You are planning for a tour to Sapa and the very first thing to make arrangement by yourself is to book train tickets.
There are about 20 train companies running on the route Hanoi - Lao Cai and return, there is not much different between the trains and you will be confused looking at the list of trains to Sapa. Depending on your budget you can find the suitable choice for you, here are some tips to buy train tickets Hanoi to Sapa:
One way fares Hanoi - Lao Cai range from 250,000 VND (12 usd) to 650,000 VND (32 usd) per person depending on the ticket type you select is bed or chair. Please note that train fare Hanoi to Lao Cai does not include meals on board. LC1 is slow train, running daily and stops at most of the stations on the route. LC1 train include the following class:
- Hard seats with or without air conditioning
- Soft seats with or without air conditioning
- Hard sleeper with or without air con on 3 levels
- Soft sleeper with or without air con on 3 levels
- Spare seats
Unless you are travelling on a very low budget passengers are recommended to book soft sleepers or seats, just contact any local travel agent to reserve train tickets to Sapa
Most trains to Sapa only travel in the evening, the first trip departs at 19.40 and the last train starts at 23.00, it takes about 8-10 hours from Hanoi to Lao Cai
There are many trains providing soft sleepers cabins for international tourists such as Livitrans train, King Express, Green Express, Orient Express, Tulico, Dong A express...
Some Vietnamese passengers save their money by booking hard seat and bring with them a small mat or a piece of cloth so that they can spread out under the seat, it's really an interesting and useful experience for passengers.
Sapa is one of the most popular destinations in north Vietnam, a lot of people visit Sapa in Tet (Lunar New Year) or national holidays. Passengers going to Sapa this time are recommended to purchase tickets at least 2 months in advance as you may have to pay double price if you buy tickets close to departure time. Fares at weekends from Friday to Sunday is more expensive than weekdays
Food and drinks are available for sale on train however the choices are pretty simple and passenger need to have dinner before boarding the train or you can buy food to eat in your cabin. Sapa train tickets