Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai? You want to look for information on this route during your tour in North Vietnam. Currently, it is one of the most used lines in Vietnam. The history of this line goes back to the time of French Indochina, after a resort was built in Sapa to accommodate French people fleeing the tropical heat. So, the history of destination tourism in Sapa also originated at that time.
The current Hanoi Lao Cai train
For twenty years, there have been many tourists going to Sapa, so the Vietnamese Railways, with the very active participation of private companies, have taken many initiatives to modernize the wagons.
As a result, the accommodation capacities of the Hanoi-Lao Cai and Lao Cai-Hanoi trains have greatly improved, with the comfort of the cabins getting closer and closer to European standards. Only the speed remains the same, very slow! but for many this mix between a satisfactory level of comfort and an authentic appearance is what makes this trip so charming.
From a practical point of view, for an independent traveler it will be important to distinguish that there are several types of trains providing the journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Indeed, the Vietnamese Railways but also many private companies have rented the Vietnamese Railways wagons by modernizing them.
These are the night trains that welcome the most foreign tourists, because their level of comfort is close to European standards. Travel agencies also most often recommend that their tourists take night trains for better safety and a more relaxing journey. The prices are also very affordable.
It is very important to know that there are several trains every evening to Lao Cai and vice versa, between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and that they arrive at the terminal early the next morning, between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
We present to you in the list below the schedules and prices of the trains Hanoi – Lao Cai and vice versa (Regarding obtaining a ticket, you will read our article “How to obtain a train ticket Hanoi-Lao Cai and Lao Cai-Hanoi):
Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hanoi train schedule
Hanoi – Lao Cai
Lao Cai – Hanoi
Finally, here is the list of the main companies involved in the transport of tourists Hanoi-Lao Cai and Lao Cai-Hanoi as well as useful information for your choice and your possible trip. It is important to know that if these companies offer wagons and cabins that are more comfortable and closer to international standards, their departure times are the same as those of other wagons of lower categories:
Livitrans wagons consist of 9 cars with different classes: seats; cabins with 4 berths, very superior class cabins with 2 berths. In all cases, the cabins are equipped with air conditioning, with large windows. There is also a restaurant. But tourists are recommended to take their food or eat elsewhere.
Victoria Sapa wagons operate 6 days a week. They consist of 2 cars with cabins equipped with berths (12 cabins in total with a capacity of 2 to 4 people each). There is also a dining car and a shared bathroom in the hallway. It is important to know that the reservation of places in the Victoria Sapa wagons is conditioned by that of rooms in their hotel based in Sapa.
Compared to other wagons described as close to ‘European standard’, Tulico presents itself as being less luxurious, but more economical. There are, on these cars, both cabins with 4 berths and others with two berths (2 cabins with 2 berths only). There is also air conditioning and a shared bathroom.
Royal Sapa wagons have two-berth cabins and four-berth cabins, all equipped with air conditioning. The bathroom is shared.
ET Pumpkin express
Pumpkin Express wagons have interior decors furnished in wood. They also have cabins with berths (two categories: normal and deluxe)
Fanxipan wagons have good quality cabins with a high level of comfort. Their accommodation capacity is large: 56 berths in different cabins. The interior is furnished in wood. The bathrooms are also shared.
Ratraco Train wagons are categorized as luxury in Sapa. The cabins are furnished in wood. It only has cabins for 4 people , with two categories: standard and deluxe. The cabins are air-conditioned, with shared bathrooms on both ends of each carriage.
The Hara Express Train wagons also have their wooden furnished cabins with air conditioning. They are a total of 48 berths divided into different cabins for 2 to 4 people. There are 3 categories: VIP, deluxe and economy (there are only two cabins classified in VIP and deluxe classes. As in the other cars, the bathrooms are shared.
Sapaly Express has arranged their wagons so that they accommodate fewer tourists compared to the wagons of other railway companies, but with larger cabins. So Sapaly Express wagons have only six cabins each in total. They are also cabins with 2 or 4 berths, with air conditioning and shared bathrooms.
The Orient Express wagons have a capacity of 38 berths. There are also cabins with 2, 4 and 6 berths. They are also furnished in wood.