Vietnam trains have state-owned carriages and private-owned carriages. They can be divided into five categories and different trains have different seat types.
Soft sleepers, hard sleepers, and soft seats can be found on most of the trains. A few trains have hard seat classes available.
A soft sleeper is the best and most comfortable class on most trains in Vietnam — it’s also the most expensive. All the cars are air-conditioned.
A soft sleeper car has seven compartments. Each private compartment has four berths – two upper berths and two lower berths – and can be locked from the inside.
Each berth is supplied with a sheet, a blanket, and a pillow as well as being equipped with an individual reading light.
Soft sleeper cars have luggage closets above each door. There is also luggage space beneath the lower berths. A small table is between the lower berths. A power socket is available in each soft sleeper compartment.
Hard sleeper cars are also air-conditioned. A hard sleeper has a similar layout to a soft sleeper.
The only difference is that there are six berths on each side of the compartment: two lower berths, two middle berths, and two upper berths.
Luggage can be put on the rack at the top of the car or under the lower berth. The other facilities are the same as in the soft sleeper.
A soft seat car has four chairs in a row and each row has two chairs on either side of the aisle. The seats are covered with cushions and fabric.
The seat back can be adjusted to a comfortable angle. There is a power socket under each chair.
A hard seat car has two rows of wooden benches instead of individual chairs. This is the cheapest class on Vietnam trains. On older trains, hard seat cars are non-air-conditioned but the windows can be opened.
Train cars made by private companies are allowed to be attached to trains that are operated by Vietnam Railways. These sleeper cars are luxuriously refurbished, modern, and more comfortable. Most of the tickets are sold to foreign travelers.
Private-owned cars have a soft sleeper class and a VIP cabin. VIP cabins are only available on a few trains. They have two berths in a private compartment, which is perfect for couples and families.
For long-distance train journeys that are longer than 6 hours, sleeper classes are the recommended choice. A soft sleeper provides more comfort and privacy, which is perfect for couples and families.
If you are a group of five or six passengers, then a hard sleeper is a good choice. You can have a whole compartment all to yourselves.
A soft seat is only recommended for short-distance journeys that are less than 6 hours. It is cheaper than a soft or hard sleeper.
A hard seat is the cheapest class. Although having a hard seat would be a unique travel experience in itself, it is only suitable for short-distance train journeys that are less than 6 hours.
There are four ways of buying Vietnamese train tickets.
There are two trains running between China and Russia including Trans-Mongolian Railway.