Rail Line Hanoi - Lao Cai (Sapa)
The total time of the journey by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) is 8 hours. Once arrive by train to Lao Cai, located 40 kilometers from Sapa, is necessary to catch a bus or private transport to get to Sapa.
Night Train to Sapa
The night trains are the best way to go to Sapa from Hanoi. The railway line which covers the route Hanoi Lao Cai (Sapa) has night trains both to go to Sapa, as to return from Sapa to Hanoi, allowing us to save us 2 nights at a hotel and get more out of the trip to Vietnam to visit more cities on our route.
Coach of Lao Cai to Sapa
The buses that depart from Lao Cai with destination to Sapa have their starting point in Lao Cai bus station (just opposite the railway station) and stop at Sapa post office (calle Thach Son No. 6).
The price of the ticket of bus from Lao Cai to Sapa are 3€ per person and route. The distance to cover is 40 km and it takes 1 hour to get to Sapa.
To return from Sapa to Lao Cai, buses leave from the church of Sapa and stop at the bus station of Lao Cai (right across from the train station of Lao Cai).
Private transportation from Lao Cai to Sapa
Just at the exit of the Lao Cai train station we can find many mini-buses and taxis that will take us up to Sapa, his average price around 25€ / journey and although it takes virtually the same which bus, it can be a valid alternative if you are traveling in a group of several people.
Companies train to Sapa
The path train to Sapa is the most in demand by tourists and which has greater variety of railway companies, for a total of 16 companies of trains be exact: 15 more private railway companies the Vietnamese national train company called Vietnam Railways.
Each train company offers different wagons, classes, schedules and prices. The average price of a train ticket is around 20€ each way in economy class and can climb up to the 60€ for first class tickets in a private compartment.
Here we tell you a bit more about the various railway companies to travel to Sapa:
Vietnam Railways is the national company of trains in Vietnam, so to speak the Vietnamese Renfe. It's the cheapest train company to move us to Sapa. Vietnam railways has daytime trains and night trains.
There are only seats for daytime trains (there is no possibility of beds), the night trains have compartments for 6 people with bed and air conditioning.
Livitrans Express Train railway company is the most modern and most luxurious train company that covers the journey to Sapa. Specifically the line to Sapa, Livitrans was inaugurated in 2007.
Livitrans trains are composed of 9 cars with different classes able to accommodate 350 passengers. Where can opt for seats, bed sleeps 4 compartments and compartments VIP bed for 2 people (all of them with air conditioning and LCD TV). The bathroom is shared and is located at the end of each wagon. Livitrans trains also have restaurant.
Livitrans is the most convenient option, luxurious and more suitable for European standards to which a tourist is accustomed.
Victoria Sapa trains cover the journey to Sapa 6 days per week. Its trains have 2 cars bed (12 compartments in total with capacity for 2 to 4 people each), the rest of the train is composed of 48 seats. The victory, like Livitrans trains, have 1 dining car.
This train compartments have air conditioning and a shared bathroom down the hall.
There are only 2 cars bed, it is convenient to advance booking to be eligible for these compartments.
Victoria Sapa is a good alternative to Livitrans, however these trains belong to the hotel chain called Victoria Resort and perhaps put drawbacks when it comes to book the train if we have not hired the hotel with them.
Tulico Train company trains are not the most luxurious, but a good is alternative low-cost Livitrans and Victoria.
Tulico train have qualities and standards Vietnamese, but have compartments with bed for 2 persons (only there 2 compartments, which can be difficult to find tickets) and compartments for 4 people, all of them with air conditioning and a shared bathroom.
These bed wagons are aimed at tourists and although they don't have the quality and luxury of the previous companies, it is a very valid way to go by train to Sapa with a good value for money.
Royal Sapa trains have 2 cars bed with compartments with capacity for 4 people, fitted with air conditioning and LCD TV in the VIP compartments. The bathroom is shared.
Cao Son Express
Cao are trains have a colonial air without great luxuries. It has 3 classes: 7 compartments of economy class (sleeps 6), 7 compartments (sleeps 4) luxury class and 13 compartments of high-class (sleeps 2). Bed compartments are equipped with air conditioning and television. The bathroom is shared.
ET Pumpkin Express
ET Pumpkin Express company has trains whose interior is made of wood. These trains have cars with beds, air conditioning and bathroom.
Pumpkin defines its trains as 3 stars hotels. The compartments are for 4 people, where there are 2 kinds: normal class and VIP class. We recommend the VIP compartments even if its price is double that of the normal.
Appointed as the highest peak of Vietnam, Fanxipan Express Train are trains with good qualities and comfort.
The interior of the trains is made of wood, equipped with air conditioning. Wagons are home to a total of 56 beds divided in compartments with capacity for 2 to 4 people. The train does not have bathrooms in the compartments, but rather the bathroom is shared.
The Ratraco Train company trains are framed within the category of luxury train to Sapa, with wooden interiors.
Only available compartments for 4 people, standard and luxury. The compartments have air-conditioning and bathroom shared at the end of the wagon.
TSC Express Train trains share the interior of wood which have most of the tourist train to Sapa.
Like the majority of private railway companies, the compartments are air-conditioned and shared bathroom. The compartments are for 4 people but they include the VIP option (u option privacy) where we can have a compartment for 2 people (2 beds are basically removed).
Hara Express Train company offers inside wood and air conditioned trains to traverse the journey to Sapa.
With a total capacity of 48 beds, has compartments for 2 to 4 people, divided into 3 classes: VIP, deluxe and economic (classes VIP and deluxe are only for 2 bed compartments). As in other companies, the bathrooms are shared.
The train Sapaly Express Train company decided to sacrifice the number of passengers that the train is capable of alberguer to offer more space in each compartment. Normally cars have 7 compartments but Sapaly trains only have 6.
Compartments are for 2 to 4 people, they have air conditioning and a shared bathroom.
King Express Train company is very similar to the rest of train to Sapa.
Interiors in wood, compartments for 2-4 persons with a total capacity of 68 beds, air conditioning and bathroom.
Train tickets are available in three classes: Class VIP, business, economic and deluxe.
With a very famous name, although nothing to do with the French train company Orient Express trains offer journey to Sapa with wood, air conditioning and bathroom interiors.
The compartments can accommodate 2, 4 and 6 people. The Orient Express train has a total capacity of 38 beds.
Green Express Train trains have interiors in wood, air conditioning, LCD TV, shared bathroom and bays which can accommodate 4 to 6 people.
Dong A Express
Dong A Express is the last company of trains to offer travel Hanoi - Sapa. Its trains are the same as the rest, wagons of wood, air conditioning, LCD TV, shared bathroom and bays with capacities for 2, 4 and 6 people. However to be the company's most recent addition, it is easier to find cheaper Sapa train tickets.
Timetable of trains to Sapa
These are the schedules of train to Sapa for different companies of Vietnamese train.
we recommend always confirm schedules and availability of trains directly with the train company or travel agency since schedules can be modified.
Railway timetable sense Hanoi - Lao Cai (Sapa)
The Sapa trains to depart from the central train station in Hanoi (Ha Noi Ga). Here we present times, but not all trains are available every day.
|Train company||Hanoi departure time||Lao Cai arrival time|
|Dong A Express||21:50||06:15|
| Vietnam Railways |
intermediate stops Long well, Gia Lam, Viet Tri, Yen Bai, Bao and Pho Lu
Railway timetable sense Lao Cai (Sapa) - Hanoi
These are the times of trains bound around Sapa Hanoi. Trains depart from the train station of Lao Cai. As in times of sense way, not all trains are available for all days of the week.
|Train company||Lao Cai departure time||Hanoi arrival time|
|Dong A Express||20:40||05:10|
| Vietnam Railways |
intermediate stops Long well, Gia Lam, Viet Tri, Yen Bai, Bao and Pho Lu
Trains to Sapa with a nomenclature code used to indicate the type of train and class compartment. These are the codes used by trains to Sapa:
- SP1, SP2: train express routes without stops or with very few stops. They have wagons with soft beds in compartments with air conditioning (the so-called tourist train).
SP1/SP2 type trains also feature private compartments for 2. Companies using these trains are Fanxipan, Tulico, Hara, Royal, Green Express, TSC, ET Pumpkin, Orient Expess, Friendly Express, Express and Ratraco King.
- SP3, SP4: express trains carrying very few stops. They have compartments with air conditioning hard beds, soft beds.
SP3/SP4 type trains are used by companies such as Orient Express, Green Express, Hara, Sapaly and Victoria.
- SP7, SP8: express trains with compartments with air conditioning hard beds, soft beds. The companies that have these train to Sapa are King Express and Livitrans.
- LC3, LC4: daytime trains. Wagons of class without bed, just soft seats in cars with air conditioning and wooden seats in cars that do not have air conditioning. Dining car was not available, but generally they tend to offer coffee, tea and a small snack.
- LC1, LC2: night trains. Compartments with air conditioning and hard beds (no soft beds). They also have cars without air conditioning with hard and soft seats.
What are the different types of trains to Sapa?
This is how it looks different classes of trains to Sapa:
- Hard seats: in Vietnam hard literally means hard. Seats are wood, suitable for a sitting for a couple of hours journey, but not recommended for overnight on the train.Economic class hard seats
- Soft seats: soft-seat economy class resembles a bus seats.soft seats
- Bunk beds: If you intend to travel on a night train to Sapa, we recommend you be in a bunk bed. The beds can be soft (calls soft-sleeper, so to speak, as hotel beds) or hard beds (hard-sleeper, the mattress is so fine that practically sleeps on the mattress).
Depending on the class (economic, superior, deluxe or VIP) share bunk with 2, 4 or 6 people, the quality of the bed and the compartment will be radically different, as is the price.Wagons hard bunk bedsWagons soft bunk beds (first class)
Hanoi Railway Station
Hanoi railway station is located in the Le Duan Street # 120 (1 km to the southwest of Hoan Kiem Lake).
Hanoi (Ha Noi Ga) railway station has a total of 10 platforms and is divided into 2 stations: station A and station B. It is actually 2 buildings, one opposite the other, giving access to the same platforms but from opposite sides.
Central Train Station Hanoi
Train station of Lao Cai
Lao Cai (Lao Cai Ga) railway station is located in the Khanh Yen Street, East of the river that crosses the city.
Train station of Lao Cai
Where to buy train tickets to Sapa?
By rule general should buy in advance train tickets to Sapa, especially if you want a night train and a compartment for 2 people.
Allow booking 60 days in advance (coming to 90 days depending on the company's trains). It can be tricky to find train tickets during the lunar new year (Tet Festival), the rest of the year you can buy tickets with 1 or 2 days in advance without problems, provided it doesn't matter we travel to Sapa in a lower-class carriage.
There are 4 ways to get train tickets to Sapa:
- Buy tickets at the Hanoi train station.
- Buy tickets at the physical of the different train companies offices (located in Hanoi).
- Buy tickets to an Vietnamese travel agency directly in Vietnam.
- Buy tickets online.
Buy train tickets to Sapa in Hanoi railway station
Scroll to the station physically Hanoi train is the most economical option to buy train tickets to Sapa, although very probably the most complicated.
In Hanoi train station (building A) companies have counters Orient Express train, Sapally, Fanxisan and Livitrans.
Have to pay the Bills in cash and using the local currency (Vietnam Dong), generally do not accept dollars, euros and much less credit cards.
Buy train tickets to Sapa in the offices of railway companies
If we are in Hanoi and the train company you want to travel to Sapa does not counter station Hanoi, we will have to move up to their offices to book the ticket.
Most offices are located in the old quarter of Hanoi (North Lake).
- Friendly train: street Luong Ngoc Quyen 9 (Hanoi).
- Cao Son Express: 14 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street (Hanoi).
- Tulico Express: Hang Can Street 5 (Hanoi).
Buy train tickets to Sapa by a Vietnamese travel agency
An alternative to go to the offices of various companies or the Hanoi railway station is using the services of a local travel agency of Vietnam. We can find train tickets to Sapa in any Vietnamese agencies located in the Hanoi old quarter and you can also buy train tickets to Sapa in Any city of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, is a good place to find train tickets).
Buy train tickets to Sapa by internet
Buy train tickets to Sapa online is the quickest and easiest option, also this maybe is the only alternative to book well in advance for 2 people private compartments.
This way to buy tickets is fully secure and reliable, since trains in Vietnam reservations systems were automated in 2002, allowing online reservations.
We usually provide a reservation code, given a voucher or some sort of electronic ticket that we will redeem in Vietnam, either in the station or in a business office to our attention.
What website used to book train tickets to Sapa?
We recommend this agency: Vietnam Impressive.
Their prices are very reasonable, speak Spanish, are serious companies, totally reliable and most importantly, everyone who has used their services have been satisfied and would recommend their services to family and friends.
Price of train ticket to Sapa
The price of the train ticket to Sapa vary greatly depending on the train company and above all, class. The first class tickets cost twice Private compartment a compartment for 4 or 6 people.
Prices usually are one way, ie a roundtrip ticket almost certainly cost you double the price marked.
If you travel with children or with children under 12 years is important to inquire about other discounts offered by the railway companies. Usually children under 5 years do not pay a ticket (if share bed / seat with parents) and children under 12 years pay half of the ticket on some trains.
To see the exact price of the ticket to Sapa you can contact the vietnamese travel agency Vietnam Impressive (speaking Spanish).
Bays 4 people for private use
Share a railway carriage with strangers can be an unwelcome experience, especially when you consider that sleep with complete strangers.
The train companies allow use compartments for private use, that Yes, we will have to pay the extra beds. I.e. we can 4 train tickets for a box of 4 persons for only 2.
What do they look like train tickets to Sapa?
At the time of booking and/or buying train tickets to Sapa we must distinguish between the train ticket and voucher (also called vale and/or proof of booking). Here we have a photo for ilustralo:
Train ticket and voucher to Sapa
At the top left of the photo we train ticket (white, blue and pink). This is the bill that we will deliver the conductor to board the train to Sapa.
Just below the ticket have the voucher / vale / proof of the booking of train, in red with some illustrations of Vietnam. This voucher must be redeemed by the train ticket.
Vietnamese words on train tickets
In order that you may understand the information they put on the train ticket, here you have a word Vietnamese and Spanish translations.
- NAM: wagon bed.
- MEM: bed / soft seat.
- Cung: bed / seat hard.
- Dieu Hoa: air conditioning (abbreviated DH).
- Ngay ban: date of sale.
- Ngay đi: departure date.
- Toa: wagon.
- Loai VE ticket type.
- Toan VE: adult rate.
- Giò: departure.
- Tang: sleeper (1 = lower bunk, bunk 2 = center, 3 = upper bunk).
- Giuòng: number of the litter.
- Ngoi: No seat (also spelled Ghé).
- Gia Go: ticket price.
- Khoang: compartment (abbreviated as K).
- Ga: railway station (careful with the accents, not to be confused with chicken that is written GA).