Pumpkin Express

Company Information

Sapa is a town that is on almost every visitor’s itinerary when they first arrive in Vietnam. To reach the popular hillside town you'll most likely be travelling from Hanoi, if this is the case then Pumpkin Express is a great option.

Pumpkin Express carriages are joined onto the SP1 and SP2 Vietnam Railways trains connecting Hanoi with Lao Cai and the individual cabins are designed to be replicas of hotel rooms, complete with air-conditioning and TVs, so you're sure to travel in style.

Routes served by Pumpkin Express Train

Trains depart Hanoi for Lao Cai on a daily basis at 21.30, scheduled to arrive at 05.35 the next morning. The return journey leaves Lao Cai at 20.35, dropping you in Hanoi at around 04.45, with the trip in either direction lasting approximately eight hours. The price is also the same regardless of which way you're headed, VND835,000 for a space in a four-berth cabin and VND1,655,000 per person for a more private two-berth compartment.

Pros

The standard within the carriages of all the private operators remains pretty similar so Pumpkin Express is a good option as prices tend to be lower than those found with other companies along this route. Although, it is worth pointing out that prices are still higher than if you purchased a ticket in the standard Vietnam Railways carriages, this may be an option for budget travellers.

Another advantage with choosing Pumpkin Express for your trip to Sapa is that the cabins have TVs inside them, something that isn't always the case with private operators and certainly not in the carriages managed by Vietnam Railways.

Cons

Unfortunately, the scheduled arrival time in Hanoi isn't great. Arriving before 05.00 means that you can have some difficulty in reaching your hotel and once you're there it's unlikely that you'll be able to check-in straight away. If you haven't booked any accommodation before you arrive in Hanoi then you'll probably need to kill some time before you start looking for a suitable place to stay. Neither scenario will be particularly appealing after a long overnight train journey.

Keep in mind

It's worth bearing in mind that if you reserve a spot in a two-berth compartment you will have to pay the total price for the room, as it cannot be reserved individually.

Unfortunately, this may put this option out of the budget of many solo travellers who will have to make do with a space in a four-berth compartment instead. Although, this is a great way to meet fellow travellers and to share stories and tips about where you've been and where you're headed next.

Travellers reviews

Travellers who used Pumpkin Express to reach Sapa had the same complaints as those using other private operators along the route.

The biggest issue is the need to change at Lao Cai to then travel a further hour to Sapa itself. Unfortunately, if you choose to travel to Sapa via train then this is unavoidable as the town doesn't have a train station. If you would rather not change at Lao Cai then consider making the journey from Hanoi directly to Sapa by bus, although it may be less comfortable than the train, it's actually quicker and cheaper.

If you do want to travel by train and would rather pay slightly more for a space in a private carriage rather than the standard Vietnam Railways cabins then you'll be pleased to read the good reviews that Pumpkin Express receives. It has been praised by passengers who think it represents good value for money when compared to other private operators along the route. Pumpkin Express is also considered to offer one of the more comfortable carriages for passengers keen on getting a good nights sleep before they set out to explore the stunning Sapa countryside over the next few days.

Buy Pumpkin 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

Pumpkin Express Company Reviews

3.4
53 / 1,291
5 10
4 15
3 15
2 10
1 3
99.0% of 1,291 travelers were presumably happy with Pumpkin Express as they left good or no review

At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:

Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)

Make your choice! Please remember that while we are closely monitoring the services, we are still an agency marketplace. That means we focus on ticketing services and route availability & coverage rather than on the factual seat reclining angle you will get on the bus today.

Feb 14, 2019
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
I think this is very over sold. The carriages were very poor, not clean, the staff were not very interested. We were told in the evening that a coffee in the morning would be free, when it arrived we asked for 20, 000 Dong each, the cup wasn't even half full and it was terrible. The toilets we a shambles. It was very very poor!
Nov 20, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★★☆
Overall our trip was very very good. Easy picking up tickets, attendants pointed us to correct train car, etc. Cabin was clean, with clean sheets. We saw that there was WiFi but never got the password. Train bathroom was questionable but not the absolute worst. No toilet paper when we first arrived, but it was refilled the next morning. There were 2 sinks separate from toilet so you can brush teeth, etc.! We got a 2-person private cabin, so the mattresses were doubled up, firm, which I liked. Train is rocky and loud so bring ear plugs! Would do it again!
Nov 11, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★☆☆☆
- Very dirty bathrooms, really unacceptable for this rate - airco in face while trying to get some sleep on hard and too short bed (if your height is >1.80m) - offering coffee is great, but not if the train arrives within 1 minute after receiving it
Oct 5, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★☆☆☆
We had Insects in our room. The matresses were hard. The Service Lady did not speak any English. The VIP sleeper was totally overpriced. We paid 10 times as much as for a Bus. Next time we will take the Bus both ways the quality is so much better!
Aug 16, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★☆☆☆
The train wagon was worse than asia express and we pay just the same. Also there were some bugs in the cabin that we need to kill.
Aug 13, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★★★
The cabin was very clean and the bed was comfortable and they provided snacks and water, the train trip was a bit bumpy but that was expected.
Jul 23, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
The cabines were ok, but the toilet was really very dirty.
Jul 19, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★☆☆☆
Incredibly loud, the speaker in the cabin kept cracking, the ‘VIP’ experience was less than comfortable and not worth the price. Very disappointed!
Jul 19, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
The airco was to cold to sleep en not comfortabele , Coffe and thee should be free available .
Jul 16, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★☆☆☆
They gave us the wrong tickets . First they don’t want to help us and asked us to step in the wrong cabin. It’s because we keep ask for the wright tickets that they helped us . We had to take the train later .
Jul 12, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
Family of 4, boys at 12 and 19 years. Thanks to details on tripadvisor we found the right building. The guy at the ticketoffice was late so that caused a little stress to all of us wantint to exchange our voucher to tickets. The sleeper was better than excpected, water, bananas and biscuits was included. Noisy, bring earplugs,bunks where ok. Take it as an adventure.
Jul 3, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
We booked a 1st class from Lao Cai to Hanoi with only 2 beds but was given a 4 beds. The air con was not cold at all so we make noise to the train station master. At the end they changed us back to another 4 beds. We are very disappointed as we paid so much for 1st class but get 2nd class bed.
12Go response:
Dear Lee Kim Leng, Thank you for the rating and the review! For all private train services in Vietnam there is no difference in the quality of bed between 2 person cabins and 4 person cabins. In the 2 berth VIP Sleeper the upper beds are supposed to be folded up and that is the only difference. We understand your frustrations and concerns regarding this service. Please accept our sincere apologies for this less satisfying experience you had with the operator. You may rest assured knowing that we will pass these concerns and issues on to the management of the operator. We are hopeful that the matter will be investigated and improvements implemented. We are sorry for the inconveniences and hope that you will use our services again. Best regards, Spencer Tiesse, 12Go Business Development Team [Support case #513120](https://12go.asia/en/support-case?token=UzYzMHl2TE15cy8wQzNHdDhnM3hMUGZNTE0rTUN2WTA4OHd0eUlnMEtpNU5jZy9MQ1hSUHlmSEo5U3RMQ3ZheURBOHRjUGIxOFBKSWNjMHA5UXNMYy9hTnlQRHdkZkhMaWNyTGNVbDJ0TFVGQUE9PQ,,)
Apr 25, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★★☆
Comfortable beds and enough space for both of our luggage. Quite noisy people around us which made it hard to fall asleep.
Apr 16, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★★☆
Ticketing very efficient and journey was on time. But mattress far too firm for me
Apr 6, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
The bed was REALLY hard. We couldn’t opt for a hard or softbed, because there wouldnt be any hard beds- but this was basically a wooden plank. However, train was perfectly in time and even provided water and snacks and there was electricity on board.
Apr 3, 2018
train #SP2 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
The beds are pretty short for a tall European. Our neighbours was snoring beyond healthy and acceptable standards. Toilet, sheets were clean. We got complimentary banana, water and cookies. Staff to help while boarding was organised.
Mar 30, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★★★
1st class rocks!!
Mar 17, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper, Pumpkin Express
★★★★★
Room was good. We booked a private room for 2. The top bunks were folded up. The lamp was broken. The mattresses were super firm but at least we had electrical outlets. The facilities were good for what it was. This was so much better than Oriental Express. We booked a private room with OE. OE had not electrical outlets and the bunks where bolted down so we couldnt fold them up.
Mar 9, 2018
train #SP1 VIP Sleeper 4x, Pumpkin Express
★★★☆☆
This is for pumpkin train - The train beds are comfortable and toilet was fairly clean. Just the unstable wooden noise from the dividers when the train moves. We also had a bad experience when boarding the train as we do not have the tickets (we pre booked and only have the voucher which we tot is sufficient) and are confused with which platform and train to board. There was a guy approaching us offering help to find us the train. And when he got us the tickets he brought us to the cabin and he immediately asked us for tips, indicated how much he wants which was very intimidating. He wouldn't leave until you give him the amount he wants. Just be careful when you board the train and get your tickets.

Pumpkin Express Stations

Hanoi Sapa Lao Cai