Are you finding a hidden place called: Hanoi Train Street? It is one of the must-see destinations for every tourist traveling in Hanoi and a popular photography place for both Hanoi youngsters and foreign tourists. Visiting this street, you will have a good chance to not only gain more understanding about the local daily life of Hanoians and explore brand-new things only found in this interesting place.
If you are curious why Hanoi Train Street is so attractive for both locals and international travelers, let’s together with AZ Local Trip find out more about this typical street. Here is all necessary information including address, map, time, location and delightful activities that you can enjoy here.
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What? Where? and When? to Hanoi Train Street
Hanging out with friends and having coffee beside the railway is an interesting experience
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Hanoi Train Street is a residential street in Hanoi, Vietnam that a speeding train passes straight through twice a day.
The street is so narrow that all residents must ensure their bikes and precious personal belongings, as well as their roaming children, are all safely inside the house before the train passes.
It is simply defined as “A Street Has A Train Track Through It” by Huffingtonpost.
To you as Europeans, this really is a kind of urban phenomenon. Hanoi Train Street is a narrow street within the center of Hanoi.
This is Hanoi Train Street looks like
Rather than being a normal road with car or motorbike traffic, it has actual real railway lines running through it. Homes and businesses literally open out onto the railway lines.
For the most part, the locals who live and move through there go about their day as with any other Hanoi street. Motorbikes zoom up and down the side of the railway lines.
Local ladies cook delicious smelling foods, crouched over their seasoned cooking pots and surrounded by bundles of herbs and other fresh ingredients. Kids run around, crossing the tracks to each other's houses. Animals snooze peacefully in the daytime sun.
However, at certain times of the day, everything gets cleared away from the tracks and all the locals disappear indoors or stand pressed back from the track. The train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh will zoom through at high speed, and then everything goes back to normal as if nothing had happened.
Visiting Hanoi Train Street in Hanoi is one of the BEST THINGS TO DO IN HANOI for every tourist who thrives to learn and explore Hanoi local life.
A famous cafe beside the railway
While discovering this unique place, you will:
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Hanoi Train street, as we like to call it, is located between Le Duan and Kham Thien street in Hanoi Old Quarter. You can find it on Google Maps or simply look at the maps I have made below. The show where the tiny residential street is, and how to get there from either the Old Quarter or from the train station.
A train running through Hanoi train street
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It is really important for all of us both local travelers or foreigners to get the right time here to see the train passing by.
The train will only pass through this tiny street 2 times per day. It is at 3:15 PM and 7:30 PM.
You should come here earlier, wandering the street, enjoy the peaceful moment of Hanoi and take the most beautiful picture to keep your Hanoi memory. It is the reason for the question: Why is Hanoi The Best City in South East Asia?
“Suddenly we heard the train tooting its horn and coming flying in our direction…. we literally had to jump off the tracks and stand almost pinned against a wall. Even the locals were making crazy hand movements, telling us to get back further which was a little scary. The train literally passed by within a few inches of us, as you can see from the angle of the video I took below!!” - shared by a tourist in Hanoi
The train is coming and everyone stands out of the railway
Hopefully, it goes without saying that these are legit trains, and not to be messed with. They will not and CANNOT stop if you overstay your time on the tracks. It’s never going to be worth the photo, so don’t be stupid. Find a spot at the side of the track and let it pass by without putting anyone in danger (don’t do like some silly tourists we saw and stand in the middle of the track for as long as possible).
The Hanoi train street is only about 500 meters long, but there are many households living in this area for a long period of time. Houses, old and new, coming in different colors from dark to light, making the whole street look like a beautiful watercolor painting.
Apart from generations of Hanoians, the residents here also consist of people from other places getting to Hanoi in search of jobs. Therefore, the life in this unique train street is quite diverse and you can notice a mix of lifestyles here.
Tuan, who has spent more than a quarter of his life living inches away from the train track, told me that the biggest difficulty when living here is having no frontage to start a business.
Nightlife on Hanoi train street
"Apart from that, there is nothing to complain about. To be honest, this place has its perks. There are several things we enjoy better than people living in other places. You don't have to deal with traffic congestion or polluted air. The train goes by a few times in the morning and more in the evening, but we don't find it a nuisance. People here have been very used to it".
The special "playground" of the local people
There is another special thing. When the high pitched screeching of wheels on the track gradually rises to a crescendo, local people, as a habit, pop their heads out to check whether there is someone lingering over the railway. If you are standing too close to the track, it's very likely that a local will shout to you to alert.
As much of a simple routine as train driving past mere inches away from the doorstep is for those living here, it's a novelty for all foreign visitors. This unique Hanoi train street has become a favorite photo-taking spot of both local citizens and international tourists who are looking for an inspiration
"Street photography is always a challenge in many ways. You often can’t anticipate what happens next and sometimes you have a specific scene in your mind and then you wait until it occurs. On the other hand, you often have to be very quick and take your picture before a special occasion has already passed and you have missed the best moment for a great picture. It has been a very challenging but absolutely fascinating experience!" - said an American photographer whom I had a chance to be his tour guide.
It could be a bit daunting when you fail to see the train at the first attempt, but don't give up. Although the train does not always go past the street at the exact time on the timetable, you will definitely catch sight of it in the evening anyway. Bring along your food as you might be hungry. When you see the train, I promise you it's worth your time!
It will be a pity if you visit Hanoi without trying Hanoi or Vietnamese coffee. Coming Hanoi Train Street, you will not only have a chance to explore the daily life of local citizens but also can enjoy famous coffee of Vietnam in a special space and have a good view to the railway.
Buying beautiful and lovely souvenir of Vietnam
Besides the famous coffee shops, you can also find some souvenir shops in the street. Here you can buy cute handmade products or traditional and typical clothes of Vietnamese.
So why don't you go here and take some pictures to keep beautiful memories?
Watching local people sit in the middle of the tracks with their neighbors, playing checkers and drinking tea?
Watching kids running up and down, playing games while an older lady is watering her plants in a flower box outside her house?
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