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Travel Tips from people who've been to North Vietnam-West
It would be a pretty long walk, I imagine, from the train station to the Chinese border. We took a motorcycle taxi. Quick, cheap, convenient.
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Hanoi to Sapa 

The easiest way to get to Sapa is to take the train from Hanoi. Most people opt to take the night trains because it’s a long trip and sleeping on the train maximizes your time (and funds). To get to Sapa you must book the train from Hanoi to Lo Cai. Lo Cai serves as the hub for all tourists visiting Sapa. Lo Cai is actually 40 km from Sapa so you must take a bus or motor bike from the station into town. Some of the fancier hotels will take care of booking this transportation for you, but if you’re traveling with the budget lot you’ll have to acquire your own ride. That’s easy enough to do as there will be many busses waiting for the throngs of tourists disembarking the train. Generally a bus ride up the mountain to the center of town will run you between $2 and $5 US. Try using your negotiating skills to get the best rate. Most of these “busses” will actually be vans. Get a group together because the vans won’t leave until they’re full. Book your bus return to the station as soon as you arrive in Sapa. These busses fill up. The return ride is generally on a full-sized bus from the center of town.


Trains from Hanoi to Lo Cai depart daily. There is one daytime train and three night train options. With each you have the option of soft or hard seat / sleeper. I highly recommend spending the extra few dollars for the soft sleeper. In the soft sleeper cabins there are 4 bunks to a room and you will be assigned a sleeping berth when you purchase your ticket. The bottom bunk lifts up so you can store your luggage securely. Hard Seat $5US (no a/c), Soft Seat $8US/$6US (no a/c), Hard Sleeper $11US/$9US (no a/c), Soft Sleeper $15US


Hanoi to Lo Cai

LC3 06:10 – 16:35

SP1 21:15 – 5:30

SP3 21:55 – 6:15

LC1 22:05 – 07:25


Lo Cai to Hanoi

LC4 09:15 – 19:55

LC2 18:45 – 04:00

SP2 20:15 – 04:30

SP4 21:00 – 05:05


There are a few other luxury train options, such as the Victoria Express but they are more expensive and often booked in conjunction with reservations at some of the luxury hotels in Sapa.
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Was on visit there in 2003.
Travel by train from Hanoi, a long journey on wooden seats, not very comfortable. The train follows the Red river all the way to Lao Cai at the Chinese border. On the way back I took the sleeping car for a night journey. Careful: bugs in the beds!
From Lao Cai there are minibuses who will take you upcountry to SaPa. The trip in the lush forests and terraced rice fields is breathtakingly beautiful. Buses are overloaded with passengers: we were 17 in a minibus for 9. On the way we even lost a backpack.
At that time the city of SaPa was booming and full of hotel building projects for tourism. Plenty of choice for hotels. I stayed at the Dang Trung Auberge email: T: (84)20 871243 which was excellent and cheap.
This is an altitude town and is therefore not too hot as the rest of Vietnam. It is also Hmong country, so the nice mountain people can be spotted all over the place in their elegant navy blue costumes. They are also willing to take you for hikes in the mountains. Hikes of several days with overnight in  Hmong houses is very much possible and popular among the tourists.
Do not fail to shop at the open/close market of SaPa its a real experience and very nice things can be bought for attractive price. Look out for the excellent sword like knives for instance.
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Recent Updates for North Vietnam-West
Bobby N. has added a photo for Sa Pa
1 year ago
Bobby N. has added a photo for Sa Pa
1 year ago
Bobby N. has added a photo for Sa Pa
1 year ago
Bobby N. has added a photo for Sa Pa
1 year ago
When visitting Sapa, espcially if you are a foriegn visitor, you will like to visit villagers here. May be ,thet following tips will help.. (More)
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