As the global perspective on leisure travel recalibrates following an extended pause, slow travel is emerging as a beguiling option. Offering an unhurried pace for more in-depth discoveries, this form of travel serves as a welcome sanctuary from the world's accelerating tempo, as we gradually return to pre-pandemic normalcy. In line with the time-honoured saying, slow travel isn’t about the destination – it’s all about the journey.

Unveiling the elegance of slow travel: The Vietage odyssey

Taking the concept of opulent travel to heart, The Vietage offers a luxurious railway experience through the scenic vistas of central Vietnam. Initially conceived for the exclusive clientele of Anantara resorts in Hoi An and Quy Nhon, this 12-seater carriage is seamlessly integrated with the Reunification Express, which traverses the distance between Ho Chi Minh City Saigon and Hanoi. 

While the train service originally debuted in 2000, it faced a temporary hiatus due to the global pandemic. Operations joyfully resumed in April 2022, positioning The Vietage as an attraction in Vietnam only a select few have heard about.

Interior of The Vietage train showing a private booth and a view of the station outside the window. Interior of The Vietage train showing a private booth and a view of the station outside the window.

The Vietage is Vietnam’s only luxury train service, going between Danang and Quy Ngon. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Navigating through Vietnam’s scenic canvas: a voyage in grandeur

Clad in woven rattan and soft upholstery, The Vietage is a plush invite for those seeking such slow escapes – particularly if you’re looking for unique things to do in Vietnam. 

It takes you on a six-hour ride through the central landscapes of Vietnam, passing provinces like Quang Nam and Quang Ngai before reaching the coastal city of Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh. Along the way, you will see breathtaking scenes of paddy fields, lotus lakes and long mountains, interrupted by small pockets of township where locals buzz through on their motorbikes. This leisurely voyage captures the essence of romantic train travel through its charming local vignettes, serving as a quintessential and picturesque chapter in any Vietnam itinerary.

View of a booth seat and train station vendors outside the windows. View of a booth seat and train station vendors outside the windows.

Travellers can expect an unadulterated view of the passing scenery through central Vietnam. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Boasting a thoughtfully-planned journey with curated experiences on board, the luxury train truly lived up to its promise. From dedicated staff greeting you at the railway station to guide you aboard, to small service touches like welcome drinks and pastries, every segment of the rail ride felt expertly tailored to elevate the experience.

The attentive, butler-like approach was not only a delightful treat at the Danang station but proved indispensable at Quy Nhon for the return trip, where the lack of English signage and announcements could otherwise have been a barrier for non-Vietnamese speakers. What stood out most, however, was the impeccable balance the staff maintained throughout the six-hour journey – offering assistance without ever becoming intrusive, a hallmark of truly intuitive service.

Interior of The Vietage along the aisle with the bar in the background. Interior of The Vietage along the aisle with the bar in the background.

The refurbished cabin leads inward to an endless bar in the luxury train. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Upon boarding, I was gracefully escorted to my assigned seat, which was part of a thoughtfully designed configuration: six pairs of generous, face-to-face seats, divided evenly on either side of the cabin. A small table situated between each pair of seats provided just enough distance for privacy among strangers while also allowing for intimate conversations between couples and friends. Enhancing this sense of seclusion, woven rattan screens tastefully separated each seating area. Under each seat, a comprehensive amenity kit awaited, complete with a blanket, neck pillow, slippers, eye masks, and even a compact freshening-up kit.

An amenity opened to reveal a neck pillow and eye mask. An amenity opened to reveal a neck pillow and eye mask.

An amenity kit below the soft seats aboard the luxury train offered comfort items such as a neck pillow, eye mask, slippers, toothbrush, toothpaste. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Designing personal havens: the art of travel perfected

Positioned at the very heart of the cabin, the bar serves as an inviting haven for guests, offering an endless flow of meticulously crafted beverages. While gourmet meals are conveniently served at your comfortable seat, you have the flexibility to enjoy drinks either there or at the bar – a lively locus for social interaction and engaging conversations with the amiable staff.

On the return trip, I was particularly delighted to engage in enlightening conversations with Tien and Thao. Both were more than happy to offer insights into the provinces we passed through, as well as to share their own personal experiences. The cabin's design includes windows that span its entire length, ensuring you won't miss any of the captivating scenery even as you indulge in delightful banter or sip your drinks. To my pleasant surprise, nestled within this gently traversing haven, I encountered some of the best cocktails in Vietnam. Observing the staff meticulously muddle and finesse each creation, while savouring the complex flavours against the backdrop of the passing landscape, elevated the experience to something truly incomparable.

A staff of The Vietage looks out of the windows from the bar as the bartender prepares a drink. A staff of The Vietage looks out of the windows from the bar as the bartender prepares a drink.

The bar on the luxury train serves up craft cocktails, beers, wines, and an enviable list of coffee specialties. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

At various moments during the journey, I would find myself relishing specially-prepared meals right at my seat. Concocted by the resort's expert chefs and freshly prepared onboard, the sumptuous three-course menu showcased local ingredients, creating an intimate connection with the region's unique terroir. It was, without a doubt, a dining experience that will remain etched in my memory.

A close-up of Braised Wagyu Neck for lunch A close-up of Braised Wagyu Neck for lunch

The inclusive three-course meal is lovingly prepared by resort chefs and plated by staff of The Vietage. Here is the Braised Wagyu Neck with Shredded Carrots, Zucchini and Green Tea, with Sesame Jus. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Selecting a drink from the speciality menu proved to be a challenge, thanks to its comprehensive range of both international and local flavours. Find regional beers, effervescent bubblies, wines and spirits, the selection also included a tea and coffee menu that could easily outclass any cafe. Among these myriad choices, The Cafe Tonic emerged as a transformative experience for

A close-up of a coffee drink on the table. A close-up of a coffee drink on the table.

Feel free to pair the free-flow of drinks onboard The Vietage with the passing scenery. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Just when you believe the experience has reached its peak, a 30-minute massage awaits you at a time slot tailored to your preference. Conveniently located beyond the bar and before the train's connecting corridor, the intimate therapy room is staffed by a skilled onboard masseur. Settle into the ergonomic massage chair, close your eyes, and let the combination of the train's gentle rocking and the therapist's expert touch lull you into profound relaxation. It's as if you've been invited to indulge in a spacation, without ever leaving the comfort of the train.

A scene of rice fields with trees and mountains in the distance. A scene of rice fields with trees and mountains in the distance.

Enjoy a mix of sceneries, from rice fields and mountains to small townships in central Vietnam. (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

A confluence of luxuries: beyond the monetary value

At a one-way ticket price of US$350 (approximately S$500), The Vietage offers unparalleled value, particularly when compared to other luxurious train experiences. This wonderful journey serves as an idyllic scenic escape through Vietnam's less-explored regions, complete with an inclusive three-course gourmet meal, a free flow of fine wines, crafted cocktails, and other beverages. Add to that a soothing massage and a series of delightful surprises, which I'll leave for you to discover. Although six hours might initially seem lengthy, the duration felt fleeting amidst the captivating scenery of Vietnam. Even on the return trip, when the evening concealed the vistas, my enriching conversations with the attentive staff continued to make the experience deeply engaging and memorable.

A plate of pastries with a beverage sits on the table by the seats. A plate of pastries with a beverage sits on the table by the seats.

Butler service, an extensive menu, picturesque sceneries in Vietnam - what more could one ask for? (Photo: Morgan Awyong)

Setting a new benchmark for Vietnam’s train travel: a legacy in the making

Although Vietnam may not traditionally be celebrated for its railway services – given that the century-old Reunification Express has seen minimal upgrades – The Vietage by Anantara presents a paradigm shift. This train experience is a national treasure in the making, offering unmatched luxury that promises to redefine perceptions of rail travel within this enchanting country.


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Best time to visit
The best time to visit Vietnam largely depends on what you want to see and do. While the country is delightful year-round, the dry season from December to April is often considered the most comfortable for travelling. This period is excellent for all kinds of activities and offers the clearest skies and pleasant temperatures.

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). You can buy currencies at real-time exchange rates and collect your currencies at Changi Airport using Changi Recommends FX.

Getting around Vietnam is relatively straightforward, with options ranging from taxis and buses in the cities to domestic flights for long distances. Trains are also a romantic and scenic way to travel, especially if you're considering The Vietage for an unforgettable and luxurious railway experience.

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