About Sapa Tour
Is there a sleeper train to Sapa? What is it like?
There is a night train to Sapa. There are a range of seating types but we only use the air-conditioned soft sleepers for our guests. There are four berths in each cabin, two lower and two upper. The beds are soft, clean and come with a blanket and pillow. The beds are sometimes a bit small for some Westerners.
Each cabin locks on the inside for security and has a fair amount of room for luggage storage under the beds and above the door.
This cabin is just a standard level and used for 4 people sharing, If you would like to splurge and go first class, the Victoria Train is available. Please ask your Sapa-Travel travel consultant for more details.
The train itself does not go fast and takes about 9 hours from Hanoi to Lao Cai (about 330 km). In comparison to other trains it is not too noisy, although some people bring earplugs, especially if they are in the hard –sleeper class. Toilets are available on each coach. It is advised to bring your own toilet paper.
About half the time there is a dining car on the train. Just recently we have noticed that they have replaced the dining car with another passenger coach. Thus, it is advised to bring water, snacks, or anything else you may want to eat before boarding.
Tip: If you are two persons traveling and you would like to book the whole cabin just for you, it’s possible at Sapa-Travel too.
Note: Please be aware that Vietnamese train is just standard, it can never be compared with Western trains.
What do you mean by CBT homestay?
As Sapa-Travel continues to promote responsible travel, we strive to do our best in supporting CBT (Community Based Tourism) Products. A CBT Homestay is an overnight in the home of one of the local ethnic minorities. They have been set up in a way that the community benefits from the added tourism income and not just a single entity.
What kind of shoes should we use for trekking in Sapa?
There are different types of trekking in Sapa and its surrounding mountains, so when booking Sapa tours or Vietnam tours including Sapa, you will need to check with our travel consultants to see which kind of shoes will work best.
For the light or easy trek, we recommend using good sandals or walking shoes, but for intermediate and hard trekking trips, we have to use really good shoes or sport shoes which must have really strong grips for hiking up and down. Many of our past clients use their expert hiking boots which often become very muddy in rainy weather. The best footwear during periods of rain are definitely the local rubber boots bought at the local market for about 60 000 VND or $4 USD. They grip in mud and do not cause blisters. Although, these boots do not breath at all.
How do you define: easy trekking, intermediate & hard trekking?
Trekking: Is a category of adventure travel, typically involving visits to remote areas, with overnight lodging in tents or other minimal accommodation. It is less strenuous than hiking but more strenuous then walking.
In comparison to trekking in Nepal or India, the trekking in Sapa is easy. But, because of the rapid weather changes, and the severe ups and downs on some of the trails; we have to classify the trekking as moderate. Please be aware of the time it takes to reach each destination so that you can confirm that it will suit your abilities.
Easy trekking: Harder than walking, trekking trail is not steep, has some ups and downs, often in a short time.
Moderate trekking: Trekking trail has ups and downs, but not so steep. Trail will become more difficult in poor weather.
Intermediate to Hard trekking: Trekking route has a steep incline and often is off road in remote areas, very difficult during periods of rain.
Every situation depends on weather, especially in Sapa.
Tip: We can always tailor the trek to adapt to the weather changes, sometimes you would like to hire the support jeep / vehicle to bring you from point to point, and this is possible at Sapa-Travel too at a reasonable extra.
Is there anywhere in Sapa or Lao Cai, that we can get changed, have a shower, and leave luggage before our trekking?
Yes, for your comfort, we have arranged a clean place at a Sapa hotel for you to shower (not for sleep). Breakfast is at the restaurant in the same place. For your convienience you may also store your bags at the hotel.
There is also a good place in Lao Cai for shower and breakfast in case that your itinerary is not to travel to Sapa that day. (e.g. travel to Bac Ha Sunday market)
Tip: The place for shower and changed is not for sleeping the whole day, it’s just for a short rest and shower before you start your trek.
Is your local guide waiting for us at the train station of Lao Cai?
Yes, your guide will be waiting outside the train station with a Sapa-Travel sign and with your name. Together with your driver they will take you safely to Sapa. The guide that we use is a local guide from the Sapa area.
We provide telephone numbers of our local guides and tour operators in advance, just in case.
Tip: There are so many people outside at Lao Cai train station when you get out, please make sure you look for the sign Sapa-Travel Travel and our local guide welcoming you
How far is that from Lao Cai to Sapa and mean of transport?
It is 38 km from Lao Cai to Sapa, the road is constantly zigzag with steep up hills. As we approach Will gain about 1000m in elevation and reach Sapa town at 1600m. The views are spectacular.
It is comfortable by AC can or car, our driver will bring you to Sapa in about one hour.
Your guide will be waiting outside the train station pick you up. Look for the Sapa-Travel Travel sign with your name on it.
Tip: Please get the guide’s name & his cell phone number from our tour operators in Hanoi, if not you can always call your travel operators to get this once you are in Lao Cai.
Any other means of travel to Sapa except train?
The best mean of transport to Lao Cai and Sapa is still the train, however, car or van can be also good to reach to this beautiful mountain town.
It will take about 10 hours (not including possible traffic jams) in a distance of 400 km from Hanoi. Although, there is not much of sightseeing we can make en route.
We strongly recommend to travel by train, but for some reasons, you would wish to travel there by car, please check with one of our travel consultants to see the road conditions since it sometimes has construction and will make your journey to Sapa even longer than 10 hours.
Road travel should be at day time.
Tip: We hardly see people traveling by road to Sapa, night train simply the best option so far.
Is there a day train to Lao Cai (Sapa)?
There is one train that journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai and vise-versa in the day, but there is no sleeper train during the day. It only has seats and no air-conditioning. We recommend you not take this train,
Tip: We highly recommend taking the night train to save you time, visit more places in Sapa.
When is the best time to visit Sapa?
The best time to visit is from April to September. Although, each season has its own special qualities and surprises.
During this period the temperature is ranging from 15 – 25 Degree Celsius, it is not a raining season in Sapa so the trekking routes are dry and bear great opportunity to do longer treks and to conquer Mount Fansipan. During the winter months, the temperature is much cooler and it is advised to bring a some warm clothing (hat, sweater, wool socks) for after you days fo trekking. Also, during the winter months there are periods of light rain, which brings in the fog. This puts Sapa in the clouds and allows for some fantastic photo opportunities.
Tip: If you could not visit Sapa during a certain time, there are always some alternatives near Hanoi to visit. Excellent value you will find from http://www.sapastar.com – Sapa Star Travel