Hanoi to Sapa

Hanoi to Sapa

My next port of call was Sapa, a little south from Hanoi, the town located on a mountain top.

Hanoi Train Station
To get to Sapa, you'll have to grab a train that runs to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa. The journey takes a good 8 hours and they do have sleeper trains available.

The Hanoi Train Station is located just outside of town and is pretty easily accessible. A taxi there from town would cost you no more than S$10. In my case, it costed me 115000VND (~$1.40).

You can grab the tickets from the train station itself, or book it through guesthouses if you're not comfortable with trying with your luck. The train I was on was almost packed to capacity, so I think the best way to go about it would be to get the tickets in advance.

Train from Hanoi to Sapa
My train to Hanoi was a sleeper train and costed me 35USD, instead of the usual 34USD I found on the Vietnam Railways website, as I got the tickets from my guesthouse and I wanted it in advance due to my tight schedule.

The train was pretty comfortable to say the least. However, the bunk beds are located in cabins (4 beds to 1 cabin), and unless you buy the tickets for the 4 beds in your cabin, you're almost certain to end up sleeping with 3 other strangers (and their snores). At least you get your own bed (refer to post 'Luang Prabang to Si Phan Don (Part 2)' for back story).

8 hours and a nap later, I was in Lao Cai.

Lao Cai Train Station
The trains that just pulled in
Walking out the train station, you'll find dozens of minivans operated by different accommodations ready to pick up their customers. If you've booked a place in advance, ask for pickup services. If not, you can approach any vehicle with spare seats available and pay a price of 50000 to 60000VND (~S$3.00-S$3.60) to get to Sapa town itself. There are of course plenty of profiteers trying to scam you of your money, so do not get on any vehicle that costs more than that.

The ride is an excruciating 1 hour up mountainous, windy roads. Fantastic views, not so fantastic ride. If you have motion sickness, prepare a sickness bag or motion sickness pills, as it really is quite bad. I'm lucky I'm blessed without any serious motion sickness but I wasn't so sure about a few people with me on the same minivan.
Sapa Town
The last stop of my month long trip .. Sapa.
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