfortable than the sleeper bus we took to Sapa, as there are real beds and not just reclining chairs. This obviously means you pay (quite a bit) more than when you take the sleeper bus. It’s up to you to decide what is more important to you: sleeping comfortably or saving money.