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.


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.


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.

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Hanoi - Sapa
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Sapa - Hanoi
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Orient Express Company Reviews

train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Feb 16, 2020
"Luxury" is another thing but we sleeped well.
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Nov 11, 2019
Pumpkin train was better
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Nov 10, 2019
Disgustingly dirty bed. The only good part was that the train was on time.
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Oct 15, 2019
great trip
train #SP1 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Oct 13, 2019
Train is little bit noisy. Beds are hard.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Jul 31, 2019
Awful dirty toilets. Beds and cabins are okay
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Orient Express, Jul 20, 2019
Bathroom smelled very bad and in there it was approx 35 degrees.
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
train #SP1 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Apr 19, 2019
Nice but not realy comfortable
train #SP2 1st Class Sleeper, Orient Express, Apr 14, 2019
Treno instabile e sporco
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.
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.
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.
120 customer reviews
98.5% of 2,381 travelers were presumably happy with Orient Express as they left good or no review

Orient Express Stations

Hanoi Sapa Lao Cai