The key route of Vietnam Railways is still the north-south line known as the Reunification Express. Six Reunification Express services depart HCMC daily. The journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi 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 Saigon Railway Station.
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 HCMC 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. 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 roam the aisles. Trains usually leave as scheduled although departure times may shift.