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“Lousy Air-conditioning, Short Bunks”

Sapa Train - Day Tours
Ranked #33 of 73 Tours in Sapa
Type: Rail Tours, Tours
Attraction details
Reviewed April 23, 2014

I took the orient express both ways in a 4 berth cabin. The carriages were old and fairly run down. I am tall and the bunks are uncomfortable if you are over 6 feet tall. Worst of all the air-conditioning on both journeys (on different carriages) was not working properly. It ran for an hour getting very cold then cycled or was switched off for an hour of so, making the compartment humid and hot. Probably something froze in the system and needed to defrost. Also, the compartments have totally inadequate luggage storage, and no obvious baggage car.

I recommend taking the DAY TRAIN. Sure it takes a long time but you get to see the scenery, spend way way less money per journey, and arrive in time for a good night's sleep in a real bed. I know tourists are discouraged from taking the day train, but you can if you want.

3  Thank Steve S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"lao cai"
in 22 reviews
"beds were comfortable"
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"slept pretty well"
in 2 reviews
"train departs"
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"hour trip"
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"hanoi hotel"
in 2 reviews
"an adventure"
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77 - 81 of 119 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2014


TRAIN from Hanoi to Lao Cai ( then transfer by road to Sapa 40Km)
We booked our tour before we went. So cannot comment on train tricked or transfers from Lao Cai to Sapa.
Train departs nightly except Saturdays at 10pm. Should arrive at Lao Cai at 8.30am (our train arrived 10.30 am) `
Return journey leaves Lao Cai 8.20pm arrives Hanoi at 5.30am (our train arrived 6.30am)
It seems that the train both ways are often late.
Suggest that if you intend to travel straight on from this trip, and expect to arrive at 5.30am at Hanoi. Make sure you take into account that the train may well be late.
We were told by our guide that people, often get off the train then go back to hotel for quick wash and brush up before transferring to the next tour, leaving Hanoi for Ha Long bay at 8am. Also take note if transferring to airport.
Train ticket.
Make sure you have your train ticket to hand at both stations. Without your tickets you will be unable to leave the stations.
Minimal storage takes a rucksack or small case. Case goes under bottom bunk, also some room above door. Remember you are sharing with 3 other people Be organised!
We stay in a shared 4 birth cabin.
Each bunk has pillow duvet and bag with flannel toothbrush toothpaste bottle of water.
Shoe basket and slippers. Air-conditioning was on, but I understand that if you go a different time of the year it can be cold. I cannot comment if there is heating.
Note to get to top bunk no ladder foot rests in cabin wall by door.
Clean with room to move has hand basin, toilet paper hand wash, and towels to dry hands. 2 per carriage
Restaurant car
Food and drink- did not use.
Porter in charge of carriage informs you of time of arrival sadly both times wrong! He wakes you up an hour before arriving each way. Free tea and coffee with cake in restaurant car.
We shared our cabin with two very nice Australian couple who both agreed to leave door of cabin open, we felt too boxed in!
We got some sleep, and yes it is noisy but you are on a train! Over all we enjoyed the experience. It was what we thought it would be.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2014 via mobile

Had the Sapaly cabin, nicely appointed and strong aircon. Try not to book cabins at either end of the carriage as it's noisy and clunky over the wheels. It may be a VIP cabin but the train is still Vietnamese junk. At times you rock to and fro so hard you're belongings fall out.

The mess at Lao Cai station is full if sheister touts and no English signs everywhere, arrange a transfer ahead of time!!

7  Thank Ozbanka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2014

We decided to get a 2 berth cabin to and from Sapa on the overnight Orient Express train. We got a few different quotes, but 'Wide Eyed Tours' were the cheapest ($80USpp each way). Ms Nga very smoothly arranged our overnight train tickets to and from Sapa. We had already booked our own Hanoi hotel, and as promised, Ms Nga had our train ticket vouchers waiting at our hotel on our arrival. She had also left her contact information (just in case), but all ran smoothly because of her prior organisation. The train trip is slow, but the Sapa environment, walks and the friendly hill tribe people are terrific and definitely make it worth going to.

8  Thank 774Deb774
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 31, 2014

Took the Victoria Express train a luxury car attached to a state railway train that goes from Hanoi to Sapa and back. The train leaves Hanoi about 9 PM at night and usually arrives in Lo Cai on the border with China( about a forty-five minute drive takes you to Sapa from there) while the train leaves Sapa at about 8 PM and returns to Hanoi early the next morning. The ride is quite bumpy, especially now as the tracks were being renovated and the train was delayed by about one and a half hours each way. Had a vip berth for each trip and the beds are reasonably comfortable with good blankets provided. The train staff is very efficient and helpful. Arising early before the early morning arrival in Lo Cai I viewed wonderful countryside and mountain scenery including rice paddies and water buffalo from the train window.

6  Thank philipmillermd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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