Lonely Planet Names Vietnam’s Reunification Express the World’s Most Incredible Rail Journey

Vietnam's North-South Railway, which runs between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is renowned for its popularity among travelers in Southeast Asia.

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Lonely Planet, the world-renowned travel guide, has named Vietnam National Railway’s journey the most incredible rail trip in the world. With its stunning landscapes, breathtaking views, and unique cultural experiences, it’s no wonder why this railway is so highly regarded by travelers.

The magazine said that the 1,730-kilometer journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City offers an unforgettable experience for visitors, showcasing the nation’s breathtakingly diverse landscapes. It is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Vietnam.

“Some railways rattle through historic cities; others swoosh beside spectacular coastlines. A few have an epic history, and one or two are remarkable for the colorful characters onboard. But the Reunification Express line, known as the North–South Railway, stands apart – fulfilling all these criteria and more.”, it stated.

The iconic railway of Southeast Asia is renowned for its exquisite overnight train journeys, making it a must-see destination for travelers from around the world. Vietnam’s railway is also a highlight of the country’s tourism, drawing in visitors from near and far to marvel at its beauty and experience the unique culture it has to offer. Whether it’s a short journey or an extended stay, the railway is sure to provide an unforgettable journey through Vietnam’s stunning landscape.

 Vietnam’s North-South Railway ranks as the world’s most incredible rail journey. Photo: Lonely Planet 

Regarding tourism, data from Agoda showed that Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia are the top choices for Indian tourists. There is a drive to develop unique cultural tourism products for this market, as Vietnam is home to cultural works and the Champa and Sa Huynh cultures, which have been influenced and exchanged with the ancient Indian culture.

According to statistics, from January 2019 to mid-May of this year, Indian tourists’ searches for hotels and flights to Vietnam have surged by 390%, followed by Singapore with 215% and Thailand with 147%.

“Vietnam is now one of the top five destinations for Indian tourists,” declared Omri Morgenshtern, CEO of the booking platform Agoda, in a recent interview with CNBC Travel. He added that the country has seen a surge in popularity among the Indian population.

 Tourists visit Po Nagar Cham Tower in the coastal beach city of Nha Trang, the southern province of Khanh Hoa. Photo: Hoai Nam/ The Hanoi Times

Vietnam is estimated to have welcomed nearly 4.6 million foreign tourists in the first five months of 2023, exceeding 57% of its annual target of eight million international arrivals.

The latest report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows that the country is fully capable of meeting and exceeding its tourism targets with the current growth in tourist arrivals and promotional efforts.

The rich culture and history, diverse landscapes, and excellent infrastructure of Vietnam make it an ideal destination for foreign tourists, according to the Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ha Van Sieu. With its vibrant culture, captivating history, and stunning landscapes, the country is well-equipped to offer visitors an unforgettable experience.

The majority of arrivals to Vietnam were Asians, with over 3.4 million. South Korea was the largest source of visitors to Vietnam, with over 247,500 arrivals, followed by China and Japan.

South Korean visitors to Nha Trang on the rise. Photo: Trung Nhan/The Hanoi Times

To boost the flow of visitors to Vietnam and aid the economy, Vietnamese lawmakers have proposed extending the validity of e-visas for foreign visitors from 30 days to 60-90 days. This current limit is shorter than those of other Southeast Asian nations, therefore the amendment would allow multiple entries instead of a single entry, giving potential visitors more flexibility and opportunity to explore the beauty of Vietnam.

Ha Van Sieu also underlined: “With the government’s continued focus on tourism promotion and infrastructure development, the country is well-positioned to attract even more visitors in the years to come.”

In 2019, Vietnam saw a record of 19 million foreign visitors, outpacing Thailand’s 25 million. However, the global pandemic of Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on Vietnam’s tourism industry, with only 60% of the target of five million international visitors by 2022 achieved.