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Train to Sapa

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NY
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3 posts
60 reviews
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Train to Sapa

Just returned this week from taking the overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa and back.

We took the King Express train and used the VIP compartment (private 2 bed compartment vs usual 4 bed compartment).

What a mistake!!! Avoid this train if you value your life.

We were up all night while a piece of metal from the carriage slammed against our compartment with the force of a sledge hammer. We feared we would be impaled when the metal broke off or that the train would derail. An overnight train ride that is so dangerous that you can not get any sleep is not pleasant, to say the least.

This happened on the initial trip to Sapa and was far worse on the return trip to Hanoi 2 days later.

Clearly, King Express does not perform any maintenance on their cars and their train is a disaster waiting to happen.

Avoid this train. We would have avoided it at any cost if we had known what we were in for on our journey.

Berkeley, CA
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582 posts
11 reviews
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1. Re: Train to Sapa

We took the King Express in August, and while I don't think the banging is actually a safety issue, it makes the ride very unpleasant. Along with its very early arrival back in Hanoi, and the general confusion of the staff, I certainly wouldn't recommend King to anyone. Booking us on the King was our major disappointment with Tonkin Travel, as King had more negatives than positives and was expensive for what it offered.

NY
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3 posts
60 reviews
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2. Re: Train to Sapa

The banging seems to be from the carriage directly under the VIP Compartment, so it was especially bad there and made the expensive trip frightening.

To know that it has gone unrepaired since your trip last summer says that King does not care about maintenance or safety.

This ride was also booked thru Tonkin and was the single most unpleasant part of our trip.

Hopefully, our postings will let other people avoid taking the King Express.

germany
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53 posts
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3. Re: Train to Sapa

Hallo,

thank you very much for your information. I wanted to use as well the kings train but now I am not sure what to do. We would like to go to Sapa in October but how ? Do you have any idee in which way or maybe with another train I could go to this destination.

Thank you very much for your answer.

Best regards

Chrissi

NY
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3 posts
60 reviews
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4. Re: Train to Sapa

I suggest you research the Victoria Train to see current comments on it.

What sold us on the King Express was the private VIP compartment, although we ultimately regretted that choice.

My understanding is that the Victoria is the newest and best train but I do not think it offers the private compartment. As I recall, to get a private compartment on it, you must pay for all the beds in a compartment and that option was not available when we traveled.

The Victoria leaves an hour later than the King (it is the last train) so the arrival time is more convenient than the King's, as well. The King arrives at an inconveniently early time and the hour later arrival of the Victoria would be welcomed.

Australia
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167 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Train to Sapa

We have just returned from a trip to Vietnam having travelled to Sapa in a 2-berth cabin on the Victoria Express. We could not fault the cleanliness or the train, even though we did not sleep much on the trip there, probably more from anticipation than anything. I slept a full 5 hours on the return journey to Hanoi and it was equally as clean as on the trip up. We had taken silk sleeping bags but did not use them.

Have to stay at Victoria Hotel to use this carriage. It was OK. Sapa was great.

June

6. Re: Train to Sapa

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