As some of you may get confused when you receive the boarding pass that shows only 385,000 VND (17 USD), please find the information below:
The price of 385,000 VND is the base fare that the National Railways charges the train operators (King Express, Orient Express, Sapaly Express, Victoria Express..) for each ticket use - this fee covers the cost of fuel for being transported from Hanoi to Lao Cai by the National Railways carrier as well as train station service fee.
These train operators make extra touch or even re-design their carriages and provide extra services such as food and water, quality linens, refurnishing toilets. This makes tourist carriages totally different from the local carriage and thus a higher price. Some train operators even include meals on arrival or refreshment service in their ticket fare. This accounts for the price discrepancy.
In case you wonder if you can buy the train tickets directly from the train station for 385,000 VND: yes you can, but you will only get standard cabin, not the tourist class cabin as shown on our website. The tourist class train tickets are sold only through online and local travel agents, and cannot be purchased directly from the train station.