I have just moved to Hanoi and want to go to Sapa for a long weekend. I don't really want to do an organised tour so I have a few questions.
How do I get a sleeper train ticket?. They all seem to be sold through travel agencies and hotels.Is there a Vietnamese trains website where I can buy one?
What class sleeper would you recommend? I want comfort and cleanliness but I don't need luxury
Is it easy to get from Lau Cai to Sapa? How much should I expect to pay?
Is it in fact better/ cheaper to do an organised tour?
Thanks a million
#1 jane101 has been a member since 30/5/2011. Posts: 3
Hi Jane. Welcome to Hanoi! You can buy tickets at the train station. It's usually easier to go to B station (where the trains to Lao Cai leave from) as I've found the queues to be much shorter. Don't go around lunchtime or in the evening (when the trains leave) though as it's shut / busy. You can buy up to about 3 weeks in advance so get them as soon as you can.
Alternatively, if you want to go on the Livitrains private carriage you can buy online (www.livitrantrain.com). Their carriages are of course nicer but I've found the standard carriages to be perfectly OK, and it's only about a 9 hour trip. I'd go for soft sleeper - not much more than hard sleeper but a bit nicer (less people in a carriage).
There are loads of minibuses from Lao Cai to Sapa so very easy. Last time I went (last October) it was 30,000 oneway. Look out for the "official" ticket desk on the station platform. Or if you've booked a hotel in advance they will probably arrange it for you and have someone with a board with your name on waiting.
I don't think there is any benefit to doing an organised tour as you can easily book a hotel, find places to eat and organise tours. Let me know if you need any further information.