I loved travelling overnight in a luxury sleeper carriage to Sapa, it’s a very different cultural experience from your Great Western train…
I loved travelling overnight in a luxury sleeper carriage to Sapa, it’s a very different cultural experience from your Great Western train journey! You board the train at 10pm in hectic Hanoi and wake up in a comparatively sleepy, rural setting in Lao Cai. It’s amazing to go from a big, noisy city full of mopeds to a quiet mountain range. The sleeper is particularly good if you’re on a restricted schedule as you can travel overnight and wake up ready for a day of exploring and trekking in Sapa.
I’d say the Victoria Express train is a cross between an authentic Vietnamese journey and a luxury travel experience. When you arrive at Hanoi train station you get to see the locals boarding trains, uniformed crew loading luggage and hawkers selling snacks and drinks to passengers. It’s a peaceful experience though because you’re greeted by the Victoria staff and get to relax in a private lounge. Before the road was built to Sapa, train was the traditional way for locals to travel north, passing through pristine Vietnamese countryside.
The train takes around eight hours, which is longer than the bus journey to Sapa, but it’s much more of a comfortable experience. Carriages are designed with wooden panelling and you can choose from three options: superior, deluxe and VIP. Generally, you have two seats and two beds in a cabin and all the windows are large so you get great morning views. The two Victoria Express carriages are closed off to other passengers for privacy, the bathrooms are high quality and staff are always on hand to help.
I was able to sleep comfortably as the train was quite slow moving and woke up to a morning coffee and croissant with sunrise views of northern Vietnam’s mountains and rice terraces. At Lao Cai station, I got straight in a Victoria taxi for the drive to Sapa town, which takes you on windy mountain roads past tiny villages.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Pam, who's travelled extensively in Vietnam. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember – the vespa rider who’ll whizz you round HCMC for a unique foodie tour, the guide who’ll take you fishing with locals at Chuon Lagoon and the ranger who’ll guide you to golden-cheeked gibbons to hear their dawn duets.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656