Months ago, the idea of sleeping in a train was so foreign to me. The thought of sleeping in a moving carriage for 11 hours was worth it considering the beauty that Sapa has to offer. Sapa is located in Lao Cai (pronounced Lao Kai) province, some 350 km northwest of Hanoi. Bordering China’s Yunnan, the mountains dominates the region and is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. Sapa is some 1500m above sea level, there’s really no problem of having to adjust to the change of attitude as my body is able to handle the gentle ascend within that 11 hours in the train.
Most of the trains start from Hanoi station (Ga Hà Nội) in the evening from 8pm to 11pm and arrive at Lao Cai station early next morning. JF and I had initially booked our train ticket from the tourist information centre at the airport upon arrival. The cheapest ticket for a sleeping cabin is around USD40 – saved a few bucks for accommodation.
After spending a day sightseeing in the city, we decided to have our dinner at Quan An Ngon, a popular place among the locals and tourists. The service and food was good, so as long as you speak simple English your order will be taken. We ordered a plate of spring roll (steamed and fried), morning glory and coffee.
Address: 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
The train station is just a walking distance from where we had dinner. It does not boast of modern design and facilities but an old yet practical station.