Traveling by train in Vietnam is not simply a trip from point A to point B; it’s just as much about the time spent in transit as it is the destination.
At 1,730 kilometers long, the national North-South railway from Hanoi to Saigon is the longest rail route in Vietnam. Once commuters set foot on the transnational track, they’ll spend around 30 hours living, eating and hanging out on the train as they traverse the country.
Vietnam’s aviation industry is one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors, thanks to rising incomes and a growing penchant for domestic travel. A Saigon-Hanoi flight only takes around two hours – a short, fuss-free trip that doesn’t require much human interaction; via train, however, it’s a whole different story.
In a recent photo essay, Zing photographer Tan Ngoc dedicated 30 hours of his life to chronicling the world inside Vietnam’s North-South train cabins.
Travelers on these long-distance trips come from all walks of life: an elderly couple from Hanoi visiting their grandchildren in the south for the first time; weary workers hoping to spend a long weekend in their hometown; and wide-eyed children excited for a vacation. The many hours on the train offer the perfect chance to rub shoulders with Vietnamese from all over the country.
Step into the world of Vietnam’s night trains, courtesy of Zing, below:
Saigoneer & Zing