Vietnam is famous for many things ..
Good coffee, the famous Banh sandwich and of course noodles. Along with some beautiful scenery and a great tourist centre. However, I didn’t expect the trains to be good.
A sleeper train from Hanoi to Sapa takes approx 8 hours and the cost is quite cheap.
Yes, buses are cheaper still but i wanted to experience the train and a night journey seemed a good start.
If you search for trains in Vietnam you can find options but a good website I used is Find journeys in Asia
the overnight train leaves Hanoi around 9.30 pm and arrives in Cao Lau about 5.30 am so a good 8-hour ride. Hence it is better to be covering the long distance at night when you can get sleep.
The cost of an overnight bed on the train was $22. Buses can cost slightly less around $14 but I recommend the sleeper train
Night trains are good for a couple of reasons… one being that you can catch up on sleep while you travel more easily than during the day. Less activity means its quieter and better for resting.
Another of course when you are travelling on a budget is that you don’t need to pay for a room for the night. It all adds up if you are doing this a lot.
The downside of this travel means that you arrive at your destination very early in the morning. For me it was 5.40am and still dark.
I followed the crowds outside and looked for the local bus departing Cao Lau to Sapa town.
The cost was cheap and the bus was not overcrowded. Once your bag is stowed on board you can relax and see the scenery as the sun rises and the darkness gives way to the misty mountains that are everywhere in this north-west of Vietnam.
Once I arrived in Sapa I quickly found my hostel and although check in was not open, they allowed me to leave my bags so i could go off and find some food and explore a little.