Considering booking The Vietage? My friend, Alyshia, and I had the opportunity to work with Anantara to check out this luxury train ride in Vietnam for ourselves, so I wrote a little guide to help you decide!
Ever since its launch last summer (2020), I knew I wanted to try this ride at least once! Aiming to bring back some old school glamour to transportation, The Vietage is an exclusive carriage onboard the Vietnam Railways train that travels six hours between Da Nang and Quy Nhon. Did I maybe starting imagining a bunch of romantic images based on a number of historical movies when I read about it? Absolutely!
Between the two of us, I think Alyshia and I have experienced almost all the ways to get around in Vietnam: soft sleeper train, soft seater train (long story), many, many sleeper buses, one or two private shuttles, hundreds of motorbike rides, Grab carrides, a boat or two, and a few Mai Linh taxis here and there. All of them, no matter how nice, were ultimately about getting from Point A to Point B as quickly and smoothly as possible.
The Vietage aims to take it a step further and make the journey between Da Nang and Quy Nhon feel less like a fancy train ride and more like an experience all in itself.
I broke this post down into three sections: the parts of the Vietage (so you can get a visual of the carriage), some things to know for those you looking for some quick answers, and our experience so you can get an idea of what to expect. Enjoy!
The Parts of the Vietage
The interior of the Vietage is all about simple elegance inspired by Indochina. It was designed by Hoang Le Ha, director of ShapeUs Studio in HCMC, who also handled Anantara Hoi An’s 2018 renovation and the design of its art space restaurant.
When you board, you’ll see it’s split between three parts: the area with the rooms, the bar, and then on the further end, the bathroom and massage room.
The rooms of the Vietage make up the first section. There are six in total, three on each side, and they each seat two people at a table. Each room is divided with locally-sourced rattan walls and contain a table and two comfortable seats in earthy colors. At night, they can turn into one sleeper booth. Underneath each seat, they have a little basket with a neck pillow, eye mask, blanket, and slippers. And, yes, if you need to work, there are plugs right under the table and wifi onboard.
For those that want to stretch their legs a bit, you can always go out to the bar area in the middle of the carriage. The semi-circular bar is made of black inox marble with and has a few leather seats around, making it a nice spot for socializing. There are magazines on either side and, a lovely Réhahn photo overlooks the room.
The Massage & Bathroom Area
One the other end of the bar sits the bathroom and a room where you’ll go for your head and shoulder massage. I didn’t actually have to use the bathroom on our trip, but Alyshia did and gave her stamp of approval. The massage room is lovely — simple with some music playing and the chair itself.
9 Things to Expect Booking The Vietage
1. It only runs twice a day
The Vietage runs twice a day, from Da Nang – Quy Nhon and from Quy Nhon – Da Nang. I recommend taking the train from Da Nang – Quy Nhon so you can take in the sights and fully enjoy the ride in the daylight. If you take the night train, you’ll arrive in Da Nang around 2 AM, so it’s quite late.
2. It is NOT a separate train
It is not a separate train, which is why it can’t control the times it leaves. This also means you will board the train from the normal stations, but there will be someone to assist you on both ends and take care of your luggage.
3. There are only max 12 spots available
From Da Nang – Quy Nhon, there are a total of 12 spots available in 6 rooms. Since the rooms can convert into sleeper booths from Quy Nhon – Da Nang, there may be even less availability. For example, if everyone booked a sleeper booth, there’d actually only be 6 spots!
4. You MAY still get a little motion sickness
It’s still a train ride, so if you tend to get motion sickness, you might still experience it even here. I will say I got a bit of a headache towards the middle of the journey, which is normal for me on train or bus rides. If you go to the pharmacy beforehand, you can pick up some motion sickness pills.
5. You pick your menu before boarding
When you book, you’ll be able to pick your menu. Here’s the current one, and I’ll get into what we ate below!
6. The meal is served a few hours into the ride
So my initial thinking was that I wouldn’t eat breakfast so I could fully enjoy the meal on The Vietage. But actually, I’m glad I woke up early to eat at Anantara Hoi An since our meal wasn’t served until around lunch time. They do have some pastries when you first board as well as free flow drinks, but still — you’ll want to get up early enough to grab something to eat!
7. What’s are the options for free flow?
For free flow, the Vietage offers quite a few drinks including beer, craft beer, wine, soft drinks, La Folliet, an ethically-sourced coffee in Vietnam, Nordaq Water, an eco-friendly and sustainable water brand, and an assortment of teas. I had to do a double take when I saw they offered a “Fairview Goats do Roam” Rosé from the Western Cape in South Africa because that sounded awfully familiar! Sure enough, I’d visited this winery when I visited Lynsey way back in 2017.
Anyway, for an extra cost The Vietage also offers specialty wines, champagnes, caviar, and a cheese platter.
8. What else is included
Underneath your seat, you’ll find a neck pillow, blanket, and slippers so you really can get comfortable on your journey.
Every ticket also includes a complimentary 20-minute head and shoulder massage.
9. Costs & offers
You can always check current prices here. As of now, the prices are:
- Da Nang – Quy Nhon: $225 USD
- Quy Nhon – Da Nang: $185 USD
- Quy Nhon – Da Nang Sleeper: $235 USD
When it comes to offers, they have a few accommodation offers combing The Vietage and Anantara’s Hoi An and Quy Nhon properties. Check here to see them all.
We had such a lovely time aboard The Vietage. This was both our first times doing anything like this, and let me tell you there’s definitely a difference between a train ride and a luxury train experience. Here’s how our journey went!
We left Anantara Hoi An around 8:00 AM to make it to Da Nang train station before the train’s scheduled departure at 9:20 AM. They recommended leaving around this time in case of traffic.
We luckily had no traffic and arrived with time to spare. There’s no separate boarding, so we waited in the main area for the train’s host to find us. I forgot to write down the name of ours, but he was lovely!
After boarding and finding your pre-assigned seats, our host took our drink orders. Shortly after the train departed, he came back with our drinks and some pastries. We also chose our time slots for our head and shoulder treatments, opting to go later in the ride.
Watching the Views
We nibbled on our pastries, sipped our drinks, and just enjoyed the views for a bit. Central Vietnam is quite beautiful, and at the time we went was nice and green! Put your headphones on and listen to music while watching the many rice fields and villages pass by (I’m very much obsessed with Vitamin String Quartet at the moment).
Checking out the Bar
After a little while, Alyshia and I decided to stretch our legs and check out the bar. It’s stocked with plenty of drinks and snacks if you’re hungry, and just a nice place to chill if you don’t want to be in your compartment the whole time.
I’m also just imagining how lively the bar would be if you booked all 12 slots of The Vietage, so it was you and your friends roaming about the carriage vs you and other strangers. Like you could play your own music, mingle with each other, and spend most of your time here!
Three-Course Gourmet Dining
Probably the highlight of our luxury train ride was the food. It was definitely the thing I was most looking forward to as usually when it comes to trains, I’m snacking on something from the convenience store.
Executive Chef Geert-Jan Vaartjes has created a gourmet menu designed to incorporate both Vietnamese and French elements for The Vietage, and you can see it in each of their offerings. Ours came maybe three to three and a half hours in and each dish was delicious.
For the first course, I chose the Quy Nhon Seafood Salad and Alyshia chose the foie gras terrine and duck confit. The salad consists of green papaya, carrot, mint, and seafood tossed with some sweet and sour fish sauce while the foie gras terrine and duck confit is served on brioche and includes onions from Ly Son Island and pepper from Phu Quoc. I think if you want something a bit more refreshing, the seafood salad is the perfect starter, and if you want something more savory, you’ll love the foie gras.
When we were picking our meals, there was also a green bean & quinoa salad option made with lemongrass tofu, peanuts, and Hoi An chili sauce if that sounds more up your alley!
The mains! I chose the salmon filet for mine, and Alyshia chose the braised wagyu neck for hers. My salmon was served with charred asparagus and micro herbs with a lemongrass and roasted chili beurre blanc. Alyshia’s braised wagyu neck is served with shredded carrots and zucchini in green tea with a sesame jus. Yum!
The third option on ours was also a barley risotto served with king mushrooms, shaved asparagus, dried tomatoes, and pesto!
To cap off our meal, we each chose the crème brulée made with 70% single terroir Dong Nai chocolate. Such a perfectly rich treat to end with! You can also choose a passion fruit tart made with dragon fruit compote & meringue or strawberries from Da Lat served with coconut yoghurt and Vietnamese basil.
We saved our massages til closer to the end, which I highly recommend doing. By the last hour or so, you’ll have probably drifted off a bit, so the massage is the perfect way to finish. It’s a really lovely 20-minute head and shoulder treatment that’ll work out the kinks and round off the trip nicely.
One Last Treat
Right before it was time to arrive at Dieu Tri Railway Station, we had the cutest little send-off in the form of a dark chocolate train! The treat is made from a Da Nang-based chocolatier and made of Vietnamese cacao beans and 72% dark chocolate.
And there you have it! All about The Vietage and this little luxury experience traveling in Vietnam. Definitely one of those bucket list moments, I’ll be telling everyone about. Barring any delays, you should arrive in Quy Nhon around 3:30/4:00, and then if you want to continue on to Anantara Quy Nhon, it’s another hour.
Have you been aboard a luxury train ride? What did you think?
for more on vietnam
This country is a lot bigger than people expect! When planning your trip to Vietnam, I recommend breaking it up into north, central, and south. Northern Vietnam is known for is stunning landscapes like Sapa with minority tribes like the Red Dzao, the limestone islets of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, the lesser known Mu Cang Chai, and the caves of Phong Nha. If you visit, your main city base will be the capital of Hanoi.
Moving towards central Vietnam your main city will probably be Da Nang, which is where the intriguing Marble Mountains are. There’s a ton of picturesque history in this region from the royal city of Hue where you can stay at the historic Azerai La Residence, Hoi An where you can get things tailor-made and stay at the lovely Anantara Hoi An, quirky Dalat in the Central Highlands, and the very cool Mui Ne and Phan Thiet where you can chill by the pool at Anantara Mui Ne.
Down south, there’s a ton of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, the main hub here. Start with District 1, which has most of the main tourist attractions as well as a lot of cool gems like Little Japan. Then branch out to the temples of Cho Lon and District 5, the pool cafes and foreign restaurants of Thao Dien, or the fun spots around District 3, Binh Thanh, and District 10. Move further south to the Mekong Delta, either on a day trip or for a slower visit to one of its cities like Vinh Long or Can Tho. Don’t miss the islands like Phu Quoc or Con Dao either!