The signature route of Vietnam Railways is still the north-south line known as the Reunification Express. Numerous Reunification Express services depart Hanoi daily. The journey from the capital city to Saigon takes around 35 hours. Vietnam's train system is slowly being modernised with new technology and more comfortable trains. Sleeper berths are available for long trips. Buy train tickets through travel agents or directly at Hanoi's main station located on Le Duan Street. And if you are headed to Sapa, Victoria Resort offers a luxury overnight train.
Taking the train is an excellent way to see the countryside, not least because the ride is much less jarring than road travel on Highway 1. You can buy train tickets from Hanoi tour operators and some hotels, but they may charge you a commission for the service. Ticket classes include hard seat, soft seat, hard-berth and soft-berth compartments for overnight trips, and all trains are air conditioned. A drink and light snack is usually included in the ticket price. Many train routes have dining cars and snack carts that roll through the aisles. Trains usually leave as scheduled although departure times may shift. A most luxurious way to reach Sapa is via Victoria Resort's wood-panelled carriages, available to travellers who've made reservations at the lodgings. Prices start at around USD140 roundtrip per person.