Shipping a motorbike by train is possible in Vietnam. Nearly any town along the coastline has a train station where the service is possible. In this article, we are going to explain how to do it, as well as talking about the pros and cons of using the train within a motorbike journey across Vietnam.
How long does the train take
Most train services offer an overnight journey for passengers, and it is possible to book a sleeper bed. Post Corona Virus, the motorbike does not go on the same train as the passenger. It takes between two or three days for the motorbike to show up for short journeys. Long journeys such as Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi are between four and ten days. The exception to the rule where the motorbike goes with the passenger is between Ho Chi Minh and Mui Ne. Also, Hanoi and Lao Cai. These two lines require booking and arranging in advance.
The train cost
For a motorbike 150cc and below, the train is around $50 for a one-way journey. Above 150cc and the price can goes to $75 and above. The train line prices are variable and dependant on season and public holidays. It is impossible to give an accurate quote for transporting a motorbike by train.
When dropping your motorbike at a train station, the prices are non-negotiable. When picking up your motorbike at its final destination, you can expect to pay an extra 50,000 to 100,000vnd for the unloading fee. This feels like an unnecessary scam, but it is part of the process, and you can’t fight it.
Trains do not always run on time
- The train company can delay sending the motorbike without warning.
- The train company may damage the motorbike, they will not pay.
- The train is not the cheapest way of getting around, and prices continue to rapidly increase.
- The train is a large government organization, they are not interested in negotiations, tricks or your potential complaints.
Trains that take the bike with you
Hanoi to Lao Cai: The motorbike always goes with you.
Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet (Mui Ne): The motorbike always goes with you.
Nha Trang to Danang: The motorbike can be arranged to go with you, if booking 2-3 days in advance.
Dong Hoi to Hanoi: The Se22 train takes the bike with you, however it departs at 12pm at night and arrives 5pm in Hanoi.
There aren’t too many steps; we just break them down one by one to make your life easier.
Shipping Steps at the train station
Before You Go to the train station:
- Make sure to have your Passport, blue card (motorcycles ownership documents), cell phone number, and an address to where you will be staying on the other end.
- The train station will empty the gas station, so don’t head there with a full tank.
- Ride your bike to the train station noting the opening times are usual business hours, typically from 7am-5pm. Often workers will be on lunch break from 11:30am-1:30pm. It’s best to go in the morning to book the bike for the train. It is not possible to book in advance on the internet.
At the train station
- Go to the train station in the morning to book the bike for the evening. The earlier you go, the more likely there is space.
- Find the luggage department to book the bike on the train = phong hanh ly
- After booking the motorbike, go to the ticket office and book the ticket yourself.
Dealing With The Train Agent
- In the office, you will usually find a woman handling all of the documentation. She will have a list of cities and pricing options for shipping your motorcycle. Motorbike Types: xe số=manual / xe ga=automatic
- Once the pricing is organized, you can clarify how much time it will take so you know when to expect the bike. Allowing an extra day for delays is wise for any adventure holiday.
- Keep the receipts they give you. They can help in the pickup process.
Paperwork at the train station
- The boys in the blue pajamas working in the shipping yard will prep and pack your motorcycle for transport at the station. Here they check and note for any damage already on the bike to avoid any liability claimed for damages during shipping.
- Next, all fuel will be siphoned from your tank. As mentioned earlier, keep the amount low.
- Often your mirrors will be removed and stored under the seat to avoid them breaking. Your bike will then be wrapped in protective layers of anything from blankets, cardboard, plastic, and so on to prevent it from being damaged.
- Finally, a wooden crate is built around the bike to make it easier to ship and protect the plastics from any damages.
Picking up your motorbike from the train station
- The freight company should call you when it arrives. If you haven’t heard from them by the day after the bike’s scheduled arrival, it’s best to show up in person, assuming the bike is there.
- Ask the handlers where the closest fuel station is, trạm xăng in Vietnamese. Or point at your fuel tank looking concerned, and they’ll know what you need.
Advantages of using the train to ship a motorbike
- Using the train allows you to skip out sections of the country to save time.
- Although the train can damage the motorbike, it is the safest form of transporting the motorbike around.
- It is possible to ship the motorbike back to Tigit Motorbikes with the train. We will charge a $10 pickup fee, but ultimately the contract is over, and you are free to walk away from your motorbike!
- The train is great at the end of your journey to get rid of the motorbike. However, there are too many logistic variables to reliably use the train mid-journey or at the start of a journey.
Disadvantages of using the train to ship a motorbike
- No online booking platform means that the only way to book a motorbike on the train is to go to the train station in the morning. If you wish to travel on the train, you will ultimately kill an entire day while you wait for the evening train.
- The train can be delayed leaving you with no motorbike.
- There is a lot of logistics that go into organizing a passenger and a motorbike on the train. It is usually faster to drive.
- The train has become increasingly more expensive through the years.