The 2 of us will be in Hanoi Wed in early April . We hope to travel to Sapa for the 2 nites on train and 1 nite in Sapa tour. Problem is that we felt the online tour operators seems to be charging upmarket rates. We think we may like to travel to Sapa by ourselves independently by train . Any suggestion or advice would be greatly welcomed.
Thank you. Cheers
#1 KPTham1 has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 52
We traveled from Hanoi to Sapa independently to avoid the Hanoi tour operators who charge high prices. Just go to the Hanoi train station to buy your tickets. It's very easy. Tickets were $15USD for sleeper instead of $20USD charged by Hanoi tour agents. We actually booked the soft seats, (less than $10USD) which were actually surprisingly comfortable, esp b/c the seats reclined and they gave out blankets on the train for the journey.
When you arrive in Sapa, I would recommend going to the Mountain View Hotel - the guides are excellent and are all from local hill tribes, so you get a much better insight into hill tribe culture than you would get from a Hanoi tour agent who accompanies you on your tour.
#2 rakhee2108 has been a member since 8/3/2007. Posts: 55
Thank you rakhee2108for the useful infor. Can we get return train tickets in Hanoi and with just 2 days in Sapa, any suggestion on what to do and how may I contact Mountain View ?
My apology if I am asking too many questions but I just like to level the playing field.
#3 KPTham1 has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 52
Hey KPTham1, no worries about the questions! You can only buy single tickets at Hanoi train station. You have to buy the return ticket in Sapa - there is an official agent which sells train tickets on Cau May Street (the main street in Sapa). Easy to find.
You might like to look at this previous thread about Sapa:
This is what I wrote in the thread:
"I would recommend that you do not book a guide in Hanoi. These guides do not know the area properly and cannot tell you much about Sapa and the tribal people. Instead, book a guide when you arrive in Sapa. The guides from Mountainview GH are excellent. All the guides are ethnic tribal girls. In June 2007, we booked a two day/1night trip with Mountainview GH ($25USD incl English speaking ethnic guide, all meals, overnight stay and transport.) We opted for the easy walk (15km). We trekked to Lao Chai, stayed overnight with a local tribal family in Ta Van village and then trekked back to Sapa on day 2 via a waterfall and another small minority tribe village. The trip was amazing, made all the better by our guide called Dong, a young lady from the Black H'Mong tribe. Dong spoke excellent English and told us so much about the way of life of the different tribal people in the villages surrounding Sapa. Definitely book an ethnic tribe guide in Sapa and avoid booking with a travel agent in Hanoi."
#4 rakhee2108 has been a member since 8/3/2007. Posts: 55
rakhee2108, very interesting and many thanks. Will check out the guide at Mountainview GH when we are in Sapa.
#5 KPTham1 has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 52
We went to Sapa independently by Tulico Train by purchasing and collecting the tickets ourselves at Tulico's office. The ticket was us$ 24.5 one way for the 4 berth wooden cabin. No problem with that. On arrival, we took a minivan that was waiting inside the station for Sapa at us$ 2 ( 30000 dong) each . The van stopped just outside Mountainview . We then booked a 4th Floor room with view at $15 ( a concession because we also booked tours at the counter).
But the first day tour by 2 motorcycles was normal and I think we were overcharged at $25 per person. Next day we took a jeep to Silver Waterfall followed by a 14 km trekking with 2 Hmong guides costing &20 each. I liked this one better. We returned to the hotel at about 2.30 pm and they were very nice to let us have a room to wash up and rest for about an hour or so. We caught the 6 pm minivan to Lao Cai . Wished I had stay 1 more day in Sapa but we were booked for Halong Bay the very next day.
#6 KPTham1 has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 52