Vietnam Railways SPT1/2 is a dedicated train running between Saigon and Phan Thiet offering easy access to Mui Ne, a popular coastal destination in the South Central Coast of Vietnam.
The SPT service is operated by Saigon Railways, the subsidiary of Vietnam Railways in charge of managing the train services in Southern Vietnam. The train SPT1/2 departs from Saigon to Phan Thiet in the morning and returns from Phan Thiet to Saigon in the afternoon. Occasionally, during weekends and public holidays, Saigon Railways puts in operation the special train SPT3/4 to transport more passengers.
Now you can easily book your train tickets in Vietnam with Baolau.
Vietnam Railways train service
Vietnam Railways or DSVN (Đường Sắt Việt Nam) is the state-owned railway operator in Vietnam, providing regional and inter-city services across the national rail network. The main line, North–South, links the two biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, whereas the secondary lines Hanoi–Lao Cai, Hanoi–Quan Trieu, Hanoi–Dong Dang, Hanoi–Ha Long, Hanoi–Hai Phong interconnect Northern Vietnam, and Saigon–Quy Nhon, Saigon–Phan Thiet interconnect Southern Vietnam.
Trains running the Saigon–Phan Thiet railway line depart from Saigon Railway Station and arrive to Phan Thiet Railway Station, stopping in Song Than, Bien Hoa and Binh Thuan stations along the way.
The SPT is the only passenger service that runs the Phan Thiet branch line. Many SE and TN services running the North–South railway line connect Saigon to Binh Thuan, providing an alternative for passengers to drop off and arrange a short taxi ride to Phan Thiet or Mui Ne.
Departure from Saigon
Saigon Railway Station is located in District 3. It is the main railway station serving the city and the terminus station for the North–South railway line and the two secondary lines, Saigon–Quy Nhon and Saigon–Phan Thiet.
Despite the official name of the city was changed to Ho Chi Minh City after the war, the railway station is still called Saigon Station on an official basis. At the entrance we find a monument of an old steam locomotive 141-158 Class, locally made using disassembled models and spare parts from the French colonial period.
The easiest way to get to the station is by taxi, any driver in the Ho Chi Minh will know how to get to Saigon Railway Station. Taxis will drop you in front of the station entrance.
The station has two entrances. The side entrance is frequently used by departing passengers.
It connects with the ticketing office and the seating area, with plenty of shops and restaurants.
The main entrance is frequently used by arriving passengers, as it connects directly with the station hall and most people will use this entrance to exit the station.
The departure hall of Saigon Railway Station is always busy with passengers departing and arriving.
To enter the train platform, passengers must go through the automated gates located at the center. The doors on the sides are used for people exiting the platform.
Since Vietnam Railways introduced the use of electronic tickets in 2015, passengers can either present the physical ticket purchased at the station or the electronic ticket purchased via internet. If you book your train tickets online with Baolau, you will receive the official electronic tickets issued by Vietnam Railways. Passengers can print the e-tickets or carry in the mobile phone or tablet since digital copies are accepted. Your ticket will be scanned before entering the platform, then you can head to your train departing platform.
Platform 1 is just ahead from the station hall. Check your train number on the information board. Today, Platform 1 will be used for the SE8 Reunification Express bound to Hanoi. Our train, the SPT2 bound to Phan Thiet, will depart from Platform 2.
The passageway to cross the tracks and access other train platforms is located at the end.
Two trains are ready to depart from Saigon this morning. On one side we spot the SE8 carrying the mail car at the end of the train, in orange color identified by the logo of Vietnam Post.
To confirm that you are boarding the right train, check the information card on the side of the carriage.
The D13E 713 locomotive arrives few minutes earlier to couple into the SPT2 train. This is one of the mainline single cab locomotives of Saigon Railways made by ALCO in India.
Our train is ready for departure at 06:40 AM.
The SPT1/2 service consists mostly of Soft seat classes, both on single-deck and double-deck coaches.
The 3 double-decker coaches are usually attached at the center of the train.
Right before boarding you have few minutes to buy a Bánh mì sandwhich, snacks or drinks for the journey at the food stalls on the platform. If there is no time, do not worry as there is a restaurant on-board.
Once you are ready to board, find your car number and jump in the train. The coach number is placed with a card in the door.
The Second class coaches are equipped with Soft seats distributed on 2+2 configuration. As the car is Air-Conditioned, the windows remain closed, the light is dim and the interior is quiet.
The seats can recline and are sufficiently comfortable for a journey of few hours. The seats in the center are facing each other and have a table in the middle.
There are many different types of coaches under the same Soft seat class with different configuration.
Washbasins and western-style toilets can be found on board, at the end of every car.
The journey from Saigon to Phan Thiet
The SPT2 train takes 3 hours 50 minutes to complete the journey between Saigon and Phan Thiet.
After leaving Saigon Railway Station, the train will pass through Pham Van Dong railway crossing, the largest railway crossing in Vietnam.
Shortly after, the train will pass by Go Vap Railway Station, serving Go Vap district of Ho Chi Minh although not used for passenger services.
We say goodbye to the motorbike traffic and the chaos of Saigon.
And we cross over the Saigon River on our way to the coast.
The first scheduled stop is Song Than Station, after that the scenery changes from urban landscape and industrial factories to rural area.
Next, the train will stop at Bien Hoa Railway Station, serving Bien Hoa, the capital of Dong Nai province.
Since the railway line consists of a single track, our train must wait for clearance as other opposing trains head to Saigon.
Bien Hoa marks the border of the metropolis area. After that, no more stops in the next 3 hours.
We can relax and enjoy the scenery of the countryside through the window.
At certain time, a push trolley cart will make the round through the coaches, offering drinks and snacks.
For a proper meal, you should head to the restaurant car, located at the frontmost of the train.
Plenty of snacks, cup noodles and drinks are available.
The lunch menu offers Mì xào bò and Phở bò freshly cooked.
Mì xào bò consists of beef and vegetables fried noodles served in a plate.
Phở bò is the classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup served in a bowl.
After 3 hours and 30 minutes, the train will reach Binh Thuan Railway Station, where the Phan Thiet branch line separates from the North–South railway line.
We know we have reached Binh Thuan when we look through the window and see dragon fluit plantations, typical from this province in Southern Vietnam.
The train will continue for another 15 minutes and arrive to Phan Thiet Railway Station around 10:30 AM.
Phan Thiet is the end of the branch line. All passengers must disembark, as the train will be prepared for the return to Saigon in the afternoon.
Arrival to Phan Thiet
Phan Thiet Railway Station is the terminus of the Saigon–Phan Thiet railway line and only serves the SPT services connecting with Ho Chi Minh.
The exit gates are located on both sides of the station building.
Outside the station there are taxis waiting. From here, passengers can transfer to Phan Thiet city center, Ham Tien beach or Mui Ne coastal town.
Departure from Phan Thiet
Having concluded our visit to Phan Thiet, we get back to the station to catch the returning train to Saigon.
There is not much space inside the station building with the ticketing office, a snack stall, and not many seats inside.
For the return journey, we will be using the double-decker coach.
The split of levels inside the double-decker coach are connected by a staircase. Please mind your head as the ceiling of these coaches is lower than the single deck coaches.
The lower level of the double-decker coach.
The seats are in a fixed position and meet in the center. The facing seats are equipped with a table as well.
The upper level of the double-decker coach.
The Journey from Phan Thiet to Saigon
The SPT1 train departs at 13:05 PM and heads to Binh Thuan Railway Station.
After passing Binh Thuan, the train will continue along the North–South railway line towards Saigon.
Enjoying the great views of the countryside from the train.
Surprisingly there are not many passengers onboard the double-decker coach and the journey is very quiet.
Stopping at Song Than Railway Station before reaching the end of the line.
The train enters the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh as it crosses the Saigon River.
Back to the bustle of the city, the evening traffic jam can be seen from the train.
The train arrives to Saigon Railway Station around 17:00 PM, after almost 4 hours of journey.
Arrival to Saigon
Saigon Railway Station is the terminus of the North–South railway line and the Saigon–Phan Thiet railway line. All passengers must disembark and walk to the end of the platform where the passageway to cross the tracks is located.
The D19E locomotive that hauled our train from Phan Thiet is detached and will be coupled with another train.
Right after leaving the platform, the arrival hall connects directly with the main station entrance. Passengers can exit the station and catch a public bus, ride hailing from the mobile phone or get a taxi to other districts of Ho Chi Minh.
How to book your train tickets from Saigon to Phan Thiet
Tickets for the train service between Saigon and Phan Thiet run out pretty quickly, especially on weekends and public holidays as the residents of Ho Chi Minh escape from the bustle and flock to the beach. Ticket booking is available 60-90 days in advance, so we recommend that you book your tickets early to secure your Soft seat once you have sorted out your travel plans.
Baolau lists the train services available, so you can compare and select the most convenient schedule and price.
Fill in the passenger form and select your seat. Proceed to complete the payment before submitting your booking request.
Once your reservation is confirmed, you will receive an email with the electronic tickets attached. The electronic tickets are valid boarding passes, which can be used to board the train at the departure station. Passengers can print the e-ticket in advance or carry a digital copy in the mobile phone or tablet and present it before boarding.