The train between Hanoi and Ha Long in the northern province of Quang Ninh often leaves the station without any passengers.
The train between Hanoi and Ha Long in the northern province of Quang Ninh often leaves the station without any passengers. — Photo kenh14
The trip lasts eight hours and stops at 13 stations in five provinces: Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hai Duong and Quang Ninh, with an average speed of 25 km/hour.
With tickets priced at VND80,000 (nearly $4), and departure time of 5am every day, it seems suitable for passengers travelling to Ha Long City. However, this train is almost always empty.
For many years, the train carried just a dozen passengers on each journey, and every week this number dwindled further.
Because of the low numbers, the management board removed one of the passenger carriages and two of the cargo carriages.
This train mainly serves local traders of vegetable and poultry. They choose it because of the safety and large space for cargo.
Others prefer taking the bus, which takes just three hours.
The train trip was originally for the purpose of developing public transport services and reducing overloading on Highway 18.
If you like to experience the life of local vendors, this train trip may be one of the most interesting in Vietnam.
The carriages are still decked in a 1980s-style, with wooden chairs and ceiling fans.