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Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) during Tet Holiday

Question

We’ll be travelling from Hanoi to Sapa during the Tet holiday, is it advisable for us to book our train ticket in advance? We planned to buy our train ticket at the train station when we arrive as it will be cheaper. We were quoted 66usd for return ticket per person. Is this price reasonable? Also, we need to catch a flight back home and we are taking the night train from Lao Cai. Is the train schedule reliable?

Answer

TĂȘt throws a lot of usual practices into the air – you can probably get your tickets on arrival, but unless the price is much higher you might want to play it safe and get them earlier.

The price might be reasonable or not – it depends on the train category, number of berths per cabin, etc.. For that price you should be getting “soft sleeper” and no more than 4 people per cabin.

The train station is at least 45+ minutes from Noi Bai airport, potentially more if you get stuck in morning traffic. Assuming you want to be at the airport at least 90 minutes before your international flight, if your train is scheduled to arrive in Hanoi at 5:30AM or later you risk missing your flight, if there’s just one delay at one of the train’s stops during the night.

Train timetable from Lao Cai to Ha Noi —(from Sep.2.2011)
(Train no—Dep.time/Arr.time)
SP2–Lao Cai 20:05pm/Ha Noi 04:35am
SP4–Lao Cai 20:45pm/Ha Noi 05:10am
SP8–Lao Cai 19:30pm/Ha Noi *04:05am(not 04:30am now)
SP6–Lao Cai 18:55pm/Ha Noi 03:40am
LC2–Lao Cai 21:20pm/Ha Noi 06:55am
LC4–Lao Cai 09:15am/Ha Noi 20:15pm

Train timetable from Ha Noi to Lao Cai —(from Sep.2.2011)
(Train no—Dep.time/Arr.time)
SP1–Ha Noi 21:10pm/Lao Cai 05:25am
SP3–Ha Noi 21:50pm/Lao Cai 06:15am
SP7–Ha Noi 20:35pm/Lao Cai 04:55am
SP5–Ha Noi 19:40pm/Lao Cai 04:22am
LC1–Ha Noi 22:00pm/Lao Cai 07:20am
LC3–Ha Noi 06:10am/Lao Cai 16:35pm

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