Up until recently thousands of tourists flocked to visit Hanoi’s Train Street every year. The unique sight of Vietnamese trains running through a narrow street was a favorite for social media influencers and photographers alike. However, as of October 12th 2019 local authorities have started restricting access to the street citing safety fears.
To explore a little more about what has led to the closing of Vietnam’s Train Street and the background behind this popular location in Hanoi’s capital this article looks at the key details about this famous tourist attraction.
The History of Hanoi’s Train Street
The first thing that most tourists want to know when they visit Train Street in Hanoi is how and why did someone decide to put a railroad through a small Vietnamese residential street. The truth is that they didn’t.
Originally, the tracks were laid back in 1902 during the time of French colonial rule and since then urbanization has taken place in the area. As Hanoi has grown the city’s residents over the years have increasingly built their homes closer and closer to the tracks. The final result is Train Street.
The street then became highly popular with visitors to Hanoi as tourism grew in the late 90s and early 2000s and cafes and stores catering to the demand started appearing. Despite the precarious proximity of trains running so close to these locations thousands of people visited every year and it became a must-visit place in the city.
However, in recent times the street has become a victim of its own success. More and more people have been flocking to see this unique location leading to worries over the safety and viability of the destination for tourism. After a recent incident when a train had to be rerouted as a result of too many people taking photos on the tracks the authorities intervened.
Many of the cafes and restaurants running adjacent to the tracks have now been ordered to close. Furthermore, as of mid-October 2019 police have started blocking off the entrances to Train Street to tourists and restricting accessibility.
Where is Train Street in Hanoi?
Train Street is found in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The street itself is Ngo 224 Le Duan, which is found between Le Duan and Kham Tien street respectively. The central location of the street has helped increase its popularity greatly and is only a short walk away from Hoan Kiem Lake.
Is Train Street Safe?
Until recently the authorities considered the street safe enough for tourists to visit despite the potential danger of the passing trains. As of now, there have been no serious accidents involving tourists visiting the street.
However, the experience of visiting Train Street was always done at the visitor’s own risk, with little in the way of safety measures to protect them from the trains running in very close proximity to bars and restaurants.
How Often do Trains Pass Through Train Street?
The trains passing through Train Street aren’t frequent with only around 2 trains per day traveling through. There is an earlier train at 3 pm and then another at 7 pm. For the rest of the time, the tracks were free to explore until the restrictions came into effect.
What Other Local Sights Can Be Found Close to Train Street?
It seems that Train Street will remain closed down to tourists for the foreseeable future. However, there are numerous other locations to visit in the nearby Old Quarter and around the rest of the city. These attractions include:
- Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple
- Maison Centrale Hanoi
- Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
- One Pillar Pagoda
- Bach Ma Temple
- Hanoi Opera House
- National Museum of History
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Despite the closure of Train Street, Hanoi is still a wonderful place to see unique sights and enjoy a vibrant cultural scene. Vietnam’s capital is also one of its oldest major cities and it is a real treat to witness first hand.
In order to visit Hanoi, Vietnam as a tourist, you will need to acquire a Vietnam visa. The easiest way to obtain a visa for Vietnam is with a Vietnam eVisa. Users need only apply online no less than 3 days before embarking on a flight to the country in order to be ready to travel.