Orient Express

Company Information

This isn't the world-famous Orient Express that chugs across Europe. Instead, this service connects Vietnam's capital city, Hanoi, with Lao Cai – the gateway to Sapa.

Orient Express is one of the most popular choices for visitors wanting to head out into the hills around Sapa to meet indigenous people and explore the countryside on some of the country's best treks.

Routes served by Orient Express

There is one departure each day from Hanoi to Lao Cai, from where you will be able to catch a bus to Sapa itself. This train leaves Hanoi at 21.30, due to arrive in Lao Cai at 05.25, with the eight hour trip costing VND1,655,000 for a space in a two-berth carriage and VND835,000 in the larger compartment. The trip back to Hanoi costs the same and departs Lao Cai at 20.35, arriving in the capital at 04.45.

As with most private operators on this route, when reserving your bed you'll have a choice between a Deluxe four-berth carriage or a VIP two-berth compartment. The two-bed carriages are more expensive and you will have to purchase both spots in the compartment so it may put this option out of your price range if you are a solo traveller.

Pros

The major advantage of this mode of transport is the opportunity to appreciate stunning scenery during your journey, especially as you are arriving into Lao Cai at around sunrise. In this respect, it beats travelling by bus.

Another advantage with picking Orient Express for your trip to Sapa is that it tends to be cheaper than many of its competitors. Although, it is still more expensive than just purchasing a berth in a carriage solely managed by Vietnam Railways, it is more reasonable than some other private companies.

Cons

There isn't a great deal of difference between the carriages offered by Orient Express and the standard carriages on the train managed by Vietnam Railways, so you may not want to pay substantially more for a very similar level of quality.

As is the case with most of the carriages on these trains, the onboard bathrooms won't always meet western standards and you may be in for a shock when you first use one!

Keep in mind

The four-berth carriages can often be a bit cramped, especially with four travellers and all the accompanying luggage.

If you're travelling in pairs, you may want to consider upgrading to the VIP two-berth compartment which, although smaller, is likely to be more comfortable for you.

Similarly, if there are three people in your group, maybe you'll think it's worthwhile to each pay a little more and to book an entire four-berth carriage to yourselves.

Helpfully, Orient Express provides clear information on how to find the check-in desk at both Hanoi and Lao Cai train stations. In Hanoi you'll need to head to entrance B of the station at 1 Tran Quy Cap street, whereas in Lao Cai you'll be able to check-in at gate two, inside the station.

Travellers reviews

Apart from the cleanliness which is often an issue on trains across Vietnam, the biggest complaint tends to be the size of the beds. There isn't a great deal of difference in quality or comfort whether you have booked a Deluxe or VIP carriage, unfortunately the beds onboard these trains are just fairly small by western standards and might not always make for the most comfortable nights sleep. If this is going to cause huge problems, then you may want to consider a VIP bus to Sapa instead. VIP buses tend to be roomier and you'll be able to recline in your seat and hopefully be more comfortable during your journey.

Buy Orient Express Tickets

Hanoi - Sapa
Find tickets
Train VIP Sleeper
21:35
Train VIP Sleeper 4x
21:35
Sapa - Hanoi
Find tickets
Train VIP Sleeper
20:55
Train VIP Sleeper 4x
20:55

Orient Express Company Reviews

3.2
117 customer reviews
5
21%
4
23%
3
26%
2
15%
1
15%
98.5% of 2,243 travelers were presumably happy with Orient Express as they left good or no review
DK
2
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Nov 10, 2019
Disgustingly dirty bed. The only good part was that the train was on time.
ME
2
train #SP1 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Oct 13, 2019
The train it self is clean and nice. The beds are to short if you’re european. Also we had a cockroach in our cabin. The train is so bumpy it is hard to sleep.
JM
3
train #SP2 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Sep 30, 2019
Booked the 1st class. The room was adequately clean. It was certainly better than when we had Pumpkin Express. There were no bed bugs this time but there are small roaches. They gave us complimentary drinks and snacks. The toilet was unusable and incredibly noisy (from the train and its occupants).
FB
2
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Sep 19, 2019
Me and my friend bought ticket for 4 berth cabin and lucky only us on the cabin maybe due to low season. The cabin is bad there is coakcroch everywhere, we have to pay VND 20,000 each for coffee or tea in the morning ( In Fansipan Express it's free). We have to pay VND 10,000 for a cup of hot water. ( In local train vietname railway it's free). In others words our trip from Hanoi to Loa Cai using Fansipan Express is way better compare to Orient Express
AB
2
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Sep 19, 2019
Pas de cabine à 4 disponibles à l’arrivé, devons négocier pour avoir une place. Le personnel d’Orienexpress nous coupe la ligne téléphonique.
MS
4
train #SP2 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Aug 3, 2019
The cabin was clean and comfortable. Just seem a bit more vibration than the cabin that we had with King Express for our journey from Hanoi - Lao Cai. But it is definitely not terrible at all.
NG
3
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Jul 20, 2019
Bathroom smelled very bad and in there it was approx 35 degrees.
BF
4
train #SP1 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, May 29, 2019
Great experience for what it is. We had the VIP sleeper; it was clean, there was complimentary drinks and snacks (water, 1 can of beer and coke, 2 bananas and some biscuits). The beds are quite hard and not a lot of space in the cabin, but rocked off to sleep quite easily. One thing to note is the address on the ticket voucher; it says to go to the train station at one address, however on arrival to there from the taxi, we were then directed to walk around the block (about 800m) to the other side of the station to exchange our tickets and board the train from there. (It is in the small print I found out after). But overalll pleasant and fun experience
JT
3
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Apr 3, 2019
The train was on time. We weren't able to sleep because the air was really bad, the train was super loud and totally shaky. We felt a little a seasick from time to time. If you're taller than 1,60m you'll be struggeling with the size of the bed. They are short, tightly and not really comfortable. It was a funny adventure but not relaxing or something.
JK
2
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Mar 10, 2019
The train car was pretty old. The toilet was dirty and covered in either urine or water. The cabin itself was ok, but we killed at least a dozen cockroaches and a couple other insects during our 8 hour ride. We slept maybe an hour of the entire trip because of the insect problem. Overall not a great experience.
RG
3
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Feb 28, 2019
Return trip - no AIRCON in room. So hot that we had to leave door open. Noisy.
RG
4
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Feb 24, 2019
Easy to travel on train but beds are very very hard.
LW
2
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Feb 22, 2019
Bad beds and no aircondition. Nasty toilet. But cheapest one thats why it was "good"
JW
4
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Jan 29, 2019
Orient Express Vietnam style. Beds were OK we slept great. Clean sheets that no one else had slept in, duvet with clean cover and pillow case. Water, biscuits and banana given for free. The train had suspension. The top bunk was for lying down only no head space to sit up. clean toilet with tissue! Clean cabins.
LE
3
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Dec 14, 2018
For the majority of the journey, there were alarming sounds coming from the outside of the carriage - a series of explosive bangs, clangs & dragging noises which reverberated through the carriage, making it sound like the carriage was about to fall apart! It was difficult to sleep because it was so loud. The driver made a few sudden stops throughout the night as well, which jolted you awake. The staff were grumpy if you didn't want a coffee (for 120,000 VND!!) The berths were fairly comfortable though & the free snacks/water were appreciated. Also, the process of buying & collecting tickets was made easy through 12go Asia.
TJ
4
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Dec 7, 2018
way better than the roach coach we had on the way from Hanoi to Lao Cai
MR
3
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Nov 11, 2019
Pumpkin train was better
AF
5
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Oct 15, 2019
great trip
YS
4
train #SP1 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Oct 13, 2019
Train is little bit noisy. Beds are hard.
PM
2
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Jul 31, 2019
Awful dirty toilets. Beds and cabins are okay

Orient Express Stations

Hanoi Sapa Lao Cai