We took the overnight Violette express train from Hanoi to Hue seems to be a replacement to the Livitrans. It’s not a train but a separate rail car attached to the regular service, in our case the SE1 overnight from Hanoi to Hue.
The compartments are upgraded four-berth soft sleepers and come with a few extras – a small bottle of water, a wafer biscuit, a banana and a face towel for each person in the compartment. They also provide sheets, blanket, and pillow. The beds are rather hard. Charging plugs are provided in each carriage.
The toilets and wash basins are at the end of each carriage, a Western-style bathroom at one end and a local version at the other. There is also a hot and cold water dispenser in the carriage. In our case, the toilet paper ran out during the night but was eventually replaced.
A there a menu and cooked food can be bought which is delivered to you plus there is a snacks trolley that moves up and down through the train occasionally. Prices are generally what you’d expect to pay on the street.
It appears the people to allocate the seating will try and put the Europeans with Europeans and the locals with locals. On our journey, all the berths seemed only to have Europeans, but the adjoining carriage was filled with locals.
The cost is $75.00 which is pretty steep by local standards, but it’s not much more than the price of the soft-sleeper. It’s not the Orient Express, but it’s the experience that counts, and it did leave on time and pulled into Hue precisely as scheduled.
Source: Jvdv001 / Melbourne, Australia – TripAdvisor