There are various transportations from Hanoi Sapa like train, bus; however the best way for tourists to travel in Sapa is by train.
Type of trains:
To meet the demands of tourists, services providers have repair and decorated the coach with full amenities, air-condition, clean bathroom, beds. Each of coaches has 7 cabins for 4 pax per cabin. This train is tourists train, there are many branches like Victoria, Sapaly, Fansipan, Orient, Tulico, Hara… each of trains run difference schedule time.
One of the most luxury Sapa train is Victoria Express Train, same branch and company with Victoria Resort & Spa. When book ticket of this train, you have to book reservation at Victoria Resor & Spa in Sapa.
Besides tourist trains, you can also choose Reunification Express train. This is the train of Vietnam Railway Company; of course the service of train is not good same as tourist trains, but the price is cheaper.
Types or tickets:
Generally, it can be divided into 4 soft berths cabin, 6 hard berths cabin and soft seat. However, in the hard and soft berth cabin, there have also mattresses. The difference between hard and soft berths cabin is the number of pax and the way to distinguish in Vietnamese. Moreover, for tourist trains, they provide VIP cabin which is for 2 pax in cabin with services included like: more than snack, fruits, soft drink and beer.
Most trains depart from 18:50, 21:10, 21:50 or 22:05 in the evening and arrive in Lao Cai at 3:52, 4:35, 5:25 or 7:10, which means that it takes approximately eight to nine hours per ride. There are also two morning trains that depart at 6:10 and 8:20 and arrive in the afternoon at 15:40 and 17:05. The morning trains (LC train) is for guests who want to view the sightseeing on the way to Sapa
However, because of the hilly terrain, the railway usually is maintained, especially in the rain season. Thus, the arrival time to Sapa/Hanoi will be late some hours with schedule time
Price: Depend on type of train and ticket, the price is different. For tourist trains, the highest price is 153$/soft berth/way for Victoria train and other tourist ones which cost about 42$ – 48$/soft berth/way. In additional, VIP cabin is for 2 pax with whole cabin, thereby price is 172$ – 190$/cabin.
For reunification express train, there are no difference in rates between soft berth and hard berth. It costs about 34$ – 38$. The price will be charged in the high season by head office.
For the modern technology, you can buy ticket on the Internet. You only need choose the website train ticket and choose the train, type of tickets you want. Besides that, you also can buy ticket at travel agency or at train station then get the original ticket (paper ticket) – it‘s just for reunification express train.
If you want to have tourist trains, booking online is the best choice. You will have voucher of train (e-ticket), then bring it to train station at the train company like Sapaly, Orient or Hara to exchange the original ticket (pre-check-in) before 1 hour departure time