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Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

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Brisbane, Australia
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Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Hi all,

In October, we are staying at Emeralda resort for two nights (after transferring from Halong Bay by car) and have arranged for Toan to take us on moto tours - full day the next day, and half day on our last day.

I am considering taking the train back to Hanoi, for the experience and interaction with locals.

My questions: as it gets dark at about 5.30pm, should we take the 12.52pm train and experience the views? Are the views from the train worth it?

The other option is taking the 4.58pm train and enjoying more time with Toan in the NB area.

Which would you do?

Also, I understand that we can buy food on the train, and I am assuming that the boys will be able to move around a bit more, rather than be trapped in a car seat. Is this a correct assumption?

Either way, I think that my elderly Dad will enjoy the journey as something different.

I plan on asking our Hanoi hotel to organise the train tickets for us when we arrive.

Is that sufficient notice, or should I pre-book?

(We have our Danang-Hanoi sleeper train tickets already, but that was a bit of a hassle through the agent in Australia.)

I'd rather leave it if 4 days notice would be enough.

1. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

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Llanbrynmair...
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2. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Well, in October it shouldn't become fully dark until nearly 6 pm, but it has to be said that the last stretch of the train journey from Ninh Binh to Hanoi isn't very interesting anyway - cheek by jowl factories at worst, the rear side of overcrowded outer-city residences at best. So no valid reason not to maximise your time in Ninh Binh by taking the later train.

The train is by far my preferred means of travelling between the two places, but best not to have too high expectations about interacting with the locals, the majority of whom will have been on the train from points much further south (the train comes from HCMC) and might well be too exhausted to interact with you, although your boys could be a definite plus in that regard if they're young enough.

There's unlikely to be any food on the train by that point (or at least I've never seen any on the afternoon runs), but as the journey only takes a little over two hours that shouldn't be a major consideration. Move around you can do though.

Certainly do book your seats through your Hanoi hotel in advance. A couple of times I've left it until the last minute when in Ninh Binh and there were no seats left, so have had to go by local bus, which were hair-raising adventures too far!

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Thanks CB. Great info.

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4. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Hi

How much did it cost for halong bay to ninth binh pvt transfer? We are looking to do the same next week.

Regards

Bhumi

Colorado
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5. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

CB- how many days in advance do you recommend to reserve the seats for the train

Llanbrynmair...
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6. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Hello again Boleslav. I've found it impossible to buy tickets in Ninh Binh even a full day before departure, so if you can purchase yours at the same time as your outbound ones from Hanoi, do so.

Alternatively you could ask your hotel in Ninh Binh to buy them for you before you arrive. That is, unless you're staying at the Emeralda Resort as they're likely to add on a massive commission.

Colorado
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7. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

CB- good to know, thank you.

In case we miss it, beside the local buses, which you had terrible experience with, are there any "better buses" like tourist buses that one can get a seat on?

Llanbrynmair...
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8. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

In theory you might be able to get a seat on one of the tourist day trip buses that descend on Tam Coc every day, but if it's a busy time tourist-wise and all the buses are full the journey out there by taxi with your luggage would be for nothing.

Apart from the dreaded local buses (on the positive side I am still alive!) and the equally dangerous open-tour sleeper buses, the only other alternative is to ask your hotel to hire a private car with driver. I think that most of the hotels in town charge about $60 for that transfer, or $65 to Noi Bai Airport.

Colorado
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9. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

thanks again.

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10. Re: Train back from Ninh Binh - what time?

Hi Bhumi,

We had a large van as there were five of us. Price was $100.00.

It took about five hours all up, but our driver got a bit lost trying to find our resort.

(The resort was lovely, but it was a long way out of town. Not sure I would recommend it for that reason alone)