A warning to beware of the latest scam operating out of Livitrans offices in Lao Cai. Having paid $65 for a soft sleeper, just myself and bicycle, I was asked shortly before the train departed to exchange tickets, being assured that this was an identical berth by the staff from Livitrans.
Having walked to carriage 2 at the very end of the platform and a long way from the offices my bike was put in the luggage carriage, and I then found my "berth" next door.
A hard sleep with 3 other guys who paid less than $15 for the ticket, and were extremely embarassed by what had happened. With nly a few minutes before departure there was little opportunity to return to Livitrans office and get this sorted. So it was an 8 hour overnight trip , quite an adventure, but not what I had paid for.
Have written to Livitrans twice without a reply. Suggest you try another company, or get your ticket from the Station Ticket Office when it opens at 4:30 pm.
(last date took the train - May 6, 2007)
Lao Cai Train Station to Hanoi Train Station
Train Fare: 75,000 dong
Service fee: 7, 000 dong (if bought in the travel agency)
Seat # 1 Car 2
Departure time: 18:45
Arrival time: 4:30 a.m. (next day)
Pumpkin is the 3rd best or 4th best??? I'm not sure. After rennovation last year, the cabins are quite nice following the wooden decorated form make it more cosy & clean.
Run everyday at 10.00pm. Arrives at 6.00 am the next morning. Bread & small bottle of water are supplied in every cabin for free.
Tulico Express is the 2nd bets after Victoria Express. At the carriage number 6 & 7, Tulico has a wooden decorated cabin quite nice & comfortable.
Train runs everyday at 10.00pm - There are 2 carriage 1st class & second class.
One cabin V.I.P available ( 2 berths ).
It is really - headache when deciding which train to take to Lao Cai , or wondering what the soft sleeper or hard sleeper is??? What is the right price you should pay for? Where will you buy tickets.. etc. After times to times promising myself that I will come to the train station & take photos for travellers' reference. I did last week, with the allowance of taking the Victoria Express too ( Thanks to my dear bud ).
1st rule: Dont ever think each name is different train, they are only carriages on the same train.
2nd rule: There is NO PRIVATE TOILET/BATHROOM on the train. Toilet is opened after 5 - 10 minutes when the train leaving the train station.
3rd rule: There is NO BAGGAGE CLAIM at the train station. Mean there is nowhere to leave your luggage at the train station.
The first & the best:
- Victoria Express : Which is absolutely nice and at 4* range. You are welcomed from the train station entrance & guided to the carriage. Victoria Express has private dining carriage.
Right now the train is running on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat from Hanoi at 22:00
Back from Sapa on Tues, Thurs & Sun.
Superior cabin ( 4 berths ) or deluxe ( 2 berths ) is available.
Price different on weekday & weekend. Start from 95$/pax / return superior tickets.
Train tickets only for guests staying at Victoria Sapa Hotel.
For 9:30pm train, you will reach Lao cai at around 5:30 in the next morning.
Tulico tourist will sell the van ticket inside the train station cost 25,000D. The price for van from LaoCai to Sapa is 20,000-25,000D for tourist, standard price. Tulico van is newer and cleaner. However, you can still get a lot of choices outside the Lao Cai train station which cost 20,000D for the same journey.
The van will wait until it filled up before it makes a move to Sapa. Unless you have advance booking for your accomodation, tulico tourist van will drop you at Darling Hotel.
See Accomodation for more..
Train from Hanoi to lao CAi depart on 9:30pm.
Buy the ticket from Hanoi train station.
You have 2 choices, buy the normal train ticket or the tulico train ticket. Tulico is an express train, cost higher of course.
I took the hard sleeper berth, which is 6 berths in a cabin, cost me 146,000 Dong. If you ask me why taking a hard sleeper, besides of budget constraint, it is because I am easily fall asleep regardless of whatever material I sleep on. Thus, soft sleeper or hard sleeper makes no different for me.
The train tooks 8 hours to reach Lao Cai. Around 8 hours travelling time.
You can take a train from Hanoi to Sapa. Its better to take an overnight train cos it will take you about 8 hours to get there.
We bought a package and they picked us up from the travel agency and dropped us off at the train station. Then when we got off the train, we would be gathered into a bus..And we would be off up to the mountain where the Sapa town was...
Many people buy a tour cos its cheap. With a package, there will be an accomodation, meals and 2 treks included.
The night train fron Hanoi to LaoCai is the most reasonable way to get there. We took the soft slleper, but none of us (6 people) could realy sleep. Leaving around 9p.m. it gives you the opoprtunity to spend the whole day in Hanoi, arive in LaoCai very early in the morning (5-6 a.m.) The road to Sapa is not very good (to say the least) so the 40 km' takes about 2 hours. After setteling in your accomodation, you have the whole day to visit Sapa, especialy the beautifull market around
For more comfortable journey up to northern,
its advisable to take night train,soft berth U$20, with a bottle of drinking water n bread provided. this train will proceed up to kunming, china.