Reserve your favorite seat on Vietnam Railways
When I ride a train, I try to get a window seat if possible because I want to see the scenery.
When I first purchased a ticket directly at a Vietnam Railways station, I was too busy specifying the time and class of the train to even get a window seat.
You can select your seat on the Vietnam Railways website, but it requires a credit card issued in Vietnam, which is a bit difficult for a foreigner to do.
I heard that you can buy tickets for Vietnam Railways at travel agencies, but I heard that they charge a commission fee, so I thought I had to go to the station and buy the tickets in person.
However, I found a clue on the website of Vietnam Railways about how to easily purchase a ticket at a station by selecting a seat of your choice.
How to purchase a reserved seat on the Vietnam Railways
You can check the Vietnam Railway’s timetable and train schedule at this website.
Click ENGLISH in the upper right corner to display the information in English.
Then enter the boarding station and alighting station in the left window, select One way (One way) or Round trip (Round trip), and enter the date.
The available trains and seats for that day will then be displayed.
The seats in white on the seating chart are the seats available for reservation.
If you want to select sleeping berth 22, write down the 8-digit ticket ID and present it at the station counter to purchase.
The price is also displayed.
I actually bought a ticket from Hue to Hanoi at Da Nang station.
The ticket office at Da Nang station is not inside the station, but in a separate building on the left when looking from the front of the station.
When I was wandering around the station, a Vietnamese man pointed me to the ticket office even though I didn’t ask him anything.
You push the button on the machine right next to the entrance of the ticket office to get a numbered ticket.
When it is your turn, the machine’s voice (in Vietnamese) and an electronic display will call your number.
I had to wait about 10 minutes.
At this counter, I handed a memo to the station staff with the date, time, boarding station, alighting station, seat type, and ticket ID of the train I had checked on the Vietnam Railways website in advance.
This time, I took a second-class air-conditioned sleeper from Hue to Hanoi.
If you don’t say anything, the station staff randomly assigns the upper and lower sleeping berths, but I was able to easily get the lower sleeping berth, which was more spacious and offered a better view.
When you buy a ticket, you will need your passport.
The lady at the Da Nang station counter spoke English.
I had heard that the train station staff at Vietnam Railways are very cold, so I was a bit intimidated, but they were polite and friendly.
The station staff at Da Nang station were very helpful and seemed to speak English, so I think you can buy a seat of your choice if you can speak English without going this far.
However, at stations other than relatively urban stations such as Da Nang station, English is not always understood by the station staff, so in such cases, I think it would be smoother to write your ticket ID on a memo and hand it over to them to ensure that you are assigned a seat.