Quick company Intro
Victoria Express has been established as one of the most luxurious and popular carriages on the route connecting Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, and Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa. As is the case with other private operators, these carriages are joined onto Vietnam Railways trains but Victoria Express carriages are managed by the four-star Victorian Sapa Resort hotel, so quality is assured. These carriages can only accommodate 48 passengers so booking in advance is essential, especially during busy periods.
Routes served by Victoria Express
There are six Victoria Express trains each week, heading in either direction. Trains depart Hanoi at 22.00, arriving in Lao Cai for 06.20, and return from Lao Cai at 21.10, scheduled to arrive in Hanoi at 05.25. A ticket in a four-berth cabin is priced at VND2,605,000 whereas a more private two-berth compartment costs VND3,816,000.
Victoria Express trains do not operate on Saturdays so you will have to choose another operator if you will be travelling to or from Sapa then.
Victoria Express is linked to one of the finest hotels in Sapa, so you are guaranteed a high quality cabin for your journey. Although there often tends to be little difference between the standard of some private carriages and the regular cabins managed by Vietnam Railways, in this case the difference is clear. The Victoria Express carriages really are a step up in class compared to others on the route.
Passengers travelling with Victoria Express also receive several complimentary treats as part of their travel experience. One of the best is access to the Victoria Lounge in Hanoi where you can relax and help yourself to complimentary drinks and snacks whilst you wait for your train. When your train arrives, a porter will collect you and escort you to your cabin, so you don't have to worry about a thing.
Unfortunately, the biggest downside when travelling with Victoria Express is the cost of a ticket. It is one of the most expensive ways to travel between Hanoi and Sapa with a ticket costing three times as much as is charged by some other private operators. The difference in price with the standard Vietnam Railways tickets is even more pronounced. But, if you choose Victoria Express as a treat you will not be disappointed as the quality service more than makes up for the cost.
Keep in mind
If you're staying at the Victoria Sapa Resort hotel then it is worth contacting them before you travel as you can arrange to be picked up in Lao Cai and driven to the hotel in a private car. This will save you the hassle of arranging transport once you arrive in Lao Cai.
Also, passengers on the Victoria Express train can contact the hotel to receive a complimentary shuttle transfer to and from their hotel in Hanoi. This will be very welcome when you are arriving in Hanoi at around 05.30 after an overnight train journey as you won't have to worry about getting from the train station to your hotel.
What travellers say
Passengers who travel with Victoria Express always praise the high quality service they receive throughout their trip as well as the very comfortable cabins. Great perks such as access to the Victoria Lounge in Hanoi with complimentary snacks and drinks are always appreciated as well!
The main issue travellers have with Victoria Express is the high cost of a ticket, which dwarfs the prices charged by competitors and Vietnam Railways. As a result, this option is out of the budget of most travellers but if you are looking to mark a special occasion or would like to travel in luxury as a treat then this is the option for you!