If you are visiting Vietnam soon and planned to take a tour of the hillside town Sapa then one of the most important things to do is to book the tickets for the train ride. The train ride departing from Hanoi and going to Lao Cai are operated by around 20 different train companies – the same goes with the return journey. The trains offered will not have much difference among them and choosing will only be confusing as there are a lot of train operators. The only thing you will have to keep in check is your budget for the train ticket.
The fare on a one-way ticket from Hanoi to Lao Cai will cost around US$12 to US$32 for every passenger. The difference will be between choosing a bed or chair for the journey. Keep in mind that the ticket fee is only for the train ride and does not include the meals on board. If you happen to take an LC1 train then you might have noticed that it is slow going and it stops at almost all of the stations it passes by. There are different classes aboard the LC1 including hard seats with option for AC, soft seats with option for AC, hard sleeper with option for AC on all three levels, soft sleeper with option for AC on all three levels or spare seats.
Majority of the trains that are going to Sapa leave only in the evening and the entire journey from Hanoi going to Lao Cai will last for eight to ten hours depending on the speed of the train. If you want train operators that have soft sleepers specially for tourists then check out Green Express, Livitrans, Tulico, King Express, Dong A express and Orient Express.
Remember that if you are planning to take a journey from Hanoi to Sapa to book at least 2 months before your vacation date because prices are higher if you book just a few days before the travel. Also keep in mind that fares from Friday to Sunday are considered more expensive than other days of the week.