Hanoi shut down its Instagram-famous ‘train street’ cafes because they were overrun with selfie-taking tourists. Here’s how it got to this point.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

  • Vietnamese government officials asked cafes along Hanoi’s Instagram-famous “train street” to shut down by October 12.
  • The tourist hotspot is known for its single train track that runs perilously close to local homes and cafes.
  • It drew so many tourists that the government called it a hazard, necessitating the shutdown of the tourist-friendly cafes.
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Hanoi, Vietnam is shutting down its infamous “train street” in the city’s Old Quarter.

The Hanoi municipal government and its local transit authority had ordered cafes strewn alongside the train tracks to close on October 12, CNN reported.

The area has a still-functioning 117-year-old railway track that divides a street full of homes and cafes on either side, according to Reuters. But as of late, the now Instagram-famous street has become a hub for selfie-obsessed tourists looking for the perfect social media photo post.

Read more: A picturesque car-free village in the Netherlands is being overrun by tourists and ‘nuisance perpetrators’

The cafe closure announcement was made on October 6, one day after a train had to make an emergency stop and be rerouted because there were too many tourists on the train tracks.

“Though the railway cafes attract tourists, they are, in fact, violating some regulations,” Vice Chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu told the media on October 9.

Check out “train street” during its heyday, full of cafes, camera-wielding tourists, and people standing dangerously close to moving trains:


The visual contrast of the single train track to homes and cafes has made Hanoi’s “train street” a tourist hotspot.

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Kate OMalley/Getty

Tourists have been taking photos of themselves standing or sitting on the train tracks.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

They also line up dangerously on the side of the tracks, waiting to snag a photo of the passing trains.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Residential homes, vendors, and cafes line the side of the streets.


Some of the houses are about five to 16 feet away from the tracks.

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MeogiaPhoto/Getty

Several cafes have set up tables and chairs alongside the railroad tracks.

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Michael Sugrue/Getty

There was even a cafe along the tracks named after the attraction: “Hanoi Rail Track Café.”

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

The cafe claims to have, “a great location, an impeccable space, (and serve) quality coffee,” according to its Facebook page.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Shops in the area started capitalizing on its tourist-riddled location.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Along with the cafe closure demands, authorities have put up barriers to block the walking paths.

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Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images

Signs along the tracks now tell tourists and locals to not linger in the area, gather a crowd, take photos or videos, or have chairs and tables out along the railroad tracks, Reuters reported.

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Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Reuters


The railway was built in 1902 when Vietnam was still controlled by French colonial rulers, according to Tempo.

Source: Tempo


It was once known as a “rough part of town” until the area started gaining social media fame, according to the Guardian.

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Serena Zambelli/Getty

Source: The Guardian


The trains carry passengers and cargo between Hanoi, Haiphong and secluded and mountainous towns such as Lang Son and Lao Cai.


“There have never been any regretful accidents here,” local cafe owner Le Tuan Anh told The Guardian. He runs his shop from his home next to the tracks.

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Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian